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The chore of cleaning and how to avoid doing it on the weekend

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Break down cleaning tasks into segments, vacuum one day, dust the next...

It's therapeutic for some, a sigh of feel-good relief for others once done, but for many, it's a chore that, well, you would rather not do, but know it must be done.

It doesn't matter if it's tidying up the house or apartment, sweeping out the garage, or detailing the car, cleaning things up gives life a sense of order and the unobstructed freedom to focus on other things.

Aside from cleaning some dirty dishes daily, the bulk of cleaning the house is done on the weekends for most folks.  That's how it was in my house growing up anyway.

My mother was a very clean-conscious and orderly woman.  She was always cleaning something it seemed, washing dishes, doing laundry, ironing, dusting, etc.  She was also a divorced mother of four, and money was tight because my father got away with not having to pay much at all for child support.  Working full time, mom started delegating cooking and cleaning chores as she tried to balance work and home life, and one of my chores as a 'youngin' was vacuuming on Saturdays.  We lived in a 1-1/2 story house with a full basement.  After vacuuming the basement carpeting, which was a full shag and included having to rake it after vacuuming, it was time to lug the Kirby vacuum up the stairs to take care of the living room, dining room, two bedrooms, and kitchen.  Yes, even the kitchen was carpeted and no detail was left undone, we're talking about pulling out vacuum attachments and vacuuming under the couch and other big pieces of furniture, vacuuming anything upholstered, moving chairs, and running a brushed attachment all along the baseboards.  I asked my mom if I could take a break from vacuuming after completing that portion of the house before moving upstairs to knock out two more bedrooms, a sitting area, and the carpeted stairs themselves.  Mom's response:  "You can take a break by dusting."  She was no-nonsense, it was a simple life lesson of work before play, and once the work was done, there was still plenty of time to have fun and be a kid.

Being a bachelor living in a modest home, it's just me keeping the house and garage tidy, the grass cut, the garden weeded, and the vehicle detailed.  I appreciate my mother's 'clean' attitude and maintaining an orderly environment.  There are those times when I'm not in the mood for it and let things slide, but then Mother's "Work before play" lesson kicks in again and I'm back at it.

It can be hard to maintain a clean and orderly home by yourself, balancing work, home life, activities, friends, romance, all those things, it ain't easy!   Back in the day, mom had little choice but to pretty much break things down to a work-during-the-week, clean-on-the-weekend approach, so I've taken mom's old-school regimen and tweaked it a bit.  

Spend 15 minutes a day cleaning, it will free up your weekend.

If you like to cook and do that for yourself on a daily and nearly every-meal basis like I do, then cleaning the kitchen is pretty much a daily need, there's no other way around it.  Thank goodness for dishwashers, right?!  But everything else can be broken down into little 15-minute segments of tidiness.  Consider giving a house-cleaning routine similar to this a try, adjusting it to your schedule.

  • Monday, vacuum for 15 minutes.
  • Tuesday, dust for 15 minutes
  • Wednesday, sweep/mop (or dry/wet Swiffer) for 15 minutes
  • Thursday, bathroom duty, for 15 minutes
  • Friday, Windex mirrors, glass 

Spending as little as 15 minutes of cleaning routine on your day can really free up your weekend!  I've also done a 'clean one room a day' routine, but it's not as efficient as the above.  It's much easier and faster to focus on one type of task, such as dusting everywhere, rather than pulling out (and then putting away) all the equipment and items needed to do a complete clean in just one room.  Simple 15 minutes of tidiness can also be done before work, giving you more free time after the workday is done...  Work, before play.

$pend Wisely My Friends...  In this case, time.

~ Mike

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