Stealth Cleaning

Here’s another experiment I’m doing. Stealth Cleaning.

On Christmas day, the house got to a critical level of clutter and mess. We have a high level of general messiness. The boxes, wrapping, and additional stuff took it over the top.

I started cleaning and straightening up and pitching trash. Quietly.

All that stuff had taken a while to pile up. It wasn’t going to go away overnight. No use being bent about it. Just start somewhere. I started in the kitchen.

Cleaning without the usual sense of resentment about the mess, and without being under the gun to get it done before the arrival of guests was a completely different experience. Instead of huffing and fuming and sweating and getting worn out, at every moment I found I could enjoy the newly uncluttered space.

Nobody felt guilty. No recriminations about who made this mess. The truth is, all of us who are living here contributed to it. It doesn’t matter anyway.

I’ve been stealth cleaning for a week now. A little bit each day. Easy does it. There are a couple clean rooms in the house. I have a long way to go. Some of the biggest un-cluttering challenges still lie ahead.

My wife has noticed the clean areas. She asked what I’m up to. I told her. She smiled. My kid has not noticed, or if he has he hasn’t let on. That’s ok. It’s not really about him.

I can’t change them. They are who they are. I love them as they are.

It’s not about having a perfectly spotless house, either. Let’s be realistic. That’ll never happen. We’ve got to live here. Our house isn’t a museum or a model home for Good Housekeeping magazine. If I clean something, I expect it to get messy again.

I’ve found that in the week I’ve been stealth cleaning, my stress level around the house has gone down a notch or two and my patience level has gone up a notch. So far, so good.

Happy New Year!