The Dreaded Spring Cleaning
Along about March I start getting e-newsletters from all my favorite homekeeping buddies regarding spring cleaning. I know they have good intentions. But, they don't know me. I am what is termed as a "relaxed homemaker." I realized I had this disorder (please, pardon the pun) about the same time I figured out I was also a "relaxed homeschooler." "Relaxed" is a vital part of my personality and is my modus operandi of survival. I refuse to let house work or school schedules determine my peace of mind or lack thereof.
Your Best Way
However, through home educating our children, I discovered each of us has a best way of getting things done. My way may not be the best way for you. I have found even difficult or mundane tasks may be tackled and conquered in a short period of time by first determining the personality of the player.
Show & Tell
For instance, our oldest child had no problem following orders. If it was clearly spelled out for him what to do next, he simply got down to it and got it out of the way. It was important, however, that he had all the tools necessary and had a good understanding of what was expected.
If you are this type of person, your cleaning will go more smoothly if you have all the right tools for the job ready at hand. These tools, along with a cleaning schedule with clear instructions for how to go about it, are all you really need to motivate you to start. Knowing what to do next keeps you on course and, before you know it, your cleaning is done and you feel free to go on to more relaxing tasks.
Our second child, on the other hand, would panic at the sight of a new workbook. It looked huge to him, insurmountable. He could not see how he could ever get it all done, so he avoided starting it at all. I found that, if I told him he only had to complete one page before leaving the table, he quickly got busy and was out the door. In a few minutes, I would call him back in and give him another page to complete before allowing him to be free again. Once he got into it, however, he found he could do two, five, or even ten pages at a time without taking off. By that point, he would rather get it all done while he was already working on it and it was fresh in his mind than have to restart the task again after running about outdoors.
This type of personality is immobilized by the magnitude of the chore of spring cleaning. It's too much, too difficult, impossible! So, (this is me) you keep putting it off until it's summer. So, -- oh, well, -- you might as well wait until fall. Then, fall is gone, and winter sets in, and -- oh, well, -- you might as well wait until spring. And on it goes.
Therefore, the best way to get anything done is to take it in baby steps. Begin by assessing one room at a time, concentrating only on that room until it is done. It often helps to write out the steps and just do one step at a time. If you need to get out of the room for a few minutes, do it. Maybe set a timer for five minutes or half an hour, then go back to the room and complete the next step. Before you know it, you will find you can complete two or more steps at once without leaving the wreckage. Then, before you know it, it will be done.
Now, give yourself a gold star. :)
Our third child, our daughter, has always been the Martha Stewart type: organized and self-motivated. She learned to read the year I was experiencing my fifth-year home school burnout, but I don't know how. Again, she's a self-starter.
If you are naturally organized and have no problem getting your spring cleaning done, you don't need me. You should be writing your own blog!
Spell It Out For Me
Our youngest, however, got bogged down with indecision. He was only a self-starter when he had it all written out what was expected of him. Then, he would grab the bull by the horns right away, conquer it quickly, and enjoy his freedom the rest of the day.
If this sounds like you, then you would do best to organize your action plan the night before, then get an early start the next morning. Marking off each task as it is accomplished will speed you on your way through to the end. Just be sure to have something fun and/or relaxing to do at the end of the To Do list. You will have deserved it.
What Cleaning Personality Are You?
So, did you see yourself in any of these four cleaning personalities? Perhaps you are none of these. Therefore, before you even think about spring cleaning, it might be wise to first evaluate what helps you to get things done. What difficult tasks have you accomplished, and how did you go about them? Applying those same strategies to your annual deep cleaning will be the key to actually getting it all done.