Need a simple process to help you NOT spend your entire day cleaning? Here you’ll find seven steps to show you how.
Growing up in the country town of Mansfield, Louisiana, I have many fond memories of fishing, catching fire flies, digging for earth worms, and riding my bike. As I grew into adolescence, I can remember staying outside with the other neighborhood friends talking on the porch, riding bikes, and playing a pick-up game of kickball or basketball. That is, if one of my other childhood memories didn’t get in the way. The memory of the dreaded CLEANING DAY. Yes, I can vividly remember spending ALL DAY Saturday cleaning.
This was true for most families I knew. Saturday was usually the only day the entire family was together; and also one of the only days where everyone wasn’t working or in school. For most, moms planned everything that needed to be done in the house (the laundry, dusting, dishes, vacuuming, changing of sheets, etc.); and dads decided what chores needed to be handled outside (or maybe Mom decided that too). At any rate, as the chores began, new needs were found and what seemed like a foreseeable task had now become an all-day affair. Can you relate?
If this sounds familiar to you, you know that for some, though it is the whole family together, it can sometimes end with everyone being tired and/or frustrated with each other; with everyone showering and retreating to their own rooms. Never really taking time to enjoy other things. Other things that bring life and energy like watching a good movie together, going hiking, going bike riding, or just having intentional conversation.
Well some years ago, I learned a tip that changed my entire life as it related to tackling the weekend chores. And it was just what my family needed; especially because at the time both my husband and I were serving in the military and all we had to ourselves was our weekends.
So it started with reading an article in Essence Magazine that suggested setting a timer to take away the natural tendency to spend all day cleaning. That alone was a good tip. But, since there were 3 of us at the time, I thought it was also important that everyone be a part of the plan and process. When everyone is not, that can often be a prescription for one person to feel like they’re doing more than another and lead to further frustration, and that’s not the point of the weekend.
So, I added a few more MUST CONSIDER TIPS to the Saturday Cleaning Plan, or any day for that matter. These additional SIX tips I feel are perfect for a productive and enjoyable weekend; whether alone or with others.
7 Simple Steps to NOT Spend your Entire Day Cleaning
Make a plan
By strategizing a plan, some of what you may be seeing as a need won’t be so overwhelming for you. Decide on what area or areas you want to tackle, and decide exactly what you want to do there (wash the dishes, dust, mop, do the bathroom, laundry). Not every area has to be included. The key is productivity and not merely busyness; or as I like to say, Progress OVER Perfection.
Along with planning the chores, also plan what the end goal will be. How much are you hoping to have done at the completion of the cleaning day? Additionally, decide on what activity you will do either individually or as a group that you can look forward to doing afterwards.
If it’s only you in your home, maybe you want to just tackle one room at a time. However, it is possible to still be productive if you give yourself assignments of what you need to do. Remember to try to be realistic. You will only be dedicating ONE day of the week to this.
If there will be more than one person doing this, give realistic and doable assignments that can be completed and committed to. Start out giving each person an individual task. There will be opportunity to team up later. Be sure to also include younger children as well. Good habits and practices begin early.
Set a Timer
This is the actual game changer I learned from the Essence article years ago. You will be amazed at how much more intentional work becomes when a timer is involved. It somehow helps to maintain focus. But make sure that you DON’T keep your timer in arms reach; so I wouldn’t suggest using a cell phone. There is a tendency to become distracted by text messages, calls, or emails that come in. Give yourself time to disconnect. I would suggest using the microwave or stove timer, or even the manual cooking timers like the one seen in the picture. Hearing the clock ticking promotes progress; but if it doesn’t work well for you, use whichever method that works best.
I call this step the snowball effect because it is much like the snowball effect idea used for getting out of debt. Start with the simplest task first and use the energy from that to build up the other larger tasks. So in the case of cleaning, you can choose to start with your simpler cleaning first; or, you can choose to let the timer be your guide. If someone finishes their task before the timer goes off, that person then goes to help the next person closest to completing their task and so-on. This supports the team/family effort and helps to support unity. Individuals will feel better knowing that everyone contributed and no one person did more than another.
Similar to the cooking show competitions, once the timer goes off…throw your hands up and walk away from the tasks. I mean, you can of course put up any items that need to be cleared away; but don’t continue to work. You, in your plan, made a commitment to yourself and to your family to stay on task with an end and goal in mind; one being cleaning, the other being doing something enjoyable afterwards. Don’t renege on it.
Unfinished tasks should be noted and prioritized for the next set cleaning time. Do not get down on yourself because something wasn’t completed. Not getting done is not a life or death situation. So, find a way to not let it linger over your head. The tendency to do this causes unwarranted stress that is not healthy for your mental well-being; so, cut yourself some slack.
Find something enjoyable and relaxing to do, preferably away from home. See the fruits of your labor and let the house rest from traffic for a while. There is a good feeling that comes from knowing you have a clean house; but with everyone at home, it won’t stay clean long. So, spend some time away in another space. You’ll return and appreciate what you see and be more appreciative of the work and team effort that went into making it that way.
Now would be a good time to implement doing something together with those you enjoy like the things I mentioned in the beginning –watching a good movie, going hiking, or going bike riding. There is so much energy that we are able to draw from by being outside and spending time with those we care about. But if you are one of those who may be on to the next task, just remember you need to be mindful of your self-care. Don’t forget, progress over perfection is the key to a better mindset. Take it one step at a time. ~Dawn~
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I hope that you found these tips helpful. If you did, give this page a LIKE and tell me about your experience. Drop me a COMMENT and let me know if you’ll be making this process a regular part of your cleaning routine; or if you and your family incorporated something different that works better for you all.
Also, if you want more helpful tips like this one, follow my page here or on Face Book, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest at Dawn of a New Day 365. I’ll see you on the horizon. ~Dawn~