The First Step in My New Cleaning Plan

I figured the minimum I  have to do.

It’s 4 things:

  • dishes
  • food
  • toilet
  • bath counter.

I’m not talking about  throughly CLEANING all of that every day, but the maintenance required for health and to avoid more work down the road (see below).

The dishes have to be at least scraped and rinsed daily.Waste food needs to be dealt with and other food needs to be put away every day.

The bathroom jobs are because I know I don’t mind running a brush around the toilet once or twice a day, but hate scrubbing it when I don’t.

We have a lot of iron scale in our water, if I don’t clean the sinks, etc. often they then start growing “rocks”which take NASTY chemicals and much elbow grease to remove. I run my soapy hand around the bathroom sink and rinse it off as I rinse my hands off because it feels nasty if I don’t, due to the sediment.

The sink chrome gets a 20 second rub down about once a day with a tissue or rag — a necessity because if it gets wet, it looks awful, because of the scale again. If I didn’t do the two or three second wipe down at least daily, it looks like I never clean it OR I have to fight it as mentioned above.

I’ve added two other things: the cat box and the kitchen counters since I started, both of them I’m still struggling to get done every day. I’m doing better, but I’m not there yet! The cat’s old and scatters cat litter around and I have a tendency to straighten up and leave stuff on the counters rather than taking what doesn’t belong off. As I said, I’m still working on those two.

It seemed to me that organizing cleaning tasks like there’s  only separate rooms in your home and you visit them one at a time was stupid. It also seemed  that the notion of doing types of chores on a certain day each week would make me bored and overwhelmed, and so I wouldn’t do it (washday Wednesday, for example).

I’m the daughter and wife of engineers. I decided to approach the problem the same way I would if someone wanted me to help them solve any other problem. The first step is almost always some variation of:  What HAS to occur? What are the required steps/outcomes? The four things satisfy that.

I had two main ideas when I started thinking about this: 1) That the house get cleaned often enough in enough small ways that it’s always as clean as I could reasonably make it and 2) Getting it there and keeping it there needed to be as low stress as possible, no spring cleaning or other seasonal cleaning, no calendar cleaning, no assigned days of the week when x or y or z had to happen.

The only daily MUST DO is the 4 things.

And even I, as disorganized and ADD or with bad habits or . .. (whatever) can do four short, simple tasks every day, or most days. That was another thing. I can’t use this as a way to beat myself up if I don’t do it, because that adds stress.

I wrote it down in an old teacher’s attendance notebook I had. I put an x when I do something and do just the minimum and a * when I take the time to clean something (the difference between scrubbing the toilet with the brush only and adding cleanser, for example). I try and star each of 3 things every week, at least once. (Excepting food.) I haven’t always made it. I don’t care. The house is getting cleaner. I’m not perfect, I’m learning new habits, I’m going to backslide, fail, and stumble, and that’s okay, as long as I don’t quit!


2 responses to “The First Step in My New Cleaning Plan

  1. Thanks for this! When you’re inside your head, things can go crazy, as you know. It’s tremendously helpful to hear someone else’s thoughts on these things and to know that others battle the guilt of not meeting even self-imposed standards! 🙂

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