How to Clean Your Way to Happiness

Cleaning your house can be really boring but it is also one of the most satisfying tasks you can do. Not only does it make your living spaces beautiful, but it also makes you feel good to know that you are taking care of yourself!  Rather than feeling like you're just barely keeping your head above water, no matter how much you do, here are some tips on how to get the job done without getting overwhelmed. Ultimately, cleaning and decluttering your house will lead to a sense of accomplishment, relaxation, and happiness.

 

  1. Start Small

Keep your lists short. There is nothing more intimidating than a list that stretches to infinity.  Divide your list according to the urgency of the tasks: must and should. Prioritize items you must complete and create a separate list for those you feel you should do if you have time or are on a roll.

If you feel overwhelmed, start with a task that has a big impact. Cleaning the counters is an easy way to make your kitchen look and feel fresh again. The act of cleaning can bring peace in many different ways, so don't be afraid to take it one step at a time.  Do not rush the process.

 

  1. Break down your chores into smaller, doable tasks and complete them.

Break your tasks down into specific items like "vacuum the carpet," or "make the bed" so you can tick them off as soon as they are done. The feeling of accomplishment can be a great motivator when you're cleaning.  It might seem counter-intuitive to say, but completing small chores throughout the day can create a sense of satisfaction that will outweigh any happiness you get from cleaning your entire home. 

 

  1. Start with a room that has less traffic.

You can't complete a whole house makeover on your one day off so be realistic about what you can achieve.  Sometimes it works best to begin with a room that has less traffic so that the visible effect lasts longer.  There is nothing more demoralizing than spending hours making the kitchen shine when one evening's meal preparation sends the room back to square one.

 

  1. Little and often

 

Try to attack a different large chore every day, and build a weekly list of key areas.  You might like to tackle a different room each day or think by task and dust everywhere one day while vacuuming the next.  Set a timer for your chore and stick to it.  If you don't get everything done, remember you will be coming back to this task in only seven days.  Next time, you can make sure you start with anything you missed.

Keeping to this routine means you will dramatically reduce the time you spend on housework and still feel confident that the whole house will be regularly cleaned. Before you know it, you'll find you are keeping on top of tasks that you always found daunting and would put off until you had some time off work.  This way, you can spend your time off doing more of the things you enjoy.

 

  1. Build up a Routine

Make it your routine to tackle tasks throughout your day. If you wake up just half an hour earlier every day, that time can be put to good use with a good cup of coffee. Select two or three things that you know you have to do to feel in control, and tick these off before you begin the rest of your day.

For example, put on a load of washing, make the bed, wipe over the bathroom or sweep the main traffic areas like the kitchen and hallway. Starting the day with this energy makes you feel empowered for everything else you have to face; it puts you in a positive frame of mind that makes everything seem so much easier. You'll find you have more motivation and end up getting far more done than you ever imagined possible.

 

  1. Make It Special

Firstly, there is nothing more satisfying than ticking off completed tasks on a list, and keeping a checklist of your chores is one guaranteed way to trigger those happy hormones.  Make the experience a pleasure by choosing a beautiful book to write down your tasks or find some with pre-made checklists online. Most women remember loving stationery and colorful pens as children: reconnect with that excited little girl by bringing a little special into your day.

 

  1. Clean with purpose and intention

Once you have made a list of what needs to be done, go through the entire house with that intention. When cleaning your home, focus on one task at a time and do it well before moving on to something else. 

Doing household chores can get boring. Remember to think about why you're doing them in the first place. When you are cleaning, do it with the intent of making your home a better place to live in.

If you're feeling angry when cleaning, take some time away from the situation. Staying calm while cleaning can make your job less frustrating and keep you from acting out in other areas of life.

 

 

  1. Be mindful when cleaning, instead of focusing on what you would rather be doing

A slower, more mindful style of cleaning can help you change your perspective on chores.   This old Zen saying comes to mind: "The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.

Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh explained it perfectly in one of his articles:  "If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have dessert or a cup of tea, I will be equally incapable of enjoying my dessert or my tea when I finally have them. With the fork in my hand, I will be thinking about what to do next, and the texture and the flavor of the dessert, together with the pleasure of eating it, will be lost.  I will be constantly dragged into the future, miss out on life altogether, and never able to live in the present moment. I must confess it takes me a bit longer to do the dishes, but I live fully in every moment, and I am happy. Washing the dishes is at the same time a means and an end. We do the dishes not only in order to have clean dishes, we also do the dishes just to do the dishes, to live fully in each moment while washing them, and to be truly in touch with life."

 

Cleaning can be a time-consuming, unappealing task but is also very important for your physical and mental well-being. You deserve to live in a clean space that makes you feel good every day!  In the end, it all boils down to your mindset. The key to making this process enjoyable for yourself is finding time each day (or week) just for you - even if it's 10 minutes a day.  In the meantime, take some deep breaths and find peace during every task because there’s no better feeling than being mindful while doing what needs done around your home!

 

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