Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Ten-Minute-Tidy System

Do you ever have one of those days when you look at your house and you find it so overwhelmingly dirty that you don't know where to start. Those used to be the days when I ignored it and crawled in a whole.
All that changed a few months ago though. I had been posting on my boards, and getting sucked deeper in and deeper into the dramas of hundreds of other people's lives when I realised if I didn't get cleaning now I would never get my house done.
So, as a true internet addict, I posted to myself on a board that I wasn't allowed to post again until I cleaned! The strangest thing happened. These wonderful women joined me. The posted after me and said they were going to clean too and let me know how much they had done.
The next day I borrowed and idea from the Fly Lady (google her she's good, but you might want to skip the emails) I set my timer for 10 minutes and ran around cleaning. When it went off I posted online what I had accomplished. I was shocked at how much could be done in 10 minutes.
The wonderful women I mentioned joined me in my crazy timed cleaning spurts and it became a bit of a boot camp for housework.

So here are a few tips for when your house is ready to strangle you:

  • Once you have certain things done you will feel a lot better about your house. Start with what bugs you most. Dishes in the sink? knock-em out. Beds a mess? tighten them up quick. It quickly breaks down the overwhelmed feeling you get when you open your bedroom to a house full of evidence that you are a mom.
  • Timing yourself breaks the day up into manageable segments. You don't have to clean until you drop, you don't have to ge the whole house done. Just do 30 minutes of concerted effort. Chances are you'll make a huge dent.
  • Reporting helps you see that yes, you have accomplished something. You can post it online, or you can make a to do list and cross things off. Or you can jsut keep a log on a piece of paper (this is especially good because then everything on there is already done and the "to do" items don't depress you. At the end of the hour, or day, you can say "Yes I have earned my play time!"
  • Make a schedule. Not long after the ladies helped me conquer my house we switched to posting our to do list. One lady was so much more organised and we were amased at her lists. She soon reveled that she had a master list that she worked from. Each day she deep cleaned one room and thenjust did upkeep in the rest of the house. So we copied her list. The first week was rough. I spent all day cleaning the one room and keeping the others half tidy. The next week though was so easy. I can now usually knock out a room in an hour and have the rest of the house in shape by noon (except laundry day, so I put it on monday so I only have one horrible day a week.) Try it, it works.
  • Reward yourself. I think this is a no brainer, especially for those of us who have hidden stashes of goodies. In time though having a clean house is very rewarding in and of itself. I love the feeling of turning away from my computer and seeing a clean room. I love to walk into a bedroom and see a made bed. I love being able to find a dvd when I want it! I think it's better than hershey's chocolate pie, though I won't turn down a slice, eaten at a clean table, of course.