“Cleaning is like pulling off a band-aid. Once you start, there’s no turning back!” -RLT

I couldn’t find a quote that fit what I wanted to write about, so I made my own. Do you ever do that? Quotes encourage my mind to put action into what is being said. I repeat, “Cleaning is like pulling off a band-aid. Once you start, there’s not turning back.” If you’re honest with yourself, you know I am right.

I had some “free” time, which doesn’t happen very often and decided to tackle my room. I am the most organized person you will ever meet … outside my bedroom. I live in my bedroom to sleep, change, get ready, and head out the door. When you a college senior, part time employee and an intern, you aren’t always home to have a ‘home life.’ Today,  I did three loads of laundry and have walking space on my floor again to walk from my desk to my dresser. (I should have censored the details, but I want to be transparent about this because it’s something not many people openly discuss.) I remember I was given advice on to “maintain” your surroundings by doing a little each day to prevent what I just did– a two-hour cleaning session. I used to give the excuse that I didn’t have time each day to “maintain” it the way it looks, but I would by lying. I simply choose to do other things.

Here’s what has helped me

Action Plan:  When the dryer stops drying my last load of laundry, I will immediately fold it and walk it over to my room. Do I wait to put it away? If I did that like last time, I would have a pile of folded clothes and nothing put away. This time, like the previous two loads of laundry, I hang up what needs to be hung up and put the rest in its proper drawer. Now, I have bed and floor space with no clothes lingering around. It’s a good feeling!

Motivation during the clean:  When you clean in an all day affair, or a few minutes each day try to stay motivated. It’s hard, so I suggest playing some music. I pressed “play” on iTunes and get to work. A song is about two minutes times 10 songs is 20 minutes you continued to clean your room. That’s a huge accomplishment! When you press through the barrier of the initial start of cleaning, it’s easier to continue with it.

Divide and conquer:  I have to give credit to my mom on this tip because it’s what she has given me all my life. When I gave her the excuse, “I have so much stuff I don’t know where to begin…” she would help me divide and conquer. (Let me explain further.) When I look at my room, I have a few areas that can be divided. I have two dressers, bookshelf, desk area, mini-fridge, storage container (mostly beauty and shower goods), a cabinet where I hang clothes up and what’s on top of this cabinet (candle, movie, and pen-pal storage boxes). It sounds like a lot, but my room is not that big so it can be overwhelming. My mom’s suggestion was to pick one area or two (depending on my time frame I had) and tackle just those areas I picked out. If I organize the cabinet where I hang up my clothes and what’s on top, I only clean and organize that area. Period. It’s easy to get sidetracked and see other areas to clean, but this is where cleaning starts to consume you and the battle feels like it never ends. Take a stand and commit to those areas and plan another time to come back to the others. In a few cleaning days, the entire room will be taken care of over time. This is a tried-and-true method for me, and that’s coming from a perfectionist who doesn’t like leaving projects unfinished.

Reward yourself:  Every time I clean my room, I feel better about myself and the job I did. By rewarding myself with burning a candle when my room is clean, I feel good and the feeling stays with me longer. I know it is unsafe to burn a candle in a messy room because something might fall on it and be a hazard than a haven.  Rewarding myself helps motivate me to keep my action plan together, so I can keep burning candles in a clean environment.

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