Who hates to clean the house?
I admit it! Housecleaning is not one of my favorite activities. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. Who besides me pictures housecleaning like this:
Not like this:
What is it about cleaning that causes us to dread the thought?
Seven reasons perfectly normal people hate housecleaning:
- It has bad associations from childhood. Is it any wonder children who were punished with cleaning chores grow up into adults who dislike cleaning?
- You are never finished. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could clean the house once and it would stay that way? [Cue maniacal laughter.] Yeah, it ain’t ever gonna happen.
- Your ideal image of a clean house isn’t achievable. You’d love a clean house, but you don’t have the energy to get there. Especially because …
- Cleaning the whole house is an exhausting endeavor. Who has the motivation to face an entire day of cleaning when binge-watching Netflix is so much more fun?
- You don’t where to put all your stuff. You’d try one of those cute storage systems but they’re too expensive, and they never seem to work for you anyway.
- You’ve been taught, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” And who wants to live with a guilt trip that big?
- No one taught you how to do it. Either because you grew up in a hopelessly messy house, or because all your messes were cleaned up without your help. Without a role model to follow, where do you start?
With so many strikes against it, is it any wonder so many of us avoid housecleaning? A few observations that will help you achieve a cleaner house with less pain
A clean house is functional, not photo-worthy.
The goals of cleaning should be safety and sanity. Stop comparing your house to those gorgeous photos in Better Homes and Gardens. The goal is to stay on top of clutter, chaos and actual dirt. You and I are not interior decorators. We are busy people with only so much time to spend on the house. If you can find what you need when you need it, the laundry gets put away each week, the kitchen sink isn’t piled with dishes, and you can walk across the living room without tripping, you’re doing OK.
*You don’t get gold stars for having the entire house pristine all at once.
Unlike the washing machine or the dishwasher, house cleaning doesn’t require a full load for optimum efficiency. It’s actually a good strategy to do little bits here and there. Forget the concept of whole-house cleaning and spend ten- or twenty-minute segments cleaning one small section, such as the wiping down the bathroom counter or dusting a room or two. Deal with smudges or cobwebs when you notice them, and don’t feel guilty for not de-cobwebbing the rest of the house right then and there.
*The exception to this is when you are hosting a party or expecting house guests. But even in those circumstances, there may be private parts of the house your guests don’t need to see (which means you don’t need to panic-clean them).
Stop fighting the cyclical nature and let it work for you.
Like it or not, cleaning is a never-ending chore. Instead of making us miserable, that fact can work in our favor. First of all, it relieves us from the need to clean perfectly. We have permission to do as much as we can at one time, knowing we’ll cycle back to the same chore or space again, so we can take care of whatever we missed the last time. Secondly, the nature of cycles means the more often you cycle through a given cleaning chore, the less of it you will need to do. This is especially true of tidying up a room, washing the dishes, or any other job that piles up the longer you wait.
BONUS THOUGHT: When you are tempted to avoid house cleaning chores, ask yourself how you’ll feel about it tomorrow morning if you skip the job now. Doing it now may make your life MUCH easier tomorrow.