Though not nearly as fun as Daydreaming about Iceland or styling our Nantucket Reds, occasionally we need to tackle “real life.”We all have tasks we find despicable, but they must be done. For me, it is cleaning of any kind (I can literally feel my entire family nodding enthusiastically). I hate to clean. And I am SO lazy. I don’t like being dirty (yet oddly I don’t mind my surroundings being dirty). Even when it gets to that point, I just…don’t. I read a book. I watch a movie. I go to sleep and vow to deal with it in the morning.
You know things have gotten despicable when your dad comes over to take you to dinner and starts washing dishes and wiping down cabinets (yes, cabinets). I like things clean, I do. I just hate doing the actual cleaning. But seeing as how I will be in graduate school for the foreseeable future and have no trust fund that I know of (I’m still holding out for a secret one…or marrying one), I knew I could not continue to live like post-earthquake Haiti. Finally I found a way to somewhat combat this. I am no Merry Maid but I am also not a biohazard and that my dears is success.
Step One: Break it down.
You can start dancing if you’d like, but it won’t actually clean your apartment any faster. Make a list of everything that needs done. Clean Apartment. Smaller, smaller, smaller.
Put dry dishes away.
Wash dishes in the sink.
Wipe off the stove.
Go get clean laundry from the dryer (um yes, I am that ridiculous).
Step 2.1: Set a Timer.
10 minutes on the clock and GO – how much can get done? Sometimes when the timer goes off I ignore it and continue Swiffering. Other times I drop the Swiffer where it is and rush back to my novel. Either way, it seems MUCH more manageable than “Saturday’s task: clean the entire apartment.” This step not appealing? Or trying to use the excuse “but I have SO many more important things to do!” ?
Step 2.2: Interval Training!
If I have a lot of studying to do, I intersperse my studying with chores. It gives me a chance to take a break from the Russian Revolution or irreducibly-long Hebrew vowels, and slowly but surely, the list shortens. I don’t go crazy looking at 400 flashcards over and over (true story), but I also don’t throw my hands up in frustration and ignore both tasks in favor of “The Gilmore Girls.”
Time Out: But Rachel, I don’t have issues with cleaning, I have issues doing X (And I hate those stupid Gilmore Girls)
No excuses, play like a champion! Clearly, the break it down and shuffle idea works for nearly everything. Have trouble fitting in daily (or…weekly) exercise? Break it down. So many workout videos come in “segments” these days (Core Fusion, anyone?) Ten minutes and you are back to whatever you were doing before and not sweaty enough to warrant a shower. Or vow to take a lap around the building/block every two hours. I had a friend who, during finals, would jog a lap around the library every 30-45 minutes. She received a few funny looks from fellow students, but it kept her alert and gave her body a jolt of exercise.
Great at cleaning but have clothes in every size from a 00-12 because you “might wear it again!” No. My mom used to make us “pick a drawer” when we were doing seasonal clothing swaps. Just one drawer. Clean it out, throw out what does not fit or you will not wear. I promise you will not notice that the leopard print mini-skirt is no longer. Or T-shirts. My sister is the worst at collecting T-shirts and then refusing to get rid of any of them. I tried to take her decade old “Ironfish” triathlon shirt once and she freaked. Have to keep the leopard print skirt (just….don’t.). But if you must, “trade” it for something else you don’t ever wear. Keep the triathlon shirt, but throw out the Elementary School field day tees.
Need to write that paper but can’t bear the thought of slaving over 10, 15 pages? A professor once told a group of us that we only had to write a paragraph a day for the next X weeks to finish our papers. Sure, ten pages may seem daunting, but a paragraph is cake.
Now quit reading and go tackle those projects. Ready, Set, GO!
Have any cleaning tips and tricks for me? I’d LOVE to hear them? Or any tips and tricks in general?