Eight months of kitchen remodel is quickly approaching - but the end is in sight! No, really. And it is hopefully coming this week! Also creeping up is a big family wedding with people flying in less than a week from today. So, while I am anxious to get the remodel done, I am also overwhelmed by the amount of disorder and mess that seven plus months of contractors have brought into my home - and the need to make it disappear before family members arrive in town and wedding host mode kicks in.
I think Frank Costanza on Seinfeld said it best:
As I attempt to wrap my head around cleaning this disaster up, while working around the guys and their finishing touches, a few quick tips to sources I have found helpful for keeping your tidy time focused and productive (use of all these methods may not have actually occurred...but they sound great!):
#1 - Keep to the task at hand
I tend to get distracted easily when cleaning out the house - I go to put something away and...ooh, shiny object. Call them squirrel moments, call them whatever, but they suck the life out of getting the job done. I took a meditation class in college once (for credit even!) and a method that was taught was that when the mind undoubtedly starts to wander, don't get caught up on it, just label the wandering as thinking, and go back to where you started. Great principle in the house, too - put it in the kitchen pile and go back to the job at hand. No need to go to the kitchen that exact moment and...ooh, warm cookies.
#2 - Don't sit on the sofa to sort
I find this to be the best way to not finish the task at hand. Sitting somewhere comfortably, likely with a smartphone, laptop and remote in easy reach is a sure fire way to not do what you intended to. When I am working on house projects, I intentionally seek out the more uncomfortable space - slab of cold concrete in the garage anyone? This seems to keep me focused on getting the job done quickly, so I can reward myself with comfy sofa after.
#3 - Keep hyper-focused on short tasks
Have you heard about the Pomodoro Technique? Available in many apps and other forms, they break down the big, several hour task into 25-minute bursts (or "pomodoros"), each with a pre-scheduled five-minute break in between. After you clear four pomodoros, a 15-minute break! It's like stickers on the reward calendar. Get through a few cycles and get through your day!
#4 - Purge as you clean
It's one thing to clean the house and it's one thing to purge. Both of which can be overwhelming tasks. Using #3 above, spend that short time to dust and toss in a specific small section. I found that getting rid of things, instead of just dusting them off and putting them back helps to give the cleaning a much bigger impact.
#5 - Game of Inches
As my good friend Nigel shares in his newest book "The Game of Inches" - find the gap. Instead of looking at the huge end goal, look at the small, in-between goals and the gap needed to accomplish them. I don't think he ever meant for this book to apply to house cleaning, but thanks, Nige!
#6 - Kinda KonMari
Does it spark joy? We've all heard about the KonMari Method by now (and for some reason you haven't, click here). In principle, I really love this idea. But in reality, I really love old stuff...so if an entire cabinet filled with rusty trinkets sparks joy, am I really accomplishing the decluttering task? Either way, I think there is something to glean from this method - even if only taking your special items off the shelf and bonding with them for a bit. Some serious #tidygoals to set, though.
I hope to have everything in ship-shape (or at least make it look like it is - even if there is a giant pile that gets stashed in the garage) by December 5. Putting that out there to make me accountable to someone greater than myself (ha!). In the mean time, SERENITY NOW!