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Author Topic: Clean house motivation  (Read 5756 times)
Sperran
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« Topic Start: July 26, 2008, 07:26:54 pm »

Hey folks,

I'm sitting in the middle of a massively messy house, and am trying to get motivated to get it back into shape.  What do you do when the laundry turns into dirty clothes mountain, or the fridge is starting to look like a penicillin lab?  What are tips or tricks that you find help you get started when housework overwhelming?  (You Martha Stewart types that have color-coded binders of your organized chore life, please don't make fun of folks like me struggling to keep our head above water, lol.)

One thing that seems to usually help me is to make small lists of easily achievable goals (e.g.--load dishwasher, fold laundry) instead of looking at the whole big house. 

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« Reply #1: July 26, 2008, 07:52:13 pm »


I try to work on things I want to do LESS than housework, then do housework as procrastination. Cheesy

And I do five-minute things - unload and load the dishwasher.  clean the sink.  mop *a* floor.  That kind of thing.

'cause it's hard to find a half-hour to do a massive push, but five minutes to do a small thing here and there throughout the day can still get you a clean bathroom!  (or whatever)
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« Reply #2: July 26, 2008, 07:53:07 pm »

One thing that seems to usually help me is to make small lists of easily achievable goals (e.g.--load dishwasher, fold laundry) instead of looking at the whole big house. 

You eat the elephant one bite at a time. Smiley

Make the list of things. Break it down into manageable chunks, and don't try and do too many things at once. And be sure and mark things off as they get done. Greatest motivation in the world is seeing that progress is being made.
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« Reply #3: July 26, 2008, 10:30:28 pm »

I try to work on things I want to do LESS than housework, then do housework as procrastination. Cheesy

I find that when I need to study, the housework usually gets done instead... Cheesy

If you have a mountain of laundry, start by simply sorting it into piles of colour (or cottons/delicates/woollens etc). It's much simpler to throw a load sized 'pile' of similar items into the wash than sort through the mountain for similar items to make a load. You might find that side gets done faster.

And I second bite-sized chunks. I always bite off more than I can chew and sometimes make a bigger mess (spring cleaning left half-done comes to mind...)
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« Reply #4: July 26, 2008, 11:44:17 pm »


I agree with everyone else - break it done into smaller tasks/milestones. I like multi-tasking, but it works best for me if I layer in some "rewards". Like, do the dishes, check online for XX minutes. Wash the porch floor, make a fresh pot of coffee. Put a load of laundry in, walk a dog while it cycles.
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« Reply #5: July 27, 2008, 09:35:43 am »

I'm sitting in the middle of a massively messy house, and am trying to get motivated to get it back into shape.  What do you do when the laundry turns into dirty clothes mountain, or the fridge is starting to look like a penicillin lab?  What are tips or tricks that you find help you get started when housework overwhelming?

If you haven't looked at http://Flylady.net , a bunch of the following come from there and her first book. (I find the emails terribly annoying, but found the book a lot better to deal with.) Stuff that works for me:

1) Finding one thing to clean and keep clean that helps motivate me to do everything else. (This is her theory behind keeping the sink clean. For me, the area around my computer or by my bed often works better.)

2) Doing short bursts at a time (I do better with about 20 minutes than 15, but somewhere in that range.)

3) Putting on stuff that will keep me going (a good podcast, music, or a movie) to keep my brain going while I'm cleaning.

4) Over time, developing a sense of how long it takes me to do the kind of cleaning I want - this helps motivate me.

For example, I know perfectly well that I can get the entire house clean in about an hour - this is relatively easy when 'the entire house' is 400 square feet - so am going to do the "Put on an episode of Babylon 5 and clean at least until it's done" routine sometime today. For larger spaces, break down room by room.

5) Do stuff regularly. Still working on this one: I haven't found a system that's truly sustainable for me, but I keep trying. Reminding myself exactly how much happier I am when things are tidy and put away helps.
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« Reply #6: July 27, 2008, 10:06:17 am »

I'm sitting in the middle of a massively messy house, and am trying to get motivated to get it back into shape.  What do you do when the laundry turns into dirty clothes mountain, or the fridge is starting to look like a penicillin lab?  What are tips or tricks that you find help you get started when housework overwhelming?  (You Martha Stewart types that have color-coded binders of your organized chore life, please don't make fun of folks like me struggling to keep our head above water, lol.)

My dirty little secret, I watch How CLean is Your House?  on American BBC.  It is on everyday in my area. After watching that show I get into a cleaning frenzy and want to try out all the natural home-made cleaners too! Now mind you, my house has never ever even been half as bad as those homes, but it scares the bejeepers out of me that it might get that way! It's a scare tatic that this procrastinator needs! The great thing about some of their methods is that you can do several things at once. For example while you soak a shower-head in lemon juice you can be cleaning the floor.

I agree with everyone else about breaking things into little projects, so as not to be overwhelmed at first.  I know a couple  who had a mountain of laundry and put it all in garbage bags and took it all to a laundromat. They used several washing machines at once, then did the same with the dryers, came home and put it all away and it was all done one in one evening.  Then they vowed to never let it pile up like that again. They felt it was well worth the extra expense.
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« Reply #7: July 27, 2008, 10:10:13 am »

What do you do when the laundry turns into dirty clothes mountain
I have two laundry hampers - one for dark colors (cold water) and one for whites (hot).  When an item is dirty, it goes into the appropriate basket.  When a basket is full enough for a load of laundry, it gets taken down to the washer.  The idea is that the laundry is already sorted and I can do a little laundry at a time, rather than letting it pile up.  It's been mildly successful.  We still have problems with putting the clean clothes away.

Quote
or the fridge is starting to look like a penicillin lab? 

Our garbage pick-up is Monday morning, so we take the trash bins out Sunday night.  As we are collecting the trash from bathrooms and the kitchen, I go to the fridge and start chucking anything that's expired.  Then it's taken right outside so it doesn't stink up.
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« Reply #8: July 27, 2008, 11:50:44 am »

If you haven't looked at http://Flylady.net , a bunch of the following come from there and her first book. (I find the emails terribly annoying, but found the book a lot better to deal with.) Stuff that works for me:

I have been to Flylady.  Some of her ideas are really good, but I couldn't handle the e-mails, either.  I think they have cut down on the volume of them, but it is her tone that really sets my teeth on edge.  It probably doesn't help that I listened to some of her internet radio shows, and she comes across about as smart as a brick but not quite as likable.  And she is about twice as good as her buddy Leanne, the so-called nutritionist that does things like tout the evil toxicity of canola oil.

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« Reply #9: July 27, 2008, 12:46:39 pm »

I have been to Flylady.  Some of her ideas are really good, but I couldn't handle the e-mails, either.  I think they have cut down on the volume of them, but it is her tone that really sets my teeth on edge.  It probably doesn't help that I listened to some of her internet radio shows, and she comes across about as smart as a brick but not quite as likable. Sperran

Good thing I skip the radio programs, then, and delete many of the emails.  Lots of her techniques are spot on, though.  Routines are good, doing things in short intervals rather than trying to tackle everything at once really works, and picking up after yourself--what Flylady calls "erase the evidence"-- cuts way down on the clutter and grunge.  I'll never be Martha Stewart, but I'm better at housekeeping since I found Flylady.

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« Reply #10: July 27, 2008, 02:42:55 pm »



If you have things to sort or fold, I found that it's alot easier to do if you're watching tv.  Keeps your mind from dwelling on the fact you're doing a chore.  Smiley at least it works for me.
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« Reply #11: July 27, 2008, 08:40:45 pm »

I have been to Flylady.  Some of her ideas are really good, but I couldn't handle the e-mails, either.  I think they have cut down on the volume of them, but it is her tone that really sets my teeth on edge. 

Yep. Which is why I mention the book, as an easier way to get the ideas.

I've actually got a partial draft post somewhere on why FlyLady's language and emphasis choices are really problematic from several common magical/esoteric points of view (especially in the sense of things you repeat to yourself or ways you phrase how you work). But the basic concepts? Useful building blocks.
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« Reply #12: July 28, 2008, 12:15:07 am »


Have your in-laws come visit. Tongue My house has never been so clean.
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« Reply #13: July 28, 2008, 12:26:06 am »

I have been to Flylady.  Some of her ideas are really good, but I couldn't handle the e-mails, either.  I think they have cut down on the volume of them, but it is her tone that really sets my teeth on edge.

I also find her tone borderline intolerable. However, any housekeeping manual from before 1970 will give you basically the same damned advice she gives you, and frankly I find the bits of glaringly inappropriateness from 1934 far more amusing than her irritating tone. (I was reading one from 1934 yesterday while waiting for some folks so I could give a tour of a historic home -- it was all full of tips on how to manage my household servants and how to decide between an icebox and an electrical refrigerator. But the whole zone cleaning and dusting from the top down and so forth is exactly the same.)

I also absolutely can't abide her insistence on wearing shoes or "ur doin it rong!" Maybe YOU are not capable of being professional or proactive or what the hell ever without shoes on, but *I* never wear shoes when I can avoid it, including when lecturing to a class of 50 students, so STFU about your shoes, woman! (And I'm certainly not wearing lace-up sneakers in my own home so I can clunk around, kick things, and look unattractive. If I've got to wear shoes in my own home, they're going to be CUTE shoes.)

Two other ideas, for when things have gotten out of hand: Trade cleaning days with a good friend (she keeps you company and helps you clean your house, then you go keep her company and help her clean hers), or hire a neighborhood teenager. A couple girls in my neighborhood do housework for spending money, and I have no qualms about hiring local boys to mow the lawn, etc., when the yardwork gets ahead of us; so I have no qualms about hiring the girls to help me plow through a mountain of laundry and scrub the heck out of the kitchen. Cheaper than Merry Maids, which is also an option and which I did right before my wedding because NO WAY was I going to get all that done.

Of course having strangers in the bathroom is a personal decision, but if you can have a friend help you clean the kitchen and fold the laundry, that's really almost half the hard work right there.
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« Reply #14: July 28, 2008, 02:53:44 am »


Of course having strangers in the bathroom is a personal decision, but if you can have a friend help you clean the kitchen and fold the laundry, that's really almost half the hard work right there.

One other option, if you don't want someone else actually cleaning your stuff (but are okay with them seeing it unclean) is to just swap *time*: they come over and keep you company (but don't necessarily do much work, though maybe they might fold something or something minimal) and help keep you on task.

I've found it's really effective: I'm a lot less likely to put things off, and the work's certainly a lot more pleasant.
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