She means business, folks!
As many of you know, my sister is in town for a couple of weeks. What you may not know is that she happens to be a tornado.
My sister arrived on Wednesday, and by Saturday the house was wrecked. We’d been too busy talking, making my brother watch Jurassic Park (he’s 23 and he’d never seen it!) and driving all over the land doing fun things together. I knew I’d have to get my home in order before Sunday or my husband would feel terrible trying to relax in a chaotic environment. I also knew that I’d put off the cleaning until the last possible minute because I’m somewhat allergic to cleaning.
But I had to get the house in order. In was already Saturday evening, so I went out to get the babes a movie so I could just focus on cleaning. When I got home, I walked into a tornado, a cleaning tornado.
Now mind you, I am like a butterfly. I flit around from thing to thing, getting something done here and then there, getting caught up in distraction and flowing along with the breeze. I take my time when I clean, or in other words, I’m slow (my sister couldn’t believe it took me 45 minutes to clean my girls bedroom).
I like to listen to music and look through the things I’m cleaning, ponder for a bit, remember I have to answer an email, think about that shirt I want to wash, and oh yea, I need to get a new one of those the next time I’m out. Wouldn’t the pillows be prettier if I arranged like them this, yes. Okay, now where was I? The dishes, right…
Writing this post is kind of how I clean. I’m already distracted and need to get back to the story at hand. Where was I?
Ah yes, my sister, the tornado.
So I come home, walk into the kitchen and see that it’s clean (first of all, let’s just take a pause here and say a little “hallelujah“ because I didn’t have to clean it.)
She’s in there whipping those pans into shape. “Wow, you’re fast” I say, “I’ve only been gone for 10 minutes”. She begins to clear the dining room table, scrub it clean, pick up trash, and tell my kids what they need to do to help – no movie until the house is clean. I’m just standing there, watching, and she says, “if you just work fast and get it done, then you’ll have time to do the things you want to do.”
Just like that, matter of fact.
Just do it. And do it fast.
Before I knew it, I was running around cleaning, and so were my children! We all became cleaning tornados and within 15 minutes the upstairs main spaces were clean.
How to Be a Cleaning Tornado
Give Yourself a Challenge and Do It in a Set Amount of Time
There is something about a challenge and a time limit that makes you focus and move. It is incredibly effective to go into cleaning mode and just do the work as fast as you can. One of the inspirations I have is from this 31 Days to Clean Mamas of Little Ones Facebook group. They give each other challenges and you have to do them within a set time frame. They hustle and do whatever they can in that 10 or 15 minutes span of time, and then they encourage one another and do proverbial high-fives before moving on with their day. Which brings me to this…
Don’t Clean Alone
The women in the group above live all over the U.S. and yet they clean together and encourage each other daily. They’ve been doing this for about a year now. These women have not only come up with a system (Task #1,2,3,4), but they jump on when they have the time and just ask, “anyone up for a challenge?” Within a few minutes someone else jumps on and they pick a task and go for it, together even though they are miles a part. I love it. Here are some of the quotes I’ve seen in the group:
“ I am SO THANKFUL to have ladies to work with today! I need to encouragement and motivation!”
“Ok lovely ladies! onto #1!!! WE can do this!!!”
“BREAK!! What did you get done so far?” “I got started on the kitchen and took a phone call from my doctor…. Second half will be stronger!” “I got all the dirty laundry moved to the laundry room, sorted, and a load started, and I exercised for 10 min!”
This reminds me, live cleaning on Wednesday! Stay tuned for details!
If I have to clean fast, I’v got to get focused. No music, no organizing, no emails, no nothing. Just hone in on the task at hand and go, go, go! I see my sister do this and it works wonders! Once I finish the task at hand, then I can listen to my music and slow clean or organize something else that doesn’t take priority.
Get the Babes Involved
It’s amazing what a child can do when there is a clear focus about attaining a goal together, quickly. I couldn’t believe all that my children got done as my sister was no-nonsense. They had no option but to clean, and so clean they did! I get too slack about making the children help me, I either move to slow myself which doesn’t motivate them, or I get upset that they are not cleaning fast enough…they get distracted so easily (hmmm…wonder where that comes from?)
Watching my sister, it helped me to realize that I just need to say, “okay loves, we’re a family, a team, and we’re going to get this done in this amount of time and then we can play.” I find that when I give my children specific, age-appropriate tasks, they do the work. It also helps if they know they have a reward when they’re done: they can play, go outside, watch a movie, get a treat, etc.
What are your best cleaning tips when it comes to getting the job done fast?
Mary Challenge: Practice focusing. Pick one verse and take about 10 minutes to focus on it alone. Let it roll through your mind, let it marinate, and ask God to speak to you through it. See if you can set it to memory by just meditating on it.
Martha Challenge: Give yourself a 15 minute challenge. Pick something that needs done in your house, perhaps just a main space clean, and set your time for 15 minutes and get all hyper-focused and get as much done in that time frame as you can. See if you can get your babes to help as well!
If you want to find a 31 Days to Clean Facebook group, look here.
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