Cleaning is Not Never Ending

If your home is in a constant company ready state- then this article isn’t for you (but you might know someone who it is for).

Does cleaning make you feel like Sisyphus? If you don’t know who Sisyphus was he was a king in Greek mythology who was forced to push a massive stone up a mountain only to have is roll back down for him to push it up again.

So, I ask you, does cleaning make you feel like Sisyphus?

Do you feel like you spend hours upon hours cleaning the home and in no time at all, it is back to its original state?

Do you stare at in wonder other people’s houses, cars, and desks that always seem, if not immaculate, neat and tidy?

I know I did!  It was a mystery to me how people kept their areas so clean and yet they seemed happy, friendly and had all this magical time to do stuff to do other stuff like have a job, play with their kids, cook and go to out.

When I cleaned it took me all day (or even a few days). I was enjoyed (and a little weirded out) by the debris free floor and open space on the counter.

So, I rested because the job was done and I was a little burnt out. The house would be presentable for a day or two (well, maybe not the kitchen, unless we ate out) and then it slid back to where it started.

Then I would huff, puff and cross my arm and say “I can’t have a clean house” and go back to ignoring it – because I don’t have all day to clean – right?

Yes, it true I don’t have all day to clean but what is wrong is my assumption that it takes all day to clean.

Yes, I would clean but if I honest I wasn’t cleaning the whole time. I would take my time to make sure the work is done right. Pull out the books & photo albums from the bookshelves (stop to look closely at them), reorganize everything I came across and take breaks.  Now this combines with my speed – let’s say it was a relaxed pace.  There was no urgency – I had all day so I took all day (see my Not Enough Time).

But what if I didn’t give myself all day, could I clean it to a Company Ready State (CRS)? I used to say no. That kind of cleaning was just hiding stuff, not putting it away, I would say.

To be transparent, I never tried.

So, after learning that I am a time waster – I tested myself.  I allotted 2 hours to clean my house and a time limit to go with each item.

My house was messy and definitely needed a once over. So grabbed my supplies and set a timer and when that timer/chore was done I moved to the next.

The one area that I had to reset the timer a few times was in the pickup items and put them in a box or another room phase – I had to set that timer over a few times so I could have a clean space to work.  I also didn’t go into my husband’s office except for obvious trash because he wasn’t home to guide me.

Did I do it in 2 hours? No, I did it 2 1/2 hours and then some. I was not complaining – that was way better than all day and maybe into the next day.

Here is what I did.

I change and wash the sheets, clean the kitchen, remove clutter from all surfaces, clean the bathrooms, shine mirrors & windows, dust, vacuum, light mop, wash clothes and finally towels. (finishing the laundry is the ‘and then some’ part.


How do I do it?

The biggest thing was I stayed on task. I give myself a time limit to do each task and then I rush to beat the timer. When it’s done I move on to the next task.

Now, this isn’t a deep cleaning – but those – the detailed sweeping and mopping can be done on other days when it just them.

Want to see my schedule?

  • First, gather some cleaning supplies:
    • an all purpose cleaner
    • furniture dusting spray
    •  window cleaner.
    •  sponge or general cleaning cloth
    • a small scrub brush
    •  two different colored microfiber clothes (one for dust and on for glass) or paper towels.
    • empty box, crate or tote
    • a small bag for trash
    •  another small bag for recycling.
  • 5 min strip all sheets, start laundry & put on fresh sheets
  • 5 min Gather all the laundry and divide into clothes and towels.
  • 15 min grab a box, crate or tote and go through the rooms and grab items that belong in other rooms and place in box – if there are items in that room out of place put them up quickly but avoid organizing
  • 15 min Clean kitchen
    •  Unload dishwasher
    • Collect dishes
    • Load dishwasher
    • Hand wash pans and other non-dishwasher dishes (like expensive knives and flexible cutting boards
    • Put away the hand washed dishes
    • Wipe sink, counter, & stove.
  • 10 min – Quickly vacuum all floors – This is when having a stick broom is really helpful.  Mine is a Hoover Linx Cordless and the charge lasts about 20 minutes. I don’t have to deal with a cord and it is light enough to work around the furniture, get into the corners and leaves a free hand to move chairs quickly.
  • 10 Min Clean Bathrooms
    • Mirrors *
    • Countertops and faucets
    • toilet and the area around it (it is nastier than you think)
    • If you have time, tub & shower
    • Fresh towels, toilet paper refills and check the handsoap.
  • 2 – min Put sheets in dryer and start clothes
  • 15 min – Damp mop all the tile floor. This isn’t a scrub session – just to get the surface dirt off. *I have a good amount of tile – so if you follow this you might not need as much time.
  • 15 min – Put away those items that you gathered
  • 15 min – Dust with spray – (quick not perfect)
  • 10 min – Window and mirror cleaning (quick, not perfect)
  • 5 min – Empty all the little waste baskets in the rooms into a trash bag.
  • 10 min – Last phase of laundry – put sheets away, dry clothes, wash towels.
  • RELAX – read a book, listen to some music.  Just keep an ear on the laundry.

If you would like to try this remember to act like someone important is coming in a 2 or 3 hours and will expect to look in every room of your house. Just a note – if you have a ‘junk room’ include it but only go in there to remove some of the trash and vacuum. However, much of the floor you can see but don’t try to tackle it all.  I’ll put out a post on how to tackle an area like that later.

Okay, the house is clean, how do you keep it from sliding back?

Glass of clean mineral water on old color wooden surface and planks backgroundCleaning is like drinking water – you have to drink water daily or you’re thirsty.  Spaces have to be maintained daily or they’re dirty. You wouldn’t say that you have a never ending thirst so we can’t say that the need to clean is neverending.

One more note on why this article when what I talk a lot about on FB and business site is goals. Well, for some having a clean house is a goal. For others, it’s a distraction from our goals.  I can’t tell you how many times I had something urgent to do and suddenly I wanted to clean my space.  If my space is clean – I have one less excuse.

See you next time. If you have any questions post them in the comments and I’ll answer them.


Leave a Reply