1. Let your bed set the tone for the day.
Making the bed is sort of a no-brainer for me. Leaving it unmade feels as unnatural as leaving my house without pants. However, I know it can be tempting to leave the sheets and blankets crumpled to jump into the day a few moments sooner.
Deliberately making your bed in the morning sets the pace for the day. It says you’ll take your time transitioning from one activity to the next without scrambling or rushing just to get things done. Because really, when you’re moving that fast, how much of your day do you fully experience and enjoy?
2. Wash the dishes slowly.
As my father knows, doing the dishes can be both satisfying and grounding. Feel the warm water on your hands; let yourself enjoy the experience of making something dirty clean again. Don’t think about finishing or what you’ll do when you’re finished. Focus solely on the doing.
Thich Nhat Hanh explained it well in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness:
“To my mind, the idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you aren’t doing them…I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to eat dessert sooner, the time of washing dishes will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle.”
3. Use cleaning as an exercise in acceptance.
How often in life do we fight ourselves on things we don’t want to do? We procrastinate, we complain, we outsource—a viable option if you can swing it. For the most part, though, we’d benefit from accepting that we have to do things we don’t like on occasion, and then doing them instead of using energy to avoid them.
Cleaning the toilet is right up there with root canals on my fun list, but it won’t clean itself. In accepting this and then doing it—when it needs to be done and no later—I prepare myself to carry this same acceptance outside my house. To stop judging things as good and bad to soften the nagging inner monologue that keeps me divorced from the present.
I use a cleaning list I got from Newbie Nesters.
She has a Daily list and a Weekly List.
Though I don’t always get to the list exactly, it has been very helpful for me to follow. I used to do FlyLady but it almost seemed to daunting.
I do follow one main rule from FlyLday though and that it is always keep my sink clean and shiny.
Mostly, in the effort of Mindful Cleaning, don’t stress about it.
People come over to see YOU not your home.
The experiences they take away won’t be whether or not there were dishes in your sink. It will be the moments you spent together.
Be mindful of that, not what was under your couch.