The Cleaning Snowball

Lately I’ve been feeling like my house is such a disaster.  Like a dirt bomb went off and every surface is in need of a thorough scrubbing.  Or maybe it’s just bothering me more because I’ve been home to stare at it since we have been stuck inside during these cold months.  Either way, it’s driving me CRAZY.

It’s overwhelming because beyond the constant dusting and vacuuming, there’s the greasy cabinets, the stained window sills, and the sticky blinds.  Yeah, I don’t know how blinds get sticky either, but they are.  And I feel like I can never get it all done.

And since I can’t fork over the cash to have someone clean it for me, I guess I’m stuck with doing the work myself.

Add to that that I’m a lazy housekeeper.  And although I know that my house isn’t THAT bad, it is really difficult for me to get motivated (and stay motivated) to keep up with all the maintenance. 

So in an effort to get my house under control, I’ve implemented a system I call The Cleaning Snowball.

Very similar to Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball, The Cleaning Snowball starts off slow with small successes that motivate you to keep going until eventually, you have the increased resources to tackle the big jobs. 

So let’s say that you have ten rooms in your house.  Living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, a couple of bathrooms and a few bedrooms.  Which rooms get the most use?  In my house it’s the kitchen.  And it shows.  There’s always dishes leftover from some culinary project or another, items that don’t fit into the cabinets, plus it serves as a landing ground since this is the room we enter the house through.  I hate cleaning this room.  So I try to avoid it.*

It’s such a large job that I get exhausted after just washing the dishes and then have to go lay down and watch Hoarders for three hours.  Then I get up to cook yet another meal in said kitchen.  And then wash MORE dishes.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Without any progress ever being made, I struggle to stay motivated and the rest of the house falls apart.

Then one day I got the genius idea that I wasn’t going to clean the kitchen first.  I was going to start with the living room.  A room that we rarely use.  And because it’s not used much, it was the cleanest room in the house.

In 30 minutes, I was able to dust EVERY surface, clean the floors, and vacuum the rug.  And feel like I actually accomplished something.  Which in turn, motivated me to tackle another room.

I went from room to room in order of cleanest to dirtiest and was able to clean several rooms in just a short amount of time.

And the impact of having a larger portion of the house clean was much greater than that of an empty kitchen sink.

You may not be able to clean an entire house in an afternoon this way at first…  But with regular practice, you can get to the point where maybe it only takes you 10 minutes to wipe down a mostly clean bathroom, leaving you more time to focus on the grunge in the kid’s room.  Or those sticky blinds.

I’m sure I’ll never feel like my house is clean enough, but using this plan helps save my sanity.  That and wine.

*Fortunately for me, I have a wonderful husband that is willing to clean up after me as long as he’s getting fed well.  But that doesn’t usually include the “extra” stuff.  And it certainly doesn’t mean he will find homes for my millions of gadgets because he knows I go crazy if someone puts my stuff in the wrong place.

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5 Responses to The Cleaning Snowball

  1. I can soooo relate to this. I feel I’m picking stuff up all day long and it never looks like it! With little kids in the house it’s like one step forward, ten steps back. Something my mom used to do is set a timer for 15 mins and rush around picking stuff up as if someone is on their way over. It’s amazing how much you can get done in even 15 mins. But I agree…it’s a vicious cycle for sure! At least it builds strong immune systems in our kids!! :)

    • Jen says:

      I do a loose version of that before bed so at least I’m not stepping on play food in the morning. I guess even if it’s not “clean” at least it’s picked up… I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to do chores!

  2. Amy W says:

    Love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Great tips. Thanks for sharing! I just started spring cleaning this weekend, and totally got addicted, like the snowball effect.

  4. I totally understand that not really clean problem. It seems like if I stand too long in one place I find gunk on some surface. So frustrating.

    I like your system!