Home cleaning for the persuasion-averse

I am what you could call “persuasion averse”. If you tell me I “should” do something, I immediately don’t want to do it. It’s a perverse reflex, I know, but a reflex it is. (The irony is that I sometimes try to persuade others to do things!)

So imagine how effective my own list of “should do” items is. Yeah, not very. I tend to panic, freeze up, and then do nothing.

But I’m working on it!

One recent development is my new house cleaning routine. It is focused and open-ended, meaning that it allows me to accomplish what I can, and feel good about it, rather than listing a bunch of big jobs and then feel crappy about it.

It is simply this: I have seven rooms/zones. I simply work on one room per day, doing whatever I can in that room that day. I can’t work on it the next day, because there’s a different room to focus on. And if I don’t get much (or anything) done there that day, it doesn’t matter too much because it’ll come around next week.

This handily makes a weekly routine, but it could just as easily be a five-day routine, or an eight or ten day routine. What matters is that it is regular, focused and open-ended.

What do I mean about open-ended? Well, instead of going into a room and making a list (“I need to clean the closet, and I really have to repair that picture frame, and I absolutely must tackle that mound of dirty clothes”), I go into the room and think “What can I do here?” and then I do one thing. And then if I have time, I do another thing. And depending on the time I have, I go from there.

The other benefit is that it saves me from getting overwhelmed about ALL the things I need to do to improve my living space. Usually if I start on one project I easily get side-tracked with messes in other areas. With this routine, I stay focused on the room I am in.

So there you have it, a weekly cleaning routine that doesn’t feel like a life sentence. I’m only on day four, but already I can see improvements. And believe it or not, I’m excited for next week to roll around so I can get to the things that I wasn’t able to complete in the rooms I’ve already been to.

Does this make sense to you?

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5 thoughts on “Home cleaning for the persuasion-averse

  1. It makes perfect sense to me. I started flylady years ago and now, when I follow my routines, there is almost no housework on weekends!

    Flylady gets the Sidetracked Home Executive to focus on 15 minute spurts, to leave perfectionism at the door and to have fun.

    I completely bought in when I read an email that said: Plug in your vacuum and vacuum around the furniture. Do NOT move the furniture. Spend 10 minutes or less on this task!

    Later in the month, furniture got moved for a deeper vacuuming session.

    Good luck with the routines! I think you are on the right track.

  2. …and if you need something done in one room in a timely fashion (ie company coming), just tell your partner that when he comes home to tell you ‘DO NOT, ABSOLUTELY NOT, CLEAN (that) ROOM!’… see if that works!

    PS – I’m with ya on the getting distracted on other messes when I am trying to focus on one mess. I have 7 rooms too (cool, eh?) and there’s the entrance hallway (does that count as a room?) – maybe I will try a 6 day routine. (I take Sundays off.)

  3. Your new system seems to be working! Great job!

    I like to be what I call a “ten minute tornado”. I give myself 10 minutes to do whatever I can wherever I am. It’s amazing how much of a difference that 10 minutes makes. Then when my big cleaning days come (weekends, naturally) I feel like it really is only the big stuff that needs attending. As a bonus it keeps my super-obsessive neat freak husband happy!

  4. I love this idea! While I really like the idea of having *everything* neat and tidy all the time (for me, house clutter=mental clutter, big time!), with 2 kids it’s not realistic.

    I’m so going to try this though- the only thing I have to say though is that for us the kitchen is a constant. I have to work on it not only every day, multiple times a day…it’s so small and so busy that if I don’t, it goes to hell and a handbasket *very* quickly.

    Just discovered your blog- I love it! Always great to discover a kindred spirit. I grew up in a frugal household and have always been bent this way myself- and now that I’m a single parent it’s a critical survival skill! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

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