Even when the world seems to be in meltdown around you, life goes on. And life is messy – not that I need to tell you that. But even though s*** happens, there’s no need to put up with it underfoot and all over your house. You can end up making things worse for yourself if you don’t clean your house – assuming you still have one.
* Hire a professional house cleaner on a temporary, casual or one-off basis if the crisis isn’t a financial one (e.g. if you have a family member in hospital). Also accept all offers of help from friends with gratitude.
* Focus on the basics. A piece of advice from a 1950s women’s magazine said that as long as you have clean clothes on your back and decent food on clean plates, the rest doesn’t matter. And, incidentally, that piece of advice was originally given to reassure a 1950s housewife who had three small children and who had been comparing her home to a childless woman… so much for the stereotype of the standards held up by magazines of this era!
o Clean clothes on your back: try to keep up with the laundry. If you manage to put a load in the washing machine, you’ve done well. If you get it hung up on the line, you’ve done even better. If the worst comes to the worst, you can leave washing on the line overnight – it won’t make any difference to your life three weeks down the track. You can also leave clean, dry washing in the basket and let the people who want it help themselves out of it. Don’t bother washing things that don’t really need it – socks and underpants get first priority, followed by everyday clothes. And you don’t need to change your T-shirt daily (unless it’s grubby).
o Clean plates: A dishwasher is everybody’s best friend. For those who do not have a dishwasher, once you have washed the dishes, leave them to drip-dry in the dish-rack with a tea towel over the top. Then take what you need out of the rack. The same applies to the things that won’t go into the dishwasher.
o Good food. Even in a crisis, you don’t have to live on junk food. Salad can be prepared in a flash (or can even be bought pre-prepared), and eggs and baked beans are easy, quick and healthy to prepare. So is tinned fish.
* If the crisis is financial (e.g. you have lost your job), then you will be able to save a few pennies by doing your own domestic cleaning using home-made natural cleaning products – baking soda and vinegar cost a fraction of what you’ll fork out for some commercial cleaning spray-on stuff. If you get really good at cleaning, you may be able to get yourself a new job by hiring out as a housemaid.
* If the crisis is an emotional one (divorce or death), people often find that doing some more intensive cleaning is somewhat therapeutic. It’s as if cleaning out physical dirt helps clean the emotional dirt.
* DO NOT clean if the crisis involves a crime being committed in your house. The police use all the shed skin and stray bits of fluff (and even bloodstains) as evidence.