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You can stay on top of your housework…even if you are a binge-cleaner.
You might just be a binge-cleaner if you:
- have a messy house more often then a clean one
- have a very clean house, when it is clean
- get distracted by small, in-depth projects when you are simply trying to pick up
- get easily discouraged by a few out-of-place things
- think “there’s already a few things on the coffee table so one more thing won’t hurt”
- get sudden and deep urges to clean and organize something or everything
- find your house going through cycles of super clean and super messy
- clean when you just can’t stand it anymore
How do I know these signs, you ask? Because I, myself, am a total binge-cleaner!
This leads to vicious cycles of cleaning and not cleaning.
For example, when family is coming over for a holiday, I go into a crazy cleaning frenzy. And the house looks great!
I vow to myself that it will stay that way this time.
Then, within a week or two after my family has left, it’s back to a crazy mess.
It starts with a few misplaced objects. When I see those misplaced objects, I think “What does it matter if there’s one more misplaced object?”
And so the mess grows. Almost overnight, it reaches a place where there are a lot of misplaced objects. And now my thoughts change to: “Now there’s a big mess! Forget it, I can’t keep things clean.” So I give up and the mess grows exponentially.
A few weeks later I get a deep urge to clean. And so it begins again. The vicious cycle.
Trust me, I know how discouraging this cycle can be.
It can be very disheartening to see your house go back to the messy state it was in just the week before, over and over again.
It can feel like nothing you do helps or matters.
And what makes it worse is that there’s no one else to blame but yourself! (Sure, my husband and son are in the house too, but I know my binge-cleaning syndrome sets the tone.)
So what can be done? Are there really things that can break the cycle?
As a recovering binge-cleaner, I’m here to tell you there are!
Here are four strategies that have helped me stay on top of housework despite my binge-cleaning tendencies:
Get Your Binge Out
One strategy that really helps me is to use my binge-cleaning urge to my advantage.
Make one of the first things that you do in the morning a “quick binge clean up.”
After I have said my morning prayers, eaten breakfast, done some tummy time with Little E, and put him down for his morning nap, I do a quick clean up.
This morning “quick binge” involves putting away anything and everything that is out of place. The first couple times I did this it was a bit time consuming – about 30 minutes.
But as this became a habit, it only took about 15 minutes, because not too many things were out of place!
Doing this quick in-depth clean up in the morning can help you be successful throughout the rest of the day. It will give you the much-needed momentum for a productive day.
One of the pitfalls of binge-cleaners is that they are easily discouraged by messes, causing them to give up.
If I start the day off with a clean kitchen counter, I am much more likely to put the peanut butter I used for lunch back in the pantry rather than leaving it on the counter.
A bonus effect of this strategy is the energy it will give you throughout your day!
When I start the day with a clean house, I feel physically, spiritually, and mentally healthier. It sets a tone of order and neatness for my entire day.
Have A Plan
When researching keys to being successful at just about anything, you are almost sure to see the word “plan.”
Housework is no different.
When we have a plan – whether a plan for Bible study, a plan for exercising, or a plan when it comes to housework – we are much more likely to be successful!
Plans help us succeed by allowing us to visualize where we are going and laying out the steps we need to take to get there. For us binge-cleaners, they also help us stay on track!
In our house, we use a Daily Chore Chart.
This isn’t your typical chore chart that divies up who is doing what chore. (I’m sure we will get to that point when Little E is older and can start helping out around the house.) This is just a chart of what chores need to get done on which day.
Here is what our chore chart looks like:
Using this Daily Chore Chart helps us to make sure that things like laundry, vacuuming, and taking the trash out get done on a regular basis.
We put our chart inside a picture frame so we can use an expo marker to check chores off when they have been done. It is an important part of our Family Headquarters. (Don’t have a Family Headquarters? Learn how to make one!)
Another way this chart is super helpful is that it helps me keep track of things that haven’t gotten done yet. For example, last Tuesday was super busy, so we didn’t get to sweeping the kitchen and hallway. So when I had a bit of extra time on Friday, I looked at our chart and saw that chore still needed to be done.
It took me a while to make our chore chart and get it all set up. So to help you out on your journey to overcoming your binge-cleaning habits, I made this FREEBIE just for you!
Daily Musts Before Distractions
This is SO important, especially if you are like me.
I am very easily distracted (Which reminds me of this one time….I was driving with my husband and we were having a conversation about how sometimes my ADHD makes him feel like I’m not listening to him, and then in the middle of him talking I was like, “Oh my gosh! There’s a guy with a handlebar mustache driving a pink Corvette!” Which I know. Really bad timing. But I mean, how often do you see that?!).
My distractibility is very evident in our housework. It’s not like I get distracted from cleaning and start watching TV or reading a book. It’s that I get distracted from cleaning what I started cleaning, and start a BIG project.
This time a month ago comes to mind. I started out with the goal of picking up our bedroom floor and doing laundry. I ended up totally reorganizing the bookcase in our room.
Which isn’t a bad thing…I mean, our bookcase looked great! But that pile of laundry was still there, and by that time I was too tired to even try and tackle it. So it remained.
You see the problem?
In order to combat this, I have to make a point of doing my daily chores (as planned out on our Daily Chore Chart) before I dive into any other housework projects.
Once I have finished those daily musts, I can allow myself to start a bigger and more in-depth project if I would like to.
Pick Up As You Go Along
This is one of those moments when you hear your parents in your mind and you think, “Wow. That was actually really wise advice. Thanks Mom and Dad!”
If your kids aren’t thanking you yet, be patient. One day – later for some kids than others – usually around when they become parents, they will finally realize that you actually had some good stuff to say. 😉
“Pick up after yourself,” was definitely one of those good pieces of wisdom our parents shared with us.
This stops the vicious binge-cleaning cycle dead in its tracks!
Remember what I said in the introduction? When I see a mess starting to grow, I get discouraged and don’t even try to pick it up.
But if I can nip the mess in the bud right when it’s first made….problem solved!
Now, this was (and still is) a hard battle for me. I know it can be so very tempting to think “I’ll pick it up later when I go into the kitchen the next time,” or “I’ll clean it up before I go to bed.”
But I also know how very few times I actually do pick it up later.
It is much more effective to pick the mess up now.
Another good technique is to pick up anything that is going where you are going.
Headed to the kitchen? Grab that empty glass and take it with you!
Picking up as you go is a really easy strategy to stop huge messes in their tracks!
Hopefully, these four strategies have you feeling more equipped and empowered to tackle your housework! I know that they have done wonders for me.
Print out your Daily Chore Chart FREEBIE, and get on top of those chores! I know you can do an amazing job of it!
You will find, as I have, that your entire family feels much more motivated, calm, and happy when they are in a clean and neat environment.
Have some more tips on housework as a binge-cleaner? I know I could always use more help! Leave them below in a comment.
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