Are you emotionally attached to your own messy house or think “I can’t make myself clean?” You’re not alone. Many people get sidetracked while cleaning their own homes or have a short attention span. Some are too tired to clean after being at work all day and it feels overwhelming to clean up when you could be relaxing now that you’re “off the clock.”
So, if your messy house goes beyond the normal “don’t like to clean,” you might consider switching tasks with a pal.
Today, we’ve got a question from TJ:
Hey Angela. I joined a house cleaning Facebook group for neurodivergent adults. In the group, people can post about their house cleaning struggles and others will give them tips.
Often, people post pictures of their messy space and say “I’m so ashamed,” or “I can’t believe I let it get this bad.” And I think “Oh, that’s nothing. That’s six hours’ worth of cleaning. What is this person so embarrassed about? Does this person live near me? I’ll go over there and I’ll knock it out easy.”
But if I get a little behind on my cleaning and I let anything pile up, it feels impossible to do. Then I feel disappointed in myself. Why is it so easy to look at someone else’s space and know exactly what to do, but feel overwhelmed in my own space, even when there’s objectively less to do? And do you have any ideas on how to deal with the disconnect?
You’re Emotionally Attached to Your Own Stuff
Alright, TJ, here’s your answer: you’re emotionally attached to your own stuff and space. Now, when we live inside a home, we have lots of different activities going on at the same time. And because we live in the home, we know how to be multi-tasking in our own space.
For example, let’s say we’re cleaning your bathroom. We start to think “While I’m cleaning the bathroom and this stuff is on my shower to remove the gunk, I could be rotating the laundry.”
We Start Multi-Tasking
We dart downstairs, and we rotate the laundry. Then while we’re down in the laundry room, we might get sidetracked. Now we think, “Oh, you know what? This bottle of laundry soap is empty. I should run this out to the recycling bin.”
So, as you run it out to the recycling bin, and you see a box from Amazon that just arrived. Then you think, “Oh, I should carry this box in from outside so it doesn’t get rained on.” Now, instead of cleaning the bathroom, you’re dealing with Amazon boxes.
We Have Too Much Going on at the Same Time
So, you see how we went down that quick rabbit hole? That’s what happens when we clean our own space. It becomes about more thank the bathroom. It’s about doing the laundry and taking out the trash and bringing in the box from Amazon.
And the cycle will keep going. Maybe the Amazon package was a meal that needs to go in the freezer. Then we say, “Well, wait a second. Why are we putting it in the freezer? We could put it inside the Crockpot. At the same time, the laundry can spin while I’m cleaning the bathroom.” Meanwhile, we have all these other things going on at the same time so you become overwhelmed.
You Don’t Care About Other People’s Stuff
When you go to someone else’s house, you don’t care about any of the other stuff. You bring in your cleaning caddy, you go in and you do exactly what you were hired to do. But how do we deal with the disconnect? Well, here’s a trick.
You literally have to disconnect. More than that, you have the right to disconnect. Now, as a house cleaner of almost 30 years, one thing that helped me was creating a slot on my calendar for my own house. And I wasn’t paying myself to come, but I created a slot so that I myself would get my house clean.
Emotionally Disconnect from Your Stuff
But what happens is I’m coming from another house. So, when I do my inventory the night before, I set up my cleaning caddy for my house, just like I was a regular customer.
So, I make sure I have enough supplies. In other words, I have a checklist for myself, just like I do when I go to a regular client’s house.
Clean Like It’s a Client’s House
And you say, “Angela, that’s crazy.” Well, it is crazy except check this out. I come in from another client’s house. Then I get in my car. I drive back to my house because now I’m the next client.
I bring my cleaning caddy inside. Then I put on my shoe covers and my gloves. Now I can go to task as if it was someone else’s house. There is no luxury for stopping to do laundry. There is no thought to grab Amazon boxes or put food in the Crockpot or the million other things we do inside our own home.
Treat Your Home Like Someone Else’s
So, what happens is this. You start in one spot top to bottom, left to right. After that, you work your way around every single room and vacuum your way out. At the end of the time that you’ve allotted, you’re standing there at the front door ready to leave. Only now you actually live here. So, you’re like, “Hooray! I’m home!” and it’s a free ride home because you’re already there.
Now here’s the thing. Your house got clean because you removed all the emotional attachments. For just a minute, you treated it as if it was someone else’s home.
Find A Cleaning Partner
But if you can’t detach from your own home, partner with another cleaner and swap homes. Clean their home at an allocated time and they clean your home. That way, you’re both getting your homes clean while being unemotional about your own home.
Now you can be on a time schedule and follow the same routine you followed with every single other person. The risk of cleaning for yourself is you break all the rules when you’re in your own space. In other words, all the boundaries go down.
Home Sweet Clean Home
Because there are no boundaries, you give yourself permission to take procrastinate. I’ll just stop and watch a quick TV show while I’m cleaning this. Now you are sidetracked and don’t have the same attention to detail that you did when you were on the paid job.
So, my suggestion is to treat your own home as if it were a customer’s home. The super clean house that you get to live in will amaze you.
Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hoardingworld
Reclaim Your Life From Hoarding: Practical Strategies for Decluttering Your Home – https://amzn.to/35R1zIU
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – https://amzn.to/2SXEeme
Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding – https://amzn.to/364zyxT
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Therapist Guide – https://amzn.to/3jdbUqn
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Workbook – https://amzn.to/3wUQse7