The Roadblock Phenomenon: How the Smallest Thing Can Get in the Way of a Clean Home

The Roadblock Phenomenon: How the Smallest Thing Can Get in the Way of a Clean Home

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Adrienne Breaux
Sep 24, 2015

Have you ever run out of the smallest thing and that's been what got in the way of doing other chores around your house? For example, right now, my kitchen sponge is way past its due date for throwing away. Grimy. Stained. Falling apart. Forget the microwave cleaning trick...it’s done. Based on the size of said sponge, it’s really quite a small sliver of the actual space and content that makes up my apartment. And yet...it’s the very thing that my entire home’s cleanliness is hinging on right now.

→ Running out of that ONE thing.

Like right now I have a sink full of dishes. Yep, it’s not always the case (and in fact, if you’ve read a lot of my posts, you know I advocate the practice of cleaning your dishes as soon as they are dirtied), and believe me, I’m usually pretty good about it. But because of my sponge situation, the dishes are stacking up.

And an odd thing is happening around the rest of the home. Though my kitchen sink sponge is in no way necessary or needed to vacuum my home, dust the bookcase or do my laundry, here I find myself putting those tasks off because I've always mentally placed tackling the dishes as the first task on a long cleaning list. And even if I did those other chores first, I couldn't "complete" cleaning my entire home for the day because I can't get those darn dishes done. Even those there are tons of reasons for just ignoring the fact that I don't have a kitchen sponge right now (or you know, just going to the store and getting one), I'm totally letting this missing item throw me completely off-cleaning balance.

Kind of dumb, right? But how many times have you let the trash pile up for a few days because you ran out of trash bags and are avoiding taking the trash out because you don't have a bag to replace the full one with? Or skipped vacuuming for one week (then two, then three) because you ran out of vacuum bags? Or just avoided dusting altogether because your favorite feather duster is dirty? What about those times when you don't put the clothes back up into the closet because you're waiting to organize it first?

Is there a type of small, tiny item or detail that can really trip up your cleaning routine? Chances are this weird phenomenon happens to all of us at some point in our life. And there's no real easy fix (except maybe an Amazon Dash-like future?). But you can try and make sure your cleaning supplies area is well organized so you can see when you're running out of things. You can create a shopping list system where you add those needed cleaning supplies anytime you see them running low. Or some other way you've thought of?

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