Have you ever sat at a red light and waited, and waited, and waited. Like for 5 minutes sitting at that red light, while you get more and more frustrated at how LONG the light is? Have you ever actually watched the clock as you sit at that really long red light?
One time I did that and I was amazed to find that what felt like 5 full minutes was actually 90 seconds. Knowing it was less than 2 minutes of my life made it a lot easier to just sit the 90 seconds patiently the next time.
Sometimes (actually MOST of the time) our perspective has a huge part to play in our attitude and our our ability to accomplish tasks. When we feel they are insurmountable, extremely time exhaustive, overwhelming, etc., then we are far less inclined to dive in. How often have to tried to clean your entire house and started with the easiest room and never gotten to the ones that are actually the problem? (At least my closet is clean…but really? Who is ever going to notice?)
I am a big cook. What I mean by that is I LOVE to cook and therefore very few meals are simple. I can easily turn a completely clean kitchen into a warzone, having used every pot, pan, measuring cup in sight. By the time we sit down to dinner, the sinks are overflowing and the counters are full. Then we eat. There are 7 of us in our family, so add to the pile 7 plates, 7 forks, 7 cups…and possibly bowls, spoons, small plates, etc. Not to mention the serving dishes because I almost never serve out of the same pan I cooked it in. So all those serving dishes and utensils. What about when we have company? Just multiply the mess exponentially and you can start to envision the state of my kitchen when we’re done eating.
I used to stare at that mound of dishes and feel overwhelmed. Especially if the dishwasher was full (clean, but not unloaded). Because then I had to UNLOAD first and then rinse and load.
One day, I decided to time how long it actually took me to unload. Do you know what? Two minutes. Two minutes to unload everything and put it all away. Sure, I wasn’t dilly dallying and I wasn’t being assaulted by a toddler while doing it. But still, knowing it only took 2 minutes sure changed how I felt about it.
Then I timed how long it actually took me to rinse a huge pile of dishes. 10 minutes. Done.
Now to load. Three minutes. Finished.
Sure, the sink is still full of dishes for one more load, but they are all rinsed and ready to go, so I will then spend another 2 minutes unloading and another 3 loading again…FIVE minutes. That’s it. In total, it will have taken me 20 minutes to tackle all those dishes.
So what does perspective have to do with housekeeping? A lot. When you feel overwhelmed and overcome by the messes before you, it is easy to feel bogged down by them because it FEELS like it will take forever to tackle them. But when you realize just how many minutes it really translates to, it makes it a lot easier to start.
For me, dishes and cleaning the kitchen are no longer overwhelming, no matter the size of the mess.
Perhaps your method needs tweaking and finding a new way of doing things would tremendously help. I used to be overwhelmed by all the laundry, but a new system fixed that quick and now laundry is something I actually…enjoy.
Or maybe a new way of facing the cleaning head on. Have you ever set a timer and cleaned a room? Do you know how much you can get done in 10 minutes? 5? 3? I used to do 10 minutes, but there are too many rooms in my new home to be able to actually finish the house in the time I have while my girls are at school. So I dropped it to 5. Now, I’ve dropped it to 3. I can accomplish a TON in 3 minutes (not in the kitchen, so that one still gets 10). Three minutes can mean the whole room is picked up, the floor is swept or vacuumed, the couch cushions are arranged, the beds are made, the laundry is started, the toilets are cleaned.
So the next time you start cleaning your house, grab a timer. Set it for 5 minutes (to start) and go as quickly as you can. You just might be amazed at how much you can do…and how much easier keeping up with the housework can be.