The Cleaning Diary

Cleaning is perhaps one of the most boring tasks out there. However, as I now finally have a break from work, I can begin this process. Tackling the mess that is my life – and the state of most of my rooms or items – I have created a small diary to help me. This tracker, which I’m going to call the Cleaning Diary, was designed quickly to help me try and figure out my life. The mess has accumulated over the months, becoming a little overwhelming to even think about. It isn’t dirty, per se.

But rather than cleaning, I took the approach of “stuffing everything into a cupboard so you don’t have to look or deal with it”. This means I have bags, cupboards, drawers or boxes full of miscellaneous items. Paperwork is unsorted and everywhere. However, there is a break ahead of me, which is a good time to start tackling some of that mess.

In these piles of everything, I have lost some items that I now require or want and simply cannot find. I can only assume that it is somewhere, in the mess of everything but I won’t know until I get through it all. These piles of everything are horrible to think about. The idea of cleaning my room stresses me out. Thinking about cleaning multiple rooms is just too much. And yet, I kind of need to. There’s so much that I need to find or sort out.

This Cleaning Diary is simple but there are two ways of doing it.

The first way – the to do list:

The first is that you write down every location that needs to be cleaned. Then, start from the top and just check your way through them. You can split this by room. However, in my case, it’s better to split it by cupboard/box. So the checklist for me would be like:

  • Bedside table
  • Under the bed
  • Shelves
  • Stationery Cupboard
  • Stationery Drawers
  • Wardrobe
  • Make up

And so forth. The list can easily become quite long but if you tackle a little at a time, it is possible to do it all. This way can definitely be a bit more overwhelming, however. Seeing all of the areas, no matter how small, can sometimes be too much. It depends on the person. I usually prefer this way, as it allows me to break things down into small manageable chucks and I can see that some will only take me 5-10 minutes to sort out. So seeing it all feels manageable, usually. But right now, in my state of ‘hide everything till it goes away’ mindset, seeing a huge list like that can be rather overwhelming. I am now trialling the second approach.

The second way – the done list:

I have a page where I list everything that I want to find. These are items that I know I have but seem to have lost in the huge piles of everything. This page isn’t necessary but these tend to be things that will irk me till I find them – and the idea of forgetting about them again worries me more. So I write them down, in an attempt to make some sort of sense of everything.

Then for the rest of the pages, I will title the page with a room. And then every day, I go into one of these rooms and tackle a certain part of it. It could be that one box that’s been under the bed for months and you can’t really remember what’s in it or that make up cupboard that might have old products that have dried up and need chucking out. I start with one small area – like a drawer – and continue for as long as I can. Then I write down those areas that I’ve completed onto my notebook.

This notebook now gets filled with things you’ve completed. It becomes a list of accomplishments, rather than a daunting to do list. The first way is great for planning and you can also see what you’ve completed by crossing them off. However, the second way works wonders in making you feel better about what you’ve achieved.

Do what works for you.

The cleaning diary that I am using follows the latter. I am currently doing the second approach because I felt completely overwhelmed by the massive piles of everything. My to do list was already long – without adding cleaning to it – and just thinking about it stressed me out. I cut out a lot of unnecessary things, stripping it down to the essentials and to the fun tasks.

The ‘done’ approach has helped me to see what I have already cleaned, keep a track on what is missing from the list and helped me to stay a bit more organised. In one day, I managed to find a bunch of items that I thought I had lost. It has really helped me – in both actually cleaning, as well as being better for my wellbeing – so I thought I would share these approaches with you. Hopefully one of them will work for you!

Either way, it’s also a good chance to use up one of those blank notebooks or notepads you have lying around! Let me know if the cleaning diary method works for you!

This blog post is part of my blogmas posts. You can find the others here.

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