Stuff that 'Needs To Go Out'

Is your entry way cluttered with piles of things that need to go back outside like library books, car keys and videos?

Page 117 from The House That Cleans Itself says that having a neat-but-effective launching pad is vital for the cleanliness of your entryway, and the more people you're launching on a daily basis, the more adaptable it needs to be.

Ideally, somewhere near the door should be a bookcase, cabinet or shelving unit that holds as many baskets or bins as there are family members. Each person uses her bin to place items she will need to take with her when he goes out. For mom it could be purse, sunglasses, and library books; for dad, maybe outbound mail or dry cleaning; for kids, lunchboxes, school papers and class projects.


Is this you #7?

Problem: When you decide to change, you jump in too far, too fast, and too enthusiastically... and burn out before you're done. Over the years the people who know me best have learned not to invest too heavily in some of my enthusiasms because they know most of them will peter out long before I establish true change.

This is more than a personality issue. At its core, it's a spiritual issue. When we go running too quickly down a primrose path at full steam, we're running ahead of God - ahead of his timing and ahead of his blessing. Read Psalm 24:4-5. In our hurry we leave no room for learning or guidance. Our hope is not in God but in our own ideas and excitement. Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God."

If this is you the solution can be found on page 74 of The House The Cleans Itself.

Solution: Resist the urge to run off half-cocked every time you think you've found a new and better way to conquer mess. If God is in what you want to do, he will reveal that to you in his time. Resolve to stop entering into household purges and changes without first fully grasping the scope of what lies ahead. Read Isaiah 40:29 and Isaiah 40:31.


Is this you #6?

Problem: Through past problems and failures, you have developed aversions to many conventional tools and methods of organizing, such as putting papers into file folders.

If this is you and you've spent a lifetime feeling stupid or guilty because conventional tools and methods don't work for you, it's time to stop beating yourself up. The following solution can be found on page 72 of The House That Cleans Itself.

Solution: Throw convention to the wind and base your solutions on the tools and methods that do work for you. Give yourself the opportunity to try new solutions. Think outside the box! For example, I don't know why sliding papers into a slot doesn't appeal to me but dropping them into an open bin does. I have given up trying to figure out the 'why' and instead decided to focus on the 'what': what works for me in keeping this house clean, in helping me organize, in guiding me through the hours I am given in a day. Ditch the 'oughts' as in 'you ought' to do something this way or that way. Says who? Do it in whatever way works for you. Just don't give up on finding ways to make it work.

Is this you #5?

Problem: You are a perfectionist, or similarly, you are an all-or-nothing cleaner. You're not going to clean at all unless you can do it right and do it completely. The problem is that life doesn't often allow the luxury of that much uninterrupted time. Consequently you can miss out on a lot of life because you might avoid having people come over except when your place is perfectly clean.

If this is you, the following summary comes from information found on page 70 of The House That Cleans Itself.

Solution: To combat this problem, you have to see that it is a problem and not just a personality quirk. Perfectionists can absolutely paralyze themselves preferring complete inaction to doing something imperfectly or incompletely. This one must be attacked head-on by refusing to allow these tendencies to have an effect on your cleaning behavior. Raise your lowest standards and lower your highest standards. Decide what "clean enough" is for you.

Tell yourself that your company is not here to see a clean house, they're here to see you. Invite them over on a regular basis whether the house is spotless or not.

Remember that a house that cleans itself is one that's clean enough.


Room-to-Room Sequence Cleaning

Do you get bogged down trying to get the whole house cleaned? Does the task seem daunting?

Page 200 from The House The Cleans Itself includes details on how to go through your house cleaning using the Room-to-Room Sequence Cleaning process. I'm going to share some highlights with you here and please note - this process is used when you have more than one person involved and is a great way to help children feel part of a team yet individually important.

Each person is assigned several primary tasks:
1. Dad - neatener, high duster
2. Mom- wiper, disinfectant sprayer
3. Teen A - vacuumer, low duster
4. Teen B - mopper, finisher

Start cleaning:
Dad will go to the first room and straighten up any messes, put things that belong elsewhere in a big basket for redistribution and dust the high items. He calls "Done" and moves to the next room to do the same tasks.

Meanwhile Mom moves into the first room and wipes up any messes and cleans. Once she has finished her tasks she calls "Done" and moves to the next room which has been straightened up and is ready for her.

Teen A enters the first room to vacuum and dust the lower items. When done she calls "Done."

Teen B enters the first room and mops if appropriate and finishes the room by putting everything back into place (furniture may have been moved to make way for vacuuming and such tasks).

You get the picture. This way everyone keeps moving from room to room with the supplies he or she needs. As you use this process you may find that someone gets backed up waiting for the previous person to finish a room. If this happens, you can add a task for them in their list of things to do.

Stay tuned for some more interesting cleaning tips!