Friday, July 2, 2010

How I Learned to Clean My Expat House

I have always admired people with pristine houses. You know, those people whose homes have hairless floors, sparkly appliances, and gleaming fresh bathrooms. How do they do it?

Incidentally, lots of Japanese homes are like that...

I have always despised cleaning. I'm not good at it. What's more, I easily get overwhelmed by it.

Can you relate?

I can never really understand how other people manage. In my mind, there are finite hours in the day and an array of modalities (grocery shopping, laundry, exercise, reading, Internet time) that we have to juggle. Cleaning is usually last in my list of priorities.

Recently, I vowed that I have to make better use of my expat free time in Okinawa. When else in my life am I going to master the cleaning demon if not here while I'm childless and working part-time?

For the past two weeks, I've tested a cleaning strategy that is ACTUALLY working. My trick is to focus on different tasks each day.

Monday- organize clutter and throw things out day*
Tuesday- bathrooms
Wednesday- dusting
Thursday- kitchen
Friday- floors
Saturday- laundry and cars
Sunday- ironing, balcony, and windows

*throw things out day is my favorite- I get a huge burst of energy from getting rid of junk. Try it and you'll see what I mean.

Not only have I kept up, but I've already realized several benefits.

First off, it eases my anxiety to know that each task has an assigned day. There's no more depressing 8 hour cleaning tirades in which I have to do every thing. Also ordinarily before when I noticed a dusty table or whatever, I felt a spasm of stress to the effect of "okay, when am I gonna do that?" Now, I just calmly remind myself of dusting day and I know it will get done.

Next, things get cleaned more regularly so they don't get as dirty or take long to maintain... enough said

Finally, it provides much needed structure on some days when I'm feeling expat wayward.

Are you one of those people who actually likes to clean? Got any cleaning tips that work for you?


Chris and Amy said...

I'm definitely not a cleaner. I like things organized, but cleaning - blah. I agree with your Mondays - I love throwing things out. Are we considered expats if our husbands are active duty? It has a good ring to it. :)

shopgirl said...

Italy sounds like a lot like Japan. But, I've learned the secret. Most of them have cleaning help. Hiring a cleaner is cheaper in Italy, so most women have one, except for the retired folk who have lots of time to clean.

I'm afraid I'm one of those that like a spotless home, except I'm terrible at cleaning dust. But, my secret is to maintain a bit everyday, so it doesn't feel like a bit chore at the end of the week. I always pick up after myself and clean up after I use the bathroom.

p.s. I like your strategy.

Have a fantastic 4th July weekend!


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