Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Becky Smith’s Relatively Infallible Rules of Cleaning

Several of you, when commenting on various pictures I’ve posted in the past year, have said that you find our house to be quite neat and orderly.

Well, I guess I’d have to say that as a rule, our house does stay fairly neat.  Since I have a hard time functioning effectively in chaos, a semblance of neatness is a prerequisite for my happy state of mind.

However. That is not to say that at every moment of every day, every room is in perfect order.  Only in my dreams.

A case in point:


This is our home office in the wake of The Hurricane That Was Christmas which passed with a vengeance right through the middle of our home.   During that exceedingly busy season, I got to the (frantic) point where I was just flinging stuff left and right and then (because of my wild and wanton flinging) I was having to use precious seconds (and minutes) digging through the mess I had created in order to find the things I needed.  Not such a good plan.


And so a few days after all the Christmas excitement was over, I set aside an hour to try and put things back in order.  It really wasn’t too bad of a job once I got going and I also got to use a Becky Smith Moderately Infallible Rule of Cleaning (BSMIRC for short) which is this:  Never jump right into the middle of a mess.  Always start at one corner (or at one end) of the mess and work your way around the room.

It’s much less overwhelming to concentrate your energies on a teeny tiny area of disorder rather than a whole room full.  And after you concentrate on a foot or two at a time, over and over again, eventually you look up and the whole room is clean!

Amazing how that works!


And since I’m on the subject of cleaning, here’s one more thing that I firmly, forthwithly and also forthrightly believe.

Let’s say you have a house that is pretty much needing attention on all fronts.  (Like right after Christmas.  Like our house has been recently.)    My BSMIRC for this situation is this:  If you only have time to do a little bit of cleaning, start with an area that you’ll see as soon as you open your eyes in the morning.

I mean, think about it.  You can spend two hours out in the garage and get one corner of it sparklingly organized and looking like something out of a magazine.  But how does that lovely garage corner help you when you first open your eyes on Monday at 5:30 am?

Not so much.

However.  If you open your eyes one morning, glance over at your nightstand and see that it is clutter and dust free?  Well, that just sort of puts a spring in your step even before you get out of bed. (Which is actually sort of hard to have “springy steps” while still in bed but work with me here.)

And then let’s say you walk over to your sock drawer to start the process of getting dressed and you see socks that are happily paired and (basically) arranged neatly--why, that spring in said step gets even, um, spring-ier!  

I won’t beat the subject to death because I think you probably get the point. I’ll just sum it up by saying that if you happen to come across a chunk of twenty minutes that you can devote to cleaning (and of course, after the regular cleaning—dishes, garbage, laundry—is done), think about the five areas you see first thing in the morning and start working on those area.  You just can’t imagine what a boost it will give you as your morning gets going.

Now having said all of that, I must sadly, humbly and yes, even quite shame facedly admit to you that my own Personal Sock Drawer is currently in a state of the most hideous disarray.  In fact, yesterday when I was trying to get dressed in a hurry, I spent the better part of nineteen hours scrounging around trying to find two black socks that were (basically) the same thickness and style. 

And so I have actually (through this very blog post) inspired myself to work on my own Sock Drawer Chaos in the next fifteen minute chunk of free time I have. 

And that’s one more thing to mention as a BSMIRC.  Cleaning jobs don’t usually end up taking as long as we think they’re going to.  We tend to blow them way up in our heads and wail, “I’ll never get that sink scrubbed because I just don’t have the time.”

But if you think about it?  A good spate of sink scrubbing?  You could probably do it in three or four minutes.  (Unless of course, the sink happens to be in a house that has been shared by seven male college roommates for a year. In that case, you might want to pack a lunch.) 

And a sock drawer?  Most of us could whip even the most recalcitrant of sock drawers into shape in fifteen minutes.  Or less.

And then we could wake up the following morning and immediately experience a little Clean Sock Drawer Boost.  It’s free, it’s legal, it’s non fattening.

What’s not to love?

Comment Corner

Anonymous said, “After reading your post, I thought you'd like to hear about an experience I had a few days ago. We recently purchased a Nintendo Wii with the Wii Fit game. It comes with the little board and you can exercise on it. I was all excited and ready to go. To set up the program, it has to weigh you and take some little tests....then it proceeded to tell me I'm overweight and my little on-screen character got all pudgy! Talk about discouraging. This program was supposed to motivate me...not make me want to throw it out the window!!!!

After I got over the frustration and tried out a few of the games and exercises, I really did start to enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone with a Wii.”

How funny is that?  I can imagine that you would get a bit discouraged having a machine tell you you’re overweight.  I’m glad you persevered though and are enjoying the Wii.  I have heard so much about Wii fit and would love to try it; anything to make exercise more enjoyable is a great idea.

Good luck on getting into shape. Sounds like you’re doing well!

Stefanie said, “When it comes to f-stops, this is what I've always "chanted" to myself as I set up my camera for a shot:   "The bigger the number, the smaller the opening" - it helps! Or at least - it helps me.”

Stefanie, I shall have to try that.   It sure can’t hurt! :-)     (And thanks again to you and Mike for all the great advice you’ve given over the past couple of months.)

Trine said,  “One thing I always have been wondering about Becky, what is the thing which make a bone marrow transplant so dangerous? I remember reading some of the old posts from that time in 2003 and one of then said that before you went to Duke for Sarah to have the transplant then you had been thinking about if she(Sarah) would survive.  But I still do not understand what it makes so risky?”
Trine, always good to hear from you!   That’s a great question. I’m going to go ahead and move the question over to Sarah’s Spot and answer it there in the next couple of days since it will tie in so well with the recent transplant emphasis over there.
I’ll close with a few more views from my Official Outdoors Photo Shoot the other day.  I’m  having so much fun with my new camera!

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4 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Ericka said...

Becky, holy cow. Start an Etsy shop and sell your photographs or find a little local shop who will sell some of your prints. Those photos of the pier in sunset are absolutely stunning. Truly.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ericka! The pier photos are beautiful!

Mt. Pleasant, PA

becky m said...

The wii fit is def a fun way, i have that and the ea active. i like the ea active a lot more though, it is more of a continous workout and you can even make your own workouts. i loved the kickboxing and punching a lot so i would make a short workout of just that.
we have a xbox and are thinking of getting the kinect cuase they have a zumba and i want to do it but too shy to go take the class. so this way i can do it by myself,lol

Alyssa said...

Hi Becky, prayer request. As you know my godson Tommy Bennett was at Duke when Sarah was. I befriended a family who's children have the same disease as Tom (MPS IIIA). I quickly became best friends with the mother, as we were the same age and very much alike, and her kids....well they became a huge part of my life. They decided to transplant their youngest Aiden in June of 09 at Duke. Being familiar with the process I was there pretty much everyday and walked them through. Needless to say he became like a little brother to me. He had a lot of post transplant complications, but was doing really really well....Sunday night (Jan 9th) he was at home, watching a movie with his parents and fell asleep on his mom's arm....and his heart stopped beating. He was only 2 1/2. Please pray for the Lopez family and a little bit for me....our hearts are breaking. Aiden was a beautiful child with so much love in his heart. I know you have a wonderful following so please, if you can ask them to put his family in their prayers I would be very grateful...thank you.