Monday, February 27, 2012

Housekeeping: All In or Little by Little?

I am a bit of an organizational nut and slightly obsessive about tidiness, but I'm not mad about housework. (I mean, are you?) I've been realizing that the real secret to a tidy house is to do a little at a time. Oh yes, and constant vigilance and ruthless excising doesn't hurt either.

It was Real Simple's Speed Cleaning series that originally got me thinking about how much time it really takes to keep a house in order. I began to time simple and mundane household chores that I dread, just to see how long they really take. (My least favorites are sweeping up and doing dishes- washing and putting away are equally unpleasant tasks in my mind.) It's amazing how little time most chores actually take. Rarely is it longer than a 10 or 15 minute endeavor, especially when I take a few extra seconds to put things where they belong in the first place. What makes chores feel like an eternity is avoiding them, letting them pile up and then grumbling and resisting when I get around to actually doing them. It comes back to learning how to be in the moment, whatever it may demand of me.

I used to put off housework until the weekends, but I'm learning that doing a little at a time is far better for my attitude. A quick swipe of the mirrors and counter tops in the bathroom and an empty garbage can make the whole place feel brand new and it takes less than five minutes. And it relieves the pressure to do an all hands on deck deep clean on a Saturday morning.

Likewise, it's amazing what a neatly made bed can do for your attitude about the day ahead. It signals that I'm ready to face the day and don't plan to come home and collapse back into bed in utter exhaustion.

What are your tricks for keeping your home in order? Which chores do you hate the most and why?

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