My car is dirty, my fridge is cluttered with ingredients way past their prime, and we are getting our 35th consecutive day of rain, rain and more rain. Actually I think we had one day of nice fall weather last weekend but it was short-lived.
All this adds up to major depression. I didn’t eat breakfast this morning because making toast just seemed like too much work. I just went outback and sat watching the rain with a heavy heart. Suddenly, I heard a song bird in the tree singing his heart out. What could that darn bird have to sing about on a day like today?
The longer I listened, the more I felt he’d been sent to motivate me to clean up my act. I went back inside and put on some Motown tunes and began to pick up my house. I even paused to do some dance steps to the Supreme’s “Baby Love.” Suddenly, I didn’t care any more that it was raining. What a golden opportunity to stay in my PJs, clean out my fridge and closets and start fresh.
I learned some valuable lessons from that bird. No matter how rotten things are, you can make things better with a little music. I also vowed to adopt a new housekeeping policy:
Don’t procrastinate. When you have depression, it’s easy to shrug chores off and say you’ll do them later. Yesterday a group from my church wanted to go out for brunch, but we attended early services and needed a place to hang out for an hour before the brunch began.
They asked if they could come to my house for coffee. Oh Gee Whiz. I’d left the kitchen in a mess, newspapers were all over the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, and the bathrooms hadn’t been cleaned in a week. And one of my friends is an interior decorator who’d never been in my home. I was mortified.
I raced home to spit shine whatever I could before they got there. From now on I’m going to fight that urge to put off until later what needs doing now! You never know who might drop by. If you take care of things now, it will cut down on the time and effort needed to clean up after the fact. Wiping up a spill right after it occurs is a lot easier than scrubbing a hardened, crusty stain once it’s dried. Depression might make you feel sad or sluggish, but taking care of these little tasks can offer you a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Clean as you go. Sometimes keeping your house clean is as simple as not cluttering it up in the first place. Wash your dishes right after using them, rather than letting them sit in the sink, and store your tools once you’re finished with a project. By putting things away right after you’ve used them, you can prevent clutter from occurring in the first place — or from getting even worse.
Do Busy areas first. If you’re feeling particularly tired or depressed, focus on cleaning the rooms where your family and friends spend the most time. Vacuum well-traveled hallways or clean up clutter in the kitchen and living room. Spend your energy where it will do the most good.
Break it up. Devise a schedule so you’re only cleaning one or two rooms every day vs. having to clean an entire house, which can seem like an enormous and daunting task.