I like to have a clean environment. It makes me feel happier or at least a little calmer, and I can think more clearly. I wish my place was sparkly clean all the time, but honestly, I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning. It takes time that I’d rather be using to do something else, as I'm sure you can empathize, but I know the act of cleaning is necessary to reap the benefits.
Because I tend to be process-oriented instead of product-oriented, I have begun to think about cleaning as a multi-sensory experience. There are quite a few little habits I have intentionally created that engage my senses and make my cleaning process a little more pleasant:
- Listen to good music – I turn on one of my favorite Pandora stations, and that automatically helps me both relax and stay energized even though I know I’m in for a few hours of work.
|Product image courtesy of TheNester.com.|
- Use products you enjoy – I like to use products that are relatively eco-friendly and have scents that are not overpowering. Mrs.Meyer’s Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner in basil scent is probably my favorite product to use. It literally says on the bottle, “The cool crisp scent of BASIL is said to revive the senses, clear the head and CALM the nerves. Imagine. All that from a simple herb – and a SPARKLING clean house too!” I never noticed the bottle had that cheeky little description until I wrote this post, but yes, that pretty much sums it up! Mrs. Meyer’s products come in a slew of other pleasant aromas, and the soft-colored labels on the bottles create a muted rainbow in your cleaning cabinet, which I can appreciate. I also like to use the Better Life line of cleaning products, and I especially enjoy the clary sage scent. And bonus: Better Life is a local St. Louis business. Both of these products have a scent right after you spray them, but it doesn't linger long, which is good.
- Use fun towels and dishcloths – Plenty of dish towels have playful prints and sayings that make me smile. What’s on your towels doesn’t have ANY real effect on cleanliness, but appreciating the simple little things, like the words of pineapple wisdom pictured on the towel above, can make the experience just a tad more enjoyable. I’ve currently got my eye on some tea towels designed by Natterdoodle. Another product worth mentioning: Swedish dishcloths by Three Bluebirds. They are wonderfully absorbent and great for wiping down kitchen counters. Plus, they come in colorful graphics and patterns, and you can throw them in the washer OR the dishwasher when dirty.
|Product image courtesy of ThreeBluebirds.com.|
- Bake or slow cook – Especially in the winter, I like to put together some sort of soup or crockpot meal that can be cooking while I clean with minimal attention. Baking something is also a good option, but that usually means taking breaks from cleaning a little more often. Either way, I like the aroma slowing dispersing through my place, and when the work is finished, there’s something delicious to enjoy.
- Light a candle - I don’t always take the extra time to prepare food while cleaning. In the summer time, it usually seems too warm for that. In that case, I like to light a candle and have a soft summer scent spread through the rooms. Pacifica soy candles are usually my go-to, with my current favorite scent being Waikiki Pikake, which smells light and sweet. Used to make traditional flower necklaces in Hawaii, pikake flowers are small and white, but they’re named after the exotic beauty of peacocks. Why not daydream about an escape to paradise while cleaning?
- Hydrate – I take time to make a special drink to enjoy while cleaning. Usually it’s hot tea in the winter time, and in the summer time, I like a refreshing iced tea or sparkling water.
- Strategically order tasks - There are a few cleaning tasks I do enjoy because of their sensory appeal, and I strategically bribe myself with a relatively fun task after I complete a task that I tend to dread. For example, I like vacuuming because I like the crunching sound of dirt being sucked up; I save vacuuming the rugs for after I Swiffer and mop the hardwood floors. I also like cleaning my makeup brushes—swirling the plush brushes around in the palm of my hand with bubbling cleanser and warm water has an almost hypnotizing effect on me. I usually save this task for after scrubbing the whole bathroom.
- Buy flowers - I like to reward myself with fresh flowers once the place has been cleaned. It’s like tying a beautiful bow onto a carefully wrapped present.
- Bask in the clean – Not that it’s always possible, but I like to clean when I have time to unwind in my fresh environment after. I might take a nap, watch a movie, read a book, drink some wine, enjoy the meal that was cooking—nothing special, just relaxing. When I clean and have to go somewhere right afterward, I don’t feel quite as satisfied. Last month I cleaned on the first day of a 4-day weekend, and it was wonderful to be in a tidy space through the rest of the weekend.