In times of stress, our biggest challenges can grow to crystal clear awareness. Right after my father died, I become excruciatingly aware of one of my biggest challenges to keeping on top of all the tasks it takes to keep a house tidy: my tendency to not complete the cycle of a chore.
Having a home that stays tidy and orderly in a consistent manner is, in large part, due to two things: having less clutter to manage and having good habits. One such habit which has tremendous impact is committing to completing the cycle of chores.
Most household chores are actually a series of small tasks that build the whole.
See, there was this pile of clean laundry stacked on the washer. Well, it wasn’t always stacked on the washer. It was thrown over the couch to hang and fold while I watched TV. And maybe I watched some TV while it just sat there. Ever the optimist, I’d tidy up by putting it back in the laundry room to do the next day.
This stack migrated back and forth for several days. Until finally, I’d had enough with myself! I hung the shirts, folded all the shorts, and put them away.
- Laundry is a cycle of putting dirty clothes in the hamper, sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting clean clothes away. Not completing this particular cycle trips the whole thing up.
- Emptying the trash means putting a trash bag in the trash can. Making coffee isn’t complete until you dump the grounds in the trash. (See how valuable that trash bag is now?)
- Grocery shopping, which I honestly love to do, has a cycle as well. You begin with a grocery list, go to the store and choose your items, bring them home, and then put them away. Yet, how many times do I put the stuff that goes in the fridge away and do the non-refrigerated things later? More often than I’d like to admit thanks to the siren’s call of Facebook or going to put something away in another room and getting distracted.
And that’s the thing. We live in a very distracted society and I’m the first to admit that I’m not immune. Especially when I’m tired or stressed, it’s easier to fall prey to those distractions.
Yet, I know that if I commit to completing the cycle of chores, it creates a self-perpetuating condition of tidiness. That tidiness begets a cleaner home. The old adage ‘a stitch in time saves nine?’ The choice to complete the full cycle of a chore means that my home isn’t full of unfolded laundry and bags of groceries.
If you want to live a more peaceful, less cluttered life, then completing the full cycle means that when you go to tidy up or clean, it’s easier.
And let’s be honest here, it’s not just laundry and groceries. Making dinner starts with those groceries, right? And then proceeds to prepping the food, cooking the food, serving and eating the food. It continues right along to clearing the table and washing the dishes. Yes, this takes a few minutes when most likely you’re worn out. Yet, spending those minutes leaves you with an in-order room greeting you the next day, rather than a morning that begins with the sight of dirty dishes in the sink.
“Outer order contributes to inner calm”—Gretchin Rubin
I’m the first one to admit I have never been that always-organized person. I used to clean my house only because I didn’t want other people to think I’m a slob. But the truth is, I breathe easier in a space that’s clean and uncluttered. I’m kinder to my family; I think more clearly, I do better work.
Now, though, I know that a tidy and clean home isn’t about what others think of me, but how I show respect for myself. Committing to completing the cycle of tasks goes a long way for an environment that reminds me I love myself and my life.
The next time you leave a task partially done, remember that completing the cycle as a habit will go a long way towards a cleaner home. And a more pleasing environment for living a life you love.
Do you want to clear some clutter so that the habit of creating a cycle comes a bit easier?
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that you cannot welcome new things into your life if you don’t release some of the old stuff. You need to begin to purge things from your life.
Join me for 30 Days to Clarity: Clutter Busting Edition
2022 Course Dates:
- Before the Holidays: Beginning Sunday, October 23, 2022
(*Note: As of 2018, this course is lifetime access. That means, you’re IN at no additional cost anytime the class runs.)
Course Investment: $21.Purchase Clutter Busting Email Course