This is a re-post from a previous year.
Guest Post by Sarah Parsons
Like all of you, I am busy. I have a six month old son. I work full-time in Corporate America. My husband is a freelancer, which means he works a lot, or a little, and here, there, and everywhere. We try to have a social life. We also have a home, eat food, and wear clothes. Am I the only one who is still surprised that dinner comes every single day?
One of the many pieces of advice I was given as a new mom was to not worry about keeping the house perfectly clean. Those comments only intensified post-maternity leave. Trust me, I let perfect go a long time ago (not easy for this Type A personality!).
At the same time, I can only live with pink rings in my sinks and toilets, and piles of dishes and clothes for so long. I have had people tell me to just hire a housekeeper or cleaning service. I’m going to assume that if you’re reading a blog on frugal living, then like me, you probably don’t have extra money in the budget for a cleaning service.
So… where does that leave me?
There are many really great organizational theories and systems out there. Many advocate a 15-minute rule for getting things done, where you set aside just 15 minutes to work on a task or project at a time. Some talk about tackling one room at a time or doing specific tasks on certain days of the week.
The problem: sometimes even 15 minutes, one room, or set daily tasks seems impossible.
My solution: Just do one thing. This might seem obvious to some of you, but to my Type A personality, this has been revolutionary. I don’t try to finish a whole task or clean a whole room. I just work on doing one thing.
How it works:
If I am going upstairs or downstairs, I take one thing with me to put away (dirty towels, toys, books, etc).
When I am pulling a shirt to wear today out of the clean laundry pile, I grab one more with me to hang up.
If I am in the kitchen, I put away one clean dish. Or put one dirty dish in the dishwasher.
If I am in the bathroom, I grab the dirty hand towel and use it to quickly wipe down the counter before it gets thrown in the laundry hamper.
If I am using a table/counter/desk that is piled high, I deal with one item while I am there.
Doing one thing is a step in the right direction. If I avoid the clean laundry pile because it’s overwhelming, there will always be an overwhelming laundry pile. Action, any action, makes a difference.
Some days, one thing is truly all I have time and energy for. Other times, I find that once I make that first step, I have motivation to do a little more. Maybe 5 minutes, maybe 15 minutes. Occasionally, I finish a whole task. Giving myself permission to only do one thing, gives me the freedom to want to do more, rather than feeling like I have to do more.
Will my house ever be spotless with this method? Probably not. But it will save my sanity and keep things clean enough for this season of life.
Leave a comment! What are your tips for cleaning and organizing in small doses?
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