Can a Slob Become a Neatnik?

Not much inspires me to clean. Even though I know that I will feel better if my surroundings are clean, it takes some sort of push for me to get it done. Maybe if friends are coming over or it is someone’s birthday…even then, I usually do the minimum necessary. The thing is, I spend a lot of mental energy worrying about finding time to really clean.

There are plenty of excuses: I have writing to do, I don’t feel good, I’ve worked all week – shouldn’t I enjoy the weekend? Most of the excuses are valid. I do work full time and spend at least 15-20 hours a week building my writing business. Then there are the two teenage girls who live in my house. I used to think when they were old enough to help with the big stuff it would get easier. Turns out, they have the same aversion to cleaning that I do.

I’ve tried set schedules and routines for cleaning and to make it just a part of my day. That didn’t work. I’ve tried making chore charts so that everyone in the family could share in the work. That didn’t work. I’ve tried declaring Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon chore time, where we all work together for 20-30 minutes cleaning. That didn’t work. I’ve tried going on strike to see how long it would take before the rest of my family couldn’t stand the mess anymore and cleaned it up (I do NOT recommend this route!). That didn’t work.

Nothing has worked for any length of time. And this is a personal problem that goes way, way back – to even before I had a space of my own to keep up. By default, I tried to keep my dad’s house clean as a teenager because my younger brother and dad certainly didn’t care about the mess. Really, I wish I could attain that sort of redneck zen, where the cleanliness of my house just didn’t matter and I could be happy and at ease even if there are empty drink cans all over the end tables and piles of laundry on the sofa.

In an effort to try and help inspire myself and my fellow slobs to do a better job of cleaning up, I’ve been looking for ways to make it a little easier:

  • One of the biggest things is to visit someone who keeps a really neat house. I always come back home and think, “I’m going to do a little more around here so my house is as comfortable as ……..”
  • As a big fan of Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, I enjoy reading her posts about how outer order promotes inner peace. Her thoughts on the topic don’t always inspire me to get up and clean up but they usually sit in the back of my mind and help me feel motivated when there is time to clean.
  • A recently discovered site is the Unclutterer. It’s been around for awhile, but it is pretty entertaining. I find the “Workspace of the Week” photos particularly inspiring because I dream of having a neat and pleasant home office someday soon. It has taught me a lot about how simple organization can drastically change the layout and functionality of a home office. The photos also provide great inspiration for new office furniture which I could invest in, such as an office partition (click here to learn more) to separate my working space and my husbands’ working space.

And now, I have to go wash dishes and put the clothes in the dryer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *