Monday, September 5, 2011

Don't Let Your Labors Take Too Long

I read once that extreme perfectionists tend not to clean very often. The reason is, if they feel like they can't do an immaculate job right then, they'd rather not do the job at all. So routine tasks are put off indefinitely and the deep cleaning rarely gets done either, because when in life is there ever that much time available?

Recently, I observed this in action in someone's life whom I know well. Cleaning a bathroom should not take two days. I would argue it should not even take two hours (unless it is in particularly bad shape with excessive clutter to clear away first). But if one stretches the job to make it take a massive amount of time, it's no wonder one will burnout and not want to clean regularly (as in a fairly quick, weekly tune-up).

Our mothers and grandmothers reserved deep cleaning tasks for fall and spring. There is a reason for this. Deep cleaning like that cannot reasonably be done every week. Cleaning any room (or the entire house) top-to-bottom twice a year is still a pretty big undertaking.  That's why it was limited to twice a year.

This Labor Day, I encourage you to limit your labors. It is more important to clean kitchen counters, floors, and bathrooms regularly (even if it is not perfectly thorough) than to spend hours scrubbing every nook and cranny. Reserve those not-so-urgent or obvious tasks for once-a-month deep cleaning days or fall or spring cleaning. That way, at least the routine stuff will still be accomplished and the house will be relatively neat and tidy. It doesn't have to be perfect, just sanitary and presentable.

Related post: The Disastrous Pairing of Disorganization and Perfectionism


  1. I love deep cleaning and become quiet frustrated when I get interrupted, but since I am a mum, like all mums, you learn to work thru them as best you can...a little here, a little there.

    My husband however suffers from the symptoms you described and it is hard to get him started on anything...His work shop is a disaster because he does not see the point in starting to organize it if he does not have time to finish it that day...As you can imagine this causes a little friction.

    Hope you are doing well and settling the family into a new working routine with the baby.

    Blessings Kelsie

  2. I love this. Flylady is my solution to perfectionism. I am enjoying discovering your blog!