In my last post I mentioned the organizing I’ve been up to in my kitchen. I am a fairly organized person anyway, so it rarely gets too out of control here. When it does it’s more of a paperwork thing than anything else. Usually. However, sometimes things do pile up. When that happens I’ve learned it’s best to tackle those piles one small step at a time. Baby steps.
It used to overwhelm me when we’d have parties or get-togethers and the counters would be overflowing with dirty dishes and spills and crumbs. I loved having friends gather here, but hated the clean up that followed.
A Simpler Approach
Sometime in the early 2000’s I discovered Flylady, an organization site. One of the first things she talks about is starting with a shiny sink. So simple. But what really grabbed me was the simplicity of her ideas: fifteen minute cleaning sessions; a daily swish and swipe of bathrooms; putting on shoes first thing to get going and keep moving (ok, I never really was diligent about that one…). But you get the idea. Again, baby steps…
I’ve written before about how when I set out to make a big meal or complicated dish I always begin by filling my sink with hot, sudsy water. This simple step allows me to wash up as I go, minimizing clean up later. It’s an easy thing that makes a huge impact.
I do something similar when I walk in and find an overly messy kitchen has [seemingly] popped up out of nowhere: I start small. I pick one area, one counter or small space, and I clean it. From there I move to the next spot. If it seems to be too much I tell myself to go one section at a time, taking a break between areas if needed. What I usually find is that the momentum of just starting in the first place keeps me going. Usually it seems way worse than it actually is. Often, just putting dishes in the dishwasher makes a big enough dent in the piles that it seems manageable.
It is said that attitude is everything. I don’t think I fully ‘got’ this concept until an experience I had hand-washing dishes several years ago. I used to dread washing dishes by hand. I’m not sure why, but somehow I had it in my head that it was a huge chore.
One day I found myself elbow-deep in sudsy water. We’d had friends over the night before, and I had several nice wine glasses which needed to be washed by hand. As I stood there carefully washing each glass, I found myself reminiscing about the previous evening…Smiling even! In that instant washing dishes switched over from a chore to an act of Love. I’m not sure how or why that association changed, but ever since I really don’t mind doing dishes. I actually find it meditative at times.
So what made it go from a chore to a joy? I guess that would have to be a change of attitude…a paradigm shift if you will.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with what needs to be done in your house (or office…or car, etc) just start small. Take baby steps. Pick one spot; clean it; organize it, then move on to the next space. I always make my bed (well, almost always). It instantly makes my bedroom feel cleaner and more organized. On days when the rest of my house seems to need extra Love, I begin with my bed. I come back to my room if I need a clear space to gather my thoughts.
What’s Your Spot?
Find your spot – your shiny sink if you will. That place you can return to when you need a clean space…breathing room. It could be your bed, a corner of your living room, a section of your kitchen…whatever. Begin with baby steps and you may be surprised with how far you will go!
9 thoughts on “Baby Steps: Small Acts…Big Results”
Excellent advice. It seems all the rushing turns everything into a chore. This a great reminder for me to enjoy all of the tasks at hand. It truly works.
I love, love, love your blog ! Sound insight, great advice and very encouraging ! Keep on writing, creating and sharing!
Thank you!! I’m so glad you are here, reading along. And the feeling is mutual…love reading about your adventures, too!! 🙂
That’s a good way to make cleaning not seem like a chore. I reorganized my kitchen counters a few weeks ago and low and behold, they have stayed organized. There may be hope for me yet! LOL
Yay!! I love waking up to clean counters and organized spaces. 🙂
Great Blog. I really enjoyed this.
This is great advice – the idea of just starting and making it a routine habit that you follow. Personally, I let things get to the point where it is a major cleaning effort when friends are coming over. Things look great at that point and I always vow that I will keep it like that. 4 months later, I am in the same vicious cycle because nothings changes.
I am going to try this!
By the way, one thing I like to do when I am cleaning… I like to play music that is upbeat and keeps me happy!
Thanks for sharing.
I so agree on the music! I can dance my way through clean up…make it a bit more fun and maybe even get a little exercise in the process. 🙂