It's More Mental Than Physical
Cleaning our home is a job that does not ever end. If you are one of the majority who don't absolutely love it, then I bet you wish you could give it no more of a passing thought than, say, breathing. But that is not so. It's a major endeavor that drains us emotionally, mentally and physically; calling upon our lesser traits, such as procrastination, guilt and self-loathing, to aid in wearing us down. Sounds so melodramatic, I know.
This is not the case every time but I'm sure you know how it feels when it does happen.
For some of us, we can do so well for quite awhile. Then life happens and suddenly we wake up one day to realize that our house is a mess. Who let this happen and why? Or maybe you're the type who handles all the housecleaning day in and day out, with no problems whatsoever. Well, except for feeling unappreciated and not realizing your amazing efforts equate to taking care of you. And still others may not have ever known how it feels to have your home welcome you in the door -- free of trip hazards, piles everywhere and bad smells.
My heart goes out to all of those whose own mind or body works against them, whether it be mental illness, physical restrictions, etc. For the rest of us, we can keep doing the same thing and getting the same results or we can find out what else might work for us and move forward.
Make The Best of It
Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say that everyone should learn to love cleaning but there is some value in the notion of at least making the best of it. The way to do that is to look at it with a TCOY perspective.
Whether it be tidying up, general cleaning or deep scrubbing, if you are the one doing it then you need to look at it as Taking Care Of You. If it happens to benefit others that is great too, but, to find the true path to housecleaning happiness, you must be doing this for you. And, speaking of others, if there is more than one person in your household then my opinion on the matter is that there should be more than one person doing the work. Every dynamic is different so I can't propose any breakdowns here. I'll just share what I tell my own family and leave it at that: If everyone does a little, no one has to do a lot.
Below are six areas to focus on as you take care of you while taking care of your home.
Work With Yourself, Not Against
Realize you are unique and what works for some may not for you. It's good to look for new methods or to admire how another person handles their tasks but, ultimately, not even the best technique ever invented will work if it works against you. If it works against your strengths, gives power to your weaknesses and is not a genuine 100% effort, not only will the housecleaning not happen but you may be in worse shape mentally as well. We humans are not born with unlimited motivation. One of the greatest things we can do is to fire up our motivation. If you were born as self-motivated, use it! If not, you will have to use external motivation but, by all means, use it!
Be Aware of the Power of Habits
Much of what we do is habit driven. Only you will be able to know what your habits are doing or not doing for you. Take a look at your housecleaning habits.
* Are your habits driven by you? Meaning, is your housecleaning a process or more of an afterthought?
* Are your habits positive? Those that are positive should be built upon and those that are not need your attention to slowly but steadily make them into positive and fulfilling.
* Are your habits unconscious? If so, you will need to develop more awareness to realize their impact in your life. Write down what you do, when you do it and how you felt as it happened. You should begin to see that without fail, there are habits being acted upon even without your notice.
Work Backwards to Discover Your Barriers
It's time to look at your piles, hotspots, messes, or whatever you call them. Most of us are not absolute slobs and love being one, so, usually these areas exist because of a breakdown in the system. The most important of which is barriers. An active barrier would be that the dishwasher is full of clean dishes so the dirty ones pile up in the sink or on the counter. A passive barrier would be that you don't put things away because you 1) haven't identified a home for them and 2) actually do put them in that place.
It's pretty cool when you start realizing your barriers; it's almost comical. As you look at your 'area', you might remember why some of the things accumulated there in the first place. Identify the reason, the barrier, that led to it. In the future, this kind of situation will come up again. Hopefully, growing your awareness will enable you to see the barrier for what it really is so you can consciously move past it instead of being unconsciously derailed by it.
Now, if you can't readily identify the reason, there might just be a passive barrier at work. Begin examining what might be working against you, either internally or externally. Do you always set stuff here (habit)? Does the object not have a home? Was it only going to be set here "for a minute" (not utilizing the "Do It Now Principle")? As you start sifting through it all you might see that you were just being weak-willed or that the home environment does not support the change. Identifying the barrier will definitely help you to understand what's not working...so you can work on making it work for you, not against you.
Embrace the Do It Now Principle
Routines work great for me, personally, but I do realize that not everyone else does well with them. At the very least, realize that doing something a little at a time works with our internal desire to get out of work and that, when everything has and is returned to 'a home', you are halfway done as far as cleaning goes. Applying the Do It Now Principle, like wiping the bathroom mirror when you see toothpaste splatters on it or putting away shoes instead of kicking them off wherever, etc. will become a routine in and of itself. If you wish to add more and build bigger routines, please remember to do so slowly and in a way that works for you.
Remember, You Are Only Human
As always, be patient and loving with yourself. It is near impossible to change overnight with perfect results. Every step forward should be acknowledged and every step backward should not be used against you. If that backwards step can be a learning experience, find the lesson and apply it. Otherwise, let it go.
OK, there's only so much "thinking about" needed. Now you need to take action! Go forth and conquer the task of housekeeping...or at least don't let it overwhelm you!
You and your family are your home's most important guests. Keep your perspective positive as you take care of your home the TCOY way...because your home should welcome you, not enslave you.
Until next time...Take Care Of You!
Photo Credit: Person Cleaning
Photo Credit: Barrier
Copyright © 2009 by tcoyou.com | all rights reserved
Enjoy what you read at Taking Care Of You?
It's easy to receive free updates by email or RSS.
Is a question lingering on your mind? What are your thoughts on this topic?
Leave a comment and let us know.