Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cleaning For My Sanity

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in Newton today, and I spent a good portion of it cleaning. Before you start to feel bad for me, please understand that it was largely my choice. Things had gotten a little hectic this first week of school, and Marc did a painting project in the kitchen Thursday, so we had eaten some meals in the living room. We spent most of Saturday out of the house (and having fun at MixFest), and Sunday morning too, so after all of that, some serious effort was required to get the house back to my standards.

And yes, these are my standards, not Marc's, definitely not the kids'. I physically can't relax when the house is a mess. Honestly, even if a few things are out of place, it's hard on me. I think I've gotten a bit better over the years, allowing that certain areas of the house will never be clutter-free, letting certain toys litter the floor for days. But that really is how I see it - as litter. Empty wrappers from granola bars drive me crazy, even crumbs left in the sink agitate me. Please tell me I'm not alone.

So today I decided to chronicle what I did over approximately ninety minutes of cleaning. I've been wanting to do this experiment for a while now, as I've always had it in my head that the amount of things I can do in a short period of time is staggering, but now I know for sure. I used the dictation function on my phone to capture this with the least amount of impact on the length of time spent. Here's what I did (while also supervising Max playing in the backyard and working on his "machines" throughout the house):

Mini-cleaned the bathroom, including counter, mirrors, toilet and sink. Put new towels in the bathroom. Brought down assorted recycling, markers and scissors from upstairs. Put two pairs of rain boots in the hall closet. Started the first load of laundry. Recycled items and threw out miscellaneous trash. Checked dining room, living room and office for missing dishes. Emptied the dish drying rack. Cleaned coffee grounds from one side of the kitchen counters, then cleaned the other side of the kitchen counters. Unloaded the dishwasher. Reloaded the dirty dishes. Wiped down the center kitchen counter and swept the kitchen floor. Took a break to eat banana bread over the sink and take the above picture of my clean kitchen. Picked up and organized toys in the dining room. Cleared off the dining room table of newspapers, mail, markers, and a package of items to be returned. Wiped down the dining room table and washed the place mats. In the living room, found a missing water bottle and a bowl under the couch that I missed on my first look around. Filed important High Holiday service tickets. Filed other paperwork. Separated forms that need to be returned tomorrow. Opened mail that needed just a quick review & recycle. Set aside a small stack of mail that needs further examination. Vacuumed the hardwood floors in the dining room, living room (including staircase) and office, picking up more toys. Wiped down coffee table. Chatted with Marc a bit after he put away the groceries.  Picked up all the dirty clothes on the floor of both kids rooms (gotta enforce that better next week). Started second load of laundry. Brought Hannah's headband and sweater upstairs. Made my bed. Folded first load of laundry. Put kitchen dishrags away and packed Max's school nap bag for the next day.

Now I'm very fortunate that we have a cleaning service every two weeks, but since this was an off week, the list is longer than usual. Meals eaten away from the table accounted for the vacuuming, which I usually avoid in favor of sweeping. And for the record, Marc was out dropping off and picking up Hannah from a party and grocery shopping while I was doing this, so it wasn't like he left everything to me. But seeing the list in written form, it certainly is a lot, just to make me feel less anxious.

Maybe I would have been better off just leaving the house and ignoring the whole thing. :)

1 comment:

  1. That sounds similar to my "90 min" list. My favorite part , though, is that sometimes when Wes sees me tidying, he will decide to start a cleaning project too - but his will take six hours, get in the way of prepping dinner, and generally make him grumpy. The difference between men and women, eh?