Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Cleaning, Not Decluttering

One of the things I don't like about cleaning -- the process of actually making things cleaner -- versus decluttering -- the process of throwing out garbage and putting stuff back where it belongs -- is that cleaning is harder to stop in the middle of doing. At least the way I do it.

When I'm decluttering, there's no stage in the process where things actually look worse than before I started. I pick stuff up and throw it out, or put it in a tidy pile to sort later, or put it where it belongs. If I get bored and stop in the middle, it's no big deal. The effort that I've already put in isn't wasted, and the area will look tidier than when I started.

But when I'm cleaning, many of the intervening stages look worse than it did when I started. I just finished mopping the first-floor extension, which is this 20' by 8' glorified hall way that we mainly use for storage space. We used to use it for the litter box and cat food, but I moved those into the kitchen last year. Now I'm cleaning it up so I can move the litter boxes back into it.

Mopping isn't something you can stop in the middle of, either. If you use soapy water, you can't just stop when you've got the floor all wet and soapy: you have to rinse it off again or you'll have a sticky icky floor when the soap dries. So I rinsed off the floor. Now I have to wait for it to dry so I can put all the stuff that I store in the extension back into it. In the meantime, I've got piles of boxes in the kitchen looking cluttery and messy at me. I hate that. I want to feel virtuous after an hour of cleaning, not "Great, I have to do more cleaning or it'll be worse than when I started." Hmph.

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