The All or Nothing Cleaner, Part 1

I've been discussing ADD lately, and one of the symptoms of an ADDer (or even just the domestically impaired) is the tendency to be an all-or-nothing cleaner. If this is a problem for you, you know what that's like: You'll walk past a dirty sock on the floor 10 times, but you don't pick it up as you go by because it's not "cleaning time" just then. I don't know about you, but that sure describes me! I hardly ever perform cleaning-related tasks unless I'm actively "cleaning" at the time. And if this issue makes no sense to you, consider yourself one of the lucky ones!

Anyway, there is a section in Chapter 20 of The House That Cleans Itself called Learning to Quick Clean, where I present a solution to this problem. In that chapter, I suggest that you literally time yourself as you perform various minor cleaning actions that must be done repeatedly (such as unloading the dishwasher or watering the plants). The goal is to record a list of such tasks and the time it takes to do them, then post this list in each room of your home in an inconspicuous place. Because this list shows how long it takes to do an action, having it handy will encourage you to make the best of quick moments around the house by cleaning even when it's not cleaning time. In other words, this list helps you perform quick cleaning tasks in stolen moments, even though that probably goes against your personality and your cleaning style.

For example, if you're in the kitchen and have four and a half minutes until the microwave beeps, you can open the cabinet door to read your list, check the list of actions and times for kitchen chores, and see that it takes you exactly four minutes to unload the dishwasher. You get right to work and thus by the time your TV dinner is done your dishwasher is empty!

Come back next week for more about using Task/Time Lists to your advantage.

1 comment:

  1. Ohhh I do tend to be an all or nothing cleaner and have that type of personality as well in many areas....hmmm good insights.