The long Labor Day weekend is behind us, and we’re settling into our normal routine, winding down our summer relaxing. We want to get the home in tip-top shape so our energy can go into the thousands of activities that are piling up on the calendar in the fall. But one look at our cluttered kitchen has us staggering back out onto the patio, procrastinating instead of diving right in to tackle the mess.
Now, 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. Take our kitchen, for example. In the kitchen, the problem is not 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, remnants of our Labor Day barbecue. There are dirty dishes from the last few days filling the sink and overflowing onto additional counter space, kids’ toys strewn about on the floor, a pile of bills on the counter, and bags, shoes, sweatshirts, on and around the chair in the corner. This may even seem familiar to you.
This room needs to be picked up first, not cleaned. There is a huge difference. We need to fill the dishwasher, not haul out specialized cleaning tools. We should pick up the toys and clothes, not rent a floor cleaner. This is as much an organization problem as it is a cleaning problem. We know what we have to do. We have to put things away before starting to clean, and probably threaten or cajole other family members to get them to help.
If you put things away when you finish with them your life will be transformed. Hang up your coat when you take it off instead of 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 know that. Now all that remains is to do it.
Like us, you may have a little fight with yourself when you do tackle it, but go ahead and be organized in spite of yourself. Fake it until it’s routine enough to become a genuine impulse.