There are homes in which a reasonable person wouldn’t (or couldn’t) attempt maintenance cleaning, but the problem is more a matter of organization than cleaning. For example, in the kitchen the problem may not be a long-term collection of dirt, grime, and grease, but instead a fairly short-term collection of dirty pots and pans on the stove top and surrounding counters. And maybe there are dirty dishes from the last few days filling the sink and overflowing onto additional counter space…children’s toys strewn about on the floor…a 75% complete jigsaw puzzle on additional counter space…and coats, clothes, and shoes on and around the chair in the corner. We’re sure you could paint an even more complete picture.
Such a room needs to be picked up first, not cleaned first. There is a huge difference. You should fill the dishwasher – not haul out specialized cleaning tools. You should pick up the toys and clothes – not rent a floor machine. This is as much an organizational problem as it is a cleaning problem. (We would like to tackle that subject – but not now. Check out our book Spring Cleaning for more detail!)
You already really know what you have to do. Put things away before you start to clean. Threaten or cajole other family members to do so also. If you just put things away when you finish with them your life will be transformed. Hang up your coat when you take it off instead of first tossing it on a chair for a day or two. It’s easier and faster, your house will look better, and the rooms won’t be cluttered all the time. But you already knew that. Now all that remains is to do it. You may have a little fight with yourself when you do, but go ahead and be organized in spite of yourself. Fake it until it’s routine enough to become a genuine impulse.
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