When you live in a home with what seems like 37 other people, 38 of whom seem to be boys with all their male-ness, cleaning the bathroom is a different job than when, say, one or two born-organized people live in the home.
When you have chosen to stay at home and have your career consist primarily of being a homemaker, and have chosen to further expand your career by adding in educating your children at home, your home is in high demand from all the feet walking here and there, the refrigerator door getting a complete workout several times a day, appliances singing their tunes heartily most of the time, and the water running somewhere in the house as faithfully as the Mississippi. These conditions lead to what is known in professional circles as “what a mess.”
Of course one can delegate jobs to the youngsters. Of course one can create an environment where everyone cleans as they go. Er, I presume that is possible somewhere somehow. But, the fact remains, we humans do shed this and that on a regular basis, and the thises and thats have to be vacuumed, brushed, scrubbed, swished, sprayed, and obliterated.
Whatever the number of people in YOUR home, whatever your career, and whatever your Meyers-Briggs personality type, all those people in your home are going to shed thises and thats. Today we are going to look at the bathroom, but we will try to keep things refined and clear, as opposed to raunchy and sarcastic. Raunch and sarcasm do have a place in this world. Lord knows they have a place in the blogosphere. But they will not be the focus of our lesson today.
Maybe you walk into your bathroom and see detritus along the edges of the floor, spots on the mirror, globs of toothpaste in the sink, water spots on the faucet, grime under the anything and everything, and mysterious colorful things growing here and there. Let’s hope you don’t see it in this condition, but I confess that my previous cleaning frequency (once every mumble mumble) has at times (most times) led to such a view upon my ingress into the “washroom.” (N.B. As I searched for images for this post, I realized that what I have considered to be really heinous is actually very mild compared to some of what is out there. It’s not like I never cleaned! I just wasn’t accepting the frequency with which it needed to happen!)
First step to cleaning. Read this statement:
“[A]ct as though the following statement is true: Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me.
Before I read that statement, I would walk into the salle de bain and have three responses: 1. What a cruddy housekeeper I am. 2. Why are these people so messy? 3. What a cruddy cruddy housekeeper I am.
One day I walked into the bathroom with that statement fresh in my mind (having just read it in the fine book Zen and the Art of Happiness, by Chris Prentiss), and as my eyes raked over all the evidence of my cruddy housekeeping, I asked myself, “What if that’s true? What if the condition of this bathroom is the best possible thing that could happen to me right now?” Light bulb! Eureka! and “Hey-ho, sing hey-ho, unto the green holly” (from As You Like It).
Aha! If the condition of the bathroom is the best possible thing that could happen to me, then there are bigger fish to fry than whether I am a cruddy housekeeper! I could be! But, what say we focus on something else! Like making a difference in the condition of this room every time I come in here? And, suddenly, (at least in light of eternity), my bathroom was devoid of its heavy layer of depressing dirt.
Here’s how you can make the same thing happen in your own environment.
1. Read that statement. Be curious about whether it might be true.
2. Gather your important cleaning tools. Mine are purple rags from FlyLady , toothpicks, q-tips, and my eyes. I might also bring in a spray or two, but those are somewhat optional. (Except for the toilet, which does require a cleanser every time.)
That’s all you have to do. The trick is to do it every day. As you clean the room, it will get cleaner and cleaner. When you are no longer focusing only on getting rid of the visible, surface, this-bugs-me stuff, you will start to see more details that can be tackled, especially little crevices and hard-to-get-to spaces.
And that concludes our lesson for today.