Do you love life and want to do All The Things? Now? Do you then get overwhelmed by basic adulting self care like cooking for yourself? Me too! This week, I’m sharing the cleaning and gardening schedules that are revolutionising my LIFE…
A few months ago, I decided to create a cleaning schedule for myself.
I hate being told what to do (even by myself) so this was huge.
I was googling ‘cleaning schedules’ then arguing with what I was reading because it felt so bossy. Some of it came from the women’s glossies. Others, from men’s online mags (because I figured many men are engineers at heart and I could learn from their streamlined but still effective enough approach. Instead, I felt shame that they were being encouraged to clean more than I was prepared to do on a regular basis).
And yet it made so much sense.
I live alone but spend far too much time feeling badly about all the basic self care things (cleaning windows, weeding etc) that I’m behind on. After diving my home into 7 (for the days of the week), I dug out some old research around the energetic properties of each day of the week so I could maximise each area and each day’s potential.
And then, just as I divided my working week a year or so ago simplifying my life enormously, I scheduled each room and outdoor area in my diary instead of trying to do all the things all the time.
I’ve noticed a huge difference. I felt relaxed enough to unexpectedly host a relative for a few days and a friend the following week. A couple months on, it’s been phenomenal.
One day, I took on World HQ (my teeny tiny home office). The next day, the hallway got a deep clean and I reorganised all the shoes, jackets and bags etc.
The living room on Tuesday was far simpler. Quick tidy, sorting the hot press a little and removing dead flowers so the remaining live ones looked happier.
Wednesday, the kitchen and sorting out the long life food so freshest is at the back and I do a proper stock take and start EATING some of those pulses and wholefoods like a Proper Vegan.
Kitchen days are also batch cooking days – making soups, smoothies, oatmilk shakes, banana bread etc. And simply being based in this part of the house while sorting the press (I’ve been living in my new home country since 2019 and still say cupboard before translating for myself) makes it easier to even consider.
Thursday will be WHQ again where I’ll sort some paperwork and do a quick tidy.
Friday, change the bedding, tidy the bedroom and put any residual clean laundry away.
Saturday, bathroom clean.
Sunday, guest room/dining room – it’ll take a while at first as the attic has been out of commission on account of bats, birds and woodworm. I have things like the Christmas and Hallowe’en decorations as well as DIY stuff, paint, garden etc…
Being organised is something I’ve always prided myself on
I used to go into people’s homes and help them, professionally.
But since moving three times in five months back in 2019 (with just 9 days between deciding on a moving date and moving ON that date for the big UK to Ireland move), I’ve NEVER felt completely on top of things and this is strange as I live alone. I don’t have 8 kids running in and out. It’s just me.
In my defence, I’ve spent most of my life in Very Small Spaces. I lived in studios (in Cardiff then London) for YEARS, was back in my childhood bedroom at my parents for a while back in Essex before feeling like my first own flat (second bedroom being a bit of a euphemism as even a single bed would have been tight) felt like such a mansion I painted the living room dark blue so it didn’t feel too cavernous.
This is my first ever HOUSE. And I not only have my first garden but an entire field.
Realising that simplifying and doing just one bit at a time not only has seen greater progress than I’ve made in ages but also feels extremely sustainable.
As with the house, I divided the outdoor space so know to tackle one area each day. Even 15 minutes of weeding makes a difference. I have the area directly outside the house (patio, coldframe, outside windows etc), the lawn is divided into lavender side and rose side, there’s the driveway, the back yard and the top of the field and the bottom of the field. Knowing that I just need to focus on a much smaller area and simply do what feels doable on any given day is magic.
There are obviously days where I do nothing in the house or garden beyond basic washing up but I have so much more energy simply not trying to do All The Things every day any more.
A note about ADHD
A few people – and a brain scan* – have suggested I might have ADHD. I’ve not been diagnosed but I routinely have 60 books on the go. I’d previously be organising 4 rooms at a time. I’m currently working on three new book projects (but thanks to a writing group that DEMANDED focus, drafted 32000 words in since June on ONE of them). I wear several hats for work. And I routinely feel floored by the most basic of tasks. Learning to focus more is liberating. I don’t know whether I do or not but because people keep suggesting I am, am acknowledging the possibility here while also recognising that if I do have ADHD, I don’t think it’s as bad for me as it is for a lot of people and my intention in mentioning this is certainly not to minimise others’ struggles with it.
How do you stay on top of the boring self care tasks that mean you live in a nice home and not chaos?
How might you divide your home and any other areas you struggle with?
I hope the compassion and admiration and love you potentially feel for this puppy will help you redirect some of that same patience and support to yourself
And if you want to let me know about a time you used your senses to help you change direction in any area of your life, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
And feel free to share this post on your social media etc so others who may find it helpful can read it.
*the scan in 2013 revealed that I had a brain (woo hoo!) and that the only abnormality that showed up correlated with ADHD. Back then, I gave it no thought but increasingly, and with perimenopause, well – quite a few people have suggested it but am aware that whether I have it or not, am in a very fortunate position with work whereas many have more noticeably struggled their entire lives.