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Janine's office after 30 minutes of cleaning

Letting housecleaning be easy

I’m not ashamed to admit that I hate cleaning house. As a naturally messy person, I have a fairly high tolerance for disorder and so sometimes I let things get pretty bad before I clean. And then the whole time I’m cleaning I beat myself up about letting it get so bad and the whole experience is misery.

This is obviously less than desirable. This year I’m working on creating routines to make cleaning easier for me. I want cleaning to become something I Just do without really thinking about it, rather than a loathed task.

I have a saying pinned to my bulletin board over my desk that I first heard from Supercoach Michael Neill. It is “Why is it so hard to let it be easy?”  I really need to apply this to housecleaning.

So I came up with some ideas that I think will help me. They might also help you, if you’re looking to make housecleaning easier:

  • Do little stuff daily to keep things from getting out of hand. For example, I wipe down my bathroom sink, faucet and toilet every day so I don’t get disgusted or embarrassed by my bathroom. I also scoop the cat’s litter box so that task doesn’t become a disgusting burden. I need to incorporate more of these small things into my daily routine.
  • Pick a day of the week to do bigger stuff like vacuuming and dusting. Can’t do it all in one day? Do one zone (maybe a floor of your house) one week and another zone the next. This is a biggie for me.
  • By all means, delegate. If you have family members who aren’t pulling their weight, change that up. Perhaps your kids can do their own laundry. Or be responsible for loading and emptying the dishwasher. Maybe your spouse (like mine) can be in charge of cleaning the kitchen.
  • Lower your standards. If you have high standards for cleanliness, yet you lack the time to live up to them, stop beating yourself up. Think about what the essentials are. Then make sure those get done. You can let the baseboards get dusty until you have more time to address them.
  • Bring someone in to help with the extras. Dusty baseboards getting you down? Windows need washing? If you can afford it, hire it out.
  • Entertain more often. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing like a houseguest, or even a dinner guest, to get me cleaning. Somehow, I resent it less because I have a real reason to do it. And it adds a little urgency to the matter.
  • Make it a game. Sometimes I’ll set my timer and see if I can get a room done in the allotted amount of time. Often for me that includes putting stuff away, since I have a natural tendency to leave stuff out. A few years ago, on my blog, I posted these pictures of my home office to show what can be done in a mere 30 minutes. I’m embarrassed by the before photo, but inspired by the after photo. And, truly, taking just a few minutes to vacuum made all the difference.

Janine's messy office
Janine's office after 30 minutes of cleaning

I’m convinced that a big part of what I need to do in order to make housecleaning easier is a change my attitude. I’m going to try some of the ideas above and, I hope, transform not only the way I clean my house, but also how I feel about it!

Janine will be teaching an online workshop, Simplify Your Life with Habits + Routines at The four-week workshop starts February 21, 2012 and runs through March 20. In addition to three lessons (delivered in written and audio formats) you’ll be able to interact with Janine and other workshop participants via the workshop online forum. It’s a great way to get guidance, accountability and support as you create good habits and routines to make your life simpler, while letting go of less beneficial ones!


Janine Adams is a messy professional organizer who loves helping others create order. The co-founder of Declutter Happy Hour, she believes in having as much fun as possible in the organizing process. Check out her web site at Peace of Mind Organizing!

Do you have a room or area in your home that needs organization help?

No worries – the Rubbermaid Professional Organizer Squad is here with expert advice! This group of professional organizers has seen and tackled it all. Simply enter your question, screen name and email to submit your question to them (any organizing question is welcome, no matter how simple or complicated!). We’ll answer and feature questions the squad can provide the best answers on. Don’t worry – we’ll email you if your question is selected!

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