HAPPY NEW YEAR! Doesn’t this time of year make everything seem new and fresh? I love new beginnings. I love purchasing new school supplies and calendars each year for my classes at Hyles-Anderson College. It doesn’t take long though for that new calendar to fill up fast with the due dates for my class assignments, special class projects, meetings where my husband and I will speak in the coming year, birthdays and anniversaries of our family and friends, etc. We start the year with such good intentions, don’t we? I have learned that even if I don’t accomplish everything on my list, I do accomplish more by just having a list…and a plan!
In this Keepers at Home column this year, we will be focusing on cleaning and organizing our homes. “Boooooring,” you say. Well, maybe it is. I’m not going to lie. Scrubbing toilets, floors, and tubs is not my idea of a “whoo-hoo” moment either, but I find I can really, really get excited about a clean house! Don’t you just love to visit in someone else’s clean home! I’ve heard Mrs. Beverly Hyles ask, “Why is it that everyone else’s house looks cleaner than your own?” I tend to believe it’s because we don’t know where all the dirt is!
Many times after visiting in someone else’s home, I have been inspired to go home and “attack” my house. I get all motivated and fired up, and I may even get a few deep-cleaning projects accomplished. But then I get sidetracked with something else, and my motivation leaves me. I have told myself, “I’ll get back to that in a little while,” but so often it’s a few more days than I intended or even prefer. I’m convinced that the greatest enemy of a clean house is (drum roll here) PROCRASTINATION!
Procrastination is simply putting off until tomorrow what SHOULD and COULD be done today. (If you can’t do it today, then it’s not procrastination.) We get tired. We get lazy.We get inspired by something else—too many times, and things get backed up. The thing about procrastinating when you need to dust is that when you do finally dust, there’s more of it! The mess gets worse the longer we ignore it, and then it’s just plain overwhelming…so, we wait some more until we can conjure up enough strength to tackle the now even more enormous job!
I teach Home Decorating at Hyles-Anderson College. I explain to my students that one of the first things you must understand about choosing a style for your home is whether or not YOU can live up to its maintenance. In my mind, decorating your home involves not only the style you wish, but the maintenance you are willing to do and the organization your family requires. You can’t separate them and have good results!
When we choose to furnish or decorate our homes in ways that we just can’t keep up; when life gets too hectic with school, jobs, family, etc.; when our health causes us to feel tired and weak; or when we just have a season of feeling overwhelmed by it all, we can procrastinate, and procrastination can become a habit! We all procrastinate sometime, and we all have different areas of procrastination.Here are a few thoughts on procrastination and how to break the habit!
That’s right. Stop reading right now and go do something this very minute. Straighten a kitchen, bathroom or dresser drawer; empty some trash cans or the dishwasher. Then see how many times throughout the day you go back and look at those neat drawers. It feels good, doesn’t it? Doing some little jobs daily will make you feel good about your home and spur you on to do more.
DON’T DO TO KEEP FROM DOING!
It’s good to make a list—but not at the sake of doing something. Don’t spend an afternoon making a list of what needs to be done in each room of your house. Not only will you be depressed when finished, but you’ll probably go to bed…after throwing the list away! Don’t get sidetracked by doing something that really isn’t necessary so you can feel busy. You know what you should be doing!! Remember, “Analysis breeds paralysis!”
SET A CLEANING TIME AND THEN QUIT!
If you have major work to do and you are procrastinating, don’t try to do it all at once. You won’t! If it’s an eight-hour job, break it down into increments you can handle. Some of it done each day is better than none of it done later! Decide you will clean for two hours each day. Accomplish all you can during that time and then stop. You don’t have to kill yourself. Remember the goal is to enjoy your home, not become a scullery maid to it.
DO SOMETHING EVERY DAY.
Don’t let one day go by without doing something with your regular daily chores. Beds should be made every day. Dishes should be washed after every meal every day, etc.
READ SOMETHING ON CLEANING AND ORGANIZING.
Contrary to popular opinion these days, no one was born with a clean gene! No, some of us didn’t miss out on it! The reason some women are good at cleaning is that they clean! While doing it, they have learned some tips and tricks that make the job faster and more organized, and they have probably written a book about it! Do a Google search for tips on cleaning big jobs. We learn what we want to know because we go after it! We need to quit blaming our mothers for not teaching us. She didn’t teach us how to surf the Internet, but we learned—BECAUSE WE WANTED TO!!!
ASK QUESTIONS OF PEOPLE YOU ADMIRE FOR BEING ORGANIZED.
If you know a lady who is good at caring for her home, pick her brain when the opportunity arises. Learn all you can to make the job go more quickly and efficiently.
PICK UP AND PUT AWAY AS YOU GO.
If you already have a big job of cleaning, don’t add to it daily by leaving new tasks undone. Start today living the way you want to live when the job is done and then work on the “old” mess a little each day until you get caught up.
DON’T REQUIRE PERFECTION OR NOTHING—YOU’LL WEAR YOURSELF OUT AND END UP WITH NOTHING!
I used to feel that if I hadn’t waxed my baseboards so that they caught the light from windows and lamps, that no matter how hard or long I had cleaned, it just wasn’t good enough! Praise the Lord, I got over that feeling!
Read a chapter in a book, have a cup of coffee, enjoy a snack, etc. The reason this isn’t exciting is that we are already rewarding ourselves in these ways, AND WE HAVEN’T EVEN DONE ANYTHING!!! Read a chapter in a book? I’ve read five this week. My laundry isn’t done, but I’m a good reader. No one loves and encourages reading more than my daughter Jenny and I do—but not in place of caring for our responsibilities.
PROCRASTINATION LEADS TO A DOWNCAST SPIRIT.
We feel moody, grouchy, irritable, depressed, angry, and ashamed when we allow procrastination to become a habit. No one wants to be around someone who exhibits these characteristics! Guess what? All of these emotions create the problem! It’s a vicious circle! So, get up and GO DO SOMETHING! Clean out that drawer and see how many times you go back and look at it today!