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Monday, June 7, 2010

How I Stopped Beating Myself Up About Housework

In my time off during the summer it's almost impossible to look around and not see the things in the house that need to be dusted, wiped, scrubbed, cleaned, vacuumed, scoured, etc. BUT I refuse to do furious self-hatred induced cleaning like I used to.

Let me explain. In the past I would walk around to different areas of the house cleaning furiously like this angry, swirling, tazmanian devil like creature, all the time beating myself up for ever letting it get like this. And then after I was finished I would be exhausted, hating myself, angry and the house still wouldn't be perfect like I wanted it. My husband said he preferred it if I just left the house messy because at least then I'd be happy. He's a good man. :)

So. As I've dealt with some of my unhealthy tendencies in the past year, (goodness, is that a continual process. I seem to have a lot to deal with. Anyone else?) I have decided that this summer I'm going to get up and do one cleaning like thing per day. Then I will feel good that I did one thing. I made a dent. And then I can get on with my relaxing and not feel guilty that I'm not making a dent. Some days I do little things like clean off the coffee table, and some days I do bigger things like deep clean the kitchen counters and stove. You may think that's not a big deal. Oh, friend. I have white kitchen counters and they haven't been cleaned in a while. Let's just say, lots of scrubbing and lots of cleaning spray.

I am happy to say that things are really going a lot better this way. I haven't ended any of the cleaning activities in a beat up state of mind and they all take a reasonable amount of time instead of hours and I'm making progress around the house! So far I've cleaned off our kitchen table (it was kind of a junk table before), cleaned off the coffee table, cleaned and organized the living room (for the most part), cleaned the counters and stove top. After I'm happy with the downstairs, I'll work my way to our upstairs. Things might get a little sticky up there, but I'll stick to my one thing a day philosophy and hopefully it will work.

Now I realize that cleaning more that one thing or area a day is a good thing and works for a lot of people, but for me trying to do huge things at once just wasn't working. And this for me is working while still allowing me to feel like I'm resting, which is what I'm supposed to be doing during the summer.

So that's my two cents about that. It's worked for me and I recently shared this with a friend and it seemed to help her too. I thought I'd share here as well. Also in cleaning news, over at Musings of a Housewife Jo-Lynne is giving away an Oreck vacuum cleaner and it's pretty fancy! Check it out if you're interested! You know I am!


  1. I think one thing a day is great! As a mom of four, I gave into the continual mess. My husband does like the house neat, but he doesn't seem to notice clean. I like clean, but neat doesn't bother me. But after a bunch of years we just let it ride. I try to keep the kitchen and family room tidy and PLEASE don't go upstairs!

  2. Ugh! Such a good philosophy! I do the same thing - go crazy mad cleaning everything in one day - spending hours - and then still have more to do afterward and feel like poo about it!! I unofficially took on the same mind set as you and cleaned our bedroom yesterday. The whole time, I'd move hair stuff back to the bathroom and have to resist the urge to organize my hair stuff in there. I'd move piles of papers back into the office and have to resist the urge to file them right then. And at the end of the day I had a mess of a house, but a clean bedroom :) And it felt good. And this morning I put a dent in the kitchen organizing. Haven't touched the pantry, but the kitchen itself is looking pretty nice. Tomorrow is another day, and there will be more to do. But manageably more ;)

    Thanks for the encouragement, and keep up the good, controlled amounts of work!! :)

  3. Thanks girls! I appreciate the encouragement! It's good to know I'm not the only one who struggles to keep a WHOLE house clean. It's overwhelming. But I keep telling myself at the end of the day, it's ok if it's not perfect. It really is.