Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cleaning: A Theory

There's an ice cream truck driving through our apartment complex, playing its happy little song. I'm not going to get any, but it's just been that kind of day all day - that kind of week, really :)

This whole "we need to act like adults" thing is really working for me. As much as I grump grump grumped about making a chore list and slaved over a budget book and cleaned the oven, etc., it makes me feel better all over. Mark has been out of town this weekend, but I haven't moped around like I typically do when he's gone. It's like once the cleaning/organizing switch has turned over, there's no stopping me. Case in point: the night before last, after Mark left, I finished vacuuming, did laundry, worked on the budget book, baked a quiche, washed all the quiche-baking dishes, took out all the trash, cleaned the actual trash can, and then moved on to cleaning the inside of the microwave! Admittedly, all those things needed to happen - and badly. But I'm not one to just do that... in fact, the microwave looked so bad before that I can't wait for Mark to come home and ask me why I bought a new one. It is that much better now.

Here's the issue that I always run into, and am going to try extremely hard to avoid this time though: I can't keep it up. There's a cartoon that Elissa posted on my facebook wall, and when I read it, I thought to myself "How the HECK do they know me that well???"

See Exhibit A:
Hyperbole and a Half: This is Why I'll Never Be an Adult

So, right. This is me, exactly. And it's a problem. But THIS time, I'm absolutely determined to be better, and not lay down and die. I don't know why I do this. I have proven to myself over and over and over again that I am literally a better, happier person when my crap is together and my house is clean and I'm on my game. I am a significantly MORE mopey, unhappy person when I lay around and do nothing but surf the lovely interwebs all the livelong day. This fact ALONE should be enough motivation to continue to do what I'm doing. So what's the problem?

I'm going to have to change my mentality about cleaning.

See, I feel like there are two kinds of people in this world. (Or maybe three.)

1) People who clean when things are dirty.
2) People who clean to keep things from GETTING dirty.
3) People who never clean at all.

Now, I do not fall into that third category (even though some of my family members/friends might argue differently ... I really don't, I promise.) That first category? That's me. I go about my merry way, la de dah, I'll clean later, I'll clean tomorrow, I'll clean in a week, I'll clean next month when Aunt Mildred comes to visit. Etc, etc. So the mess piles and piles and piles until I'm tripping and hippity hopping through my mess of a bedroom trying to get out the door. Until my heart sinks to even think of where to BEGIN with the washing of the dishes. Until I have to scrape soap scum off the floor of my shower with a spatula. And then I go insane, go on a mad cleaning frenzy for like 3 days in a row, do nothing else, and totally wear myself "slap out" as they say down here in the South. And then it's clean, and I repeat the cycle.

I want to be person #2. The person who does PREVENTATIVE cleaning.

I thought of this the other night, while I was scrubbing at the microwave for a good, solid 15 minutes. (I almost took a before picture to post for you guys, and then thought better of it. Cause that crap is embarrassing.) I don't know why this has just occurred to me .... it is not an original idea. In fact, I do believe my mother has probably been trying to teach me this for all of my days.

So, knowing this, how does one learn the art of preventative cleaning?? I have my little loathsome chore list that is turning out to be not quite so loathsome after all, considering I'm so much happier in my clean little house. But on my chore list, it says "Clean bathrooms." The bathrooms don't look dirty!! Why should I clean them if they don't look dirty?? This is my dilemma. It's like the Scrubbing Bubbles version of the classic "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality. But significantly less true, I think...

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions on how to go about changing this mindset? How does one learn preventative cleaning??

1 comment:

  1. I totally understand ... I feel like we're pretty good about cleaning, but it just consumes our weekends. I'm so jealous of your 5-days-off-a-week! But then I feel like I'd fall into the same trap, and never get anything done.

    Oh well. Good luck! And you are cleaning house for a PUPPY!