Ah, the mundane tasks of everyday life, the chores and domestic duties that never seem to end but always repeat: housecleaning. The experience of cleaning our homes should fill us with pride and gratitude for the many material blessings that we have the privilege of cleaning. You have dishes to wash, clothes to iron, carpets to vacuum and floors to sweep – aren’t you lucky? During the course of a life, most things change: jobs, homes, friends, lovers, careers, political persuasions… but what will always be there? Dirty dishes.
However, trying to appreciate the positives of housework can be difficult when you’re on your knees unclogging the bathtub drain or wiping the gunk out from under your fridge. All too often, the endless cycle of repetitive cleaning tasks brings on a feeling of wasted hours – meaningless work to finish as quickly as possible. If you can’t tap into the higher philosophical reasons to appreciate cleaning, there are ways to make it more fun and enjoyable. Really. Try the following tips to cruise through your chores and liven up your cleaning time a little.
1. Buy pretty and colorful cleaning gear. Spending extra money on bright pink plastic gloves and a fancy, frilly purple apron with green ruffles may seem like an unnecessary expense – until you find yourself giggling as you put them on in anticipation of doing the dishes. Treat yourself to a cheerful cleaning outfit to give your mood a boost.
2. Try out a new look. You know those makeup samples you’ve wanted to try out – in private? Break out the new eye shadow and lipstick before you clean. Put your hair up in braids or in Princess Leia buns. There’s no commitment, because you’ll probably hop in the shower once you’ve finished cleaning, and every time you glimpse yourself in the mirror with purple eyelids and orange lips, you’ll smile – maybe even laugh.
3. Crank the tunes. Before you start scrubbing, turn on some upbeat, funky music that makes you want to shake it. Whether its some throbbing dance music, '90s gangsta rap or throwback disco favorites, blast some fun booty-shaking beats and you may just find yourself dancing as you sweep and mop.
4. Break it up. If you are cleaning your whole house, plan for a short break after you finish each room – spend 10 minutes looking at silly cat videos online, read a few pages of a juicy novel or watch a bit of Comedy Central. Don’t make the break too long, or you might not get back up. Set a timer and relish your little breaks.
5. Make it a game. If you aren’t in for long haul cleaning and just need to pick up a small area, set a timer for 15 minutes and see just how much you can get done in the short amount of time. You might be surprised!
6. Sticker chart. Remember how much you loved getting stickers for achievement as a child? Create a cleaning sticker chart to keep track of your rotating tasks, and watch yourself go above and beyond to get the extra stickers for housework. It sounds silly and it is – but you probably need a laugh anyway, right?
7. Call a friend. Some housework, such as folding laundry and dusting, are quiet activities that don’t take much brain or body power. Use this time to chat up an old friend on the phone. Invest in a headset, and you can make a call even when both hands are busy.
8. Plan for a treat. The finished product of a clean, sparkling house is a fabulous feeling in itself, but if you plan to indulge in an additional treat once you’re done for the day, you’ll train your brain to better appreciate the cleaning process for the rewards that come after. Enjoy a pistachio ice cream cone, sit back with a glass of wine and your favorite magazine, or order dinner in and dine in your fresh clean abode.
Image: A is for Angie