When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.
Sometimes there are tasks that just seem too overwhelming to tackle. Cleaning closets are like that for me. Going through everything all at once and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of is more that my mind can wrap itself around. Rather than simply not do it, I adapt. My rule is one new thing in means one old thing out. Pulling just one thing (or two or three, depending on the buying spree) isn't overwhelming at all and, in truth, I often end up pulling out more old than the new that went in. It's an easy way to keep the closets in relatively good shape without boggling the old brain.
I apply a similar principle to the task of cleaning miles of floor tile. Well, it really isn't miles except when you have to get down on it and scrub every individual tile and the grout that surrounds it. Don't get me wrong, it gets mopped at least every week and often more frequently than that but I'm always surprised at how much dirt my trusty Swiffer can leave behind over time. The floor looks clean until I run a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser across it and am shocked at what it picks up. So periodically I play Cinderella and get down on my hands and knees and give it a good scrubbing.
That periodic time has arrived. December's goal was to clean the tile in the master bathroom. With everything else going on over the holidays, that seemed like a modest goal so meeting it wasn't difficult. January was more of a challenge: The kitchen and breakfast area. It's nearly 400 square feet of scrubbing fun.
And just like breaking this task down by rooms, I broke this big area down to more manageable segments too. One Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. That's right, I scrubbed until that perfectly new little rectangle was reduced to flimsy crumbs barely clinging to one another and then I could stop for the day. Oh, some days I was feeling particularly ambitious or had an abundance of time so I did more but knowing that I only had to do one eraser made this big task seem much smaller. Let's just say that instant gratification both in terms of the clean tile squares and the end of the day's duty is a great motivator.
This stop-and-start system of cleaning probably wouldn't work well for everyone but it does for me. I finished that sea of tile well before the end of the month and am enjoying looking down at those shiny clean squares of terra cotta. I thought they were clean before but now I know that they are. February's goal is the entry way and the laundry room.
To paraphrase Mr. Abrams, my theory is that when cleaning a floor, take one tile at a time.