“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing. ” ~ Phyllis Diller, Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints, 1966
I recently read and recommend: “The Happiness Project” by Gretchin Rubin. It was full of insightful and useful information, many bite size pieces of practical advice that have the power to change your life, and maybe save your marriage.
As I look around my house I’m overwhelmed; the dirty dishes are thrown in the sink, the withering plants are begging for water, I could make a sweater out of the tumbleweeds of dog hair, my work clothes are still in the dryer, and my hall closet is empty because my coats are strewn about the house.
I’m fighting with my husband because I’m consumed by the stress of not being able to keep up.
How did this happen? One day your house is clean and organized and the next day it seems like your house is an unsuitable living environment for even your dog.
1. The minute rule: I have a secret. It’s a secret that me and the other readers of The Happiness Project are benefiting from.
If you can do it in under a minute, than do it. For instance when you get home from work and take off your coat, your first reaction might be to throw it over the bannister. But wait, to hang it up would take less than one minute, so you hang it up.
Your finished dinner and begin to put your dirty plates in the sink, wait, in under one minute you could have those in the dishwasher. Simple.
Whenever we seem to get off track I will look at my husband and say, remember the minute rule, and without the need for constant nagging we will both know with that one simple sentence that we need to pull up our socks.
2. The ten minute bedtime rule: Everyone in the house take 10 minutes and do a quick overall clean up before bed. Is there laundry to fold or put away, do you need to tidy up the washrooms, kitchen or make lunches?
The ten minute rule allows you to tidy up things that may have fallen through the minute rule or complete chores that take more than a minute. If everyone in the house participates it can be a fun way to connect and keep the house tidy.
By practising these two simple techniques, your house won’t ever get to the decrepit state listed above. Of course you still need to mop, vacuum and do all these duties that require more time, but you won’t be spending two hours tidying up beforehand.
Honestly these two rules have changed my life. I used to phone my husband some mornings on my way to work completely stressed about the state of our house. It was inappropriate and I no longer feel compelled to do that; my stress levels are under control.
These rules will dramatically decrease your stress levels surrounding household chores. Your husband will thank you.
And remember, when doing your one minute rule and 10 minute clean up, be mindful, pay attention to the aliveness within you while you do the housework. It is also an experience that can be fun and bring us into the present moment. Even washing the dishes can be an awakening experience.