There’s nothing like a clean home . . . right? I keep hearing it.
What IS that?
I’ve got no good excuses here. My mother taught me how to clean and put things away. I just get distracted and lazy then the chaos ensues. I’m primarily writing this mess out to keep accountable to myself. I’ll feel like an idiot if I come back and read this in 6 months and haven’t made any progress. Here’s to progress! (The real kind. Not the sideways kind.)
I’m probably more organized than I’ve ever been in my life because I HAVE to be.
And I’m not all that organized . . . It’s like bare minimum.
There are some things I just can’t disconnect or get over. I’m working on it. I read this article on Apartment Therapy and I had to roll my eyes at myself yet again. It’s 8 Things to Get Rid of that You’ll Never Know Are Gone. Cute.
But . . . there’s one thing they forgot . . . I desperately need my hundreds of books, countless pillows, and collection of mugs! Don’t they know that?! Plus, I’m GONNA finish those kid’s scrapbooks one day and I’m GONNA make that Pinterest crap. My art box is my precious. No touching. Someday. In like . . . 20 years when the kids move out I WILL get it done and it will be so glorious when it is finished that I’ll zap it through the atmosphere to whatever holographic version of Pinterest exists.
Dang. I’m a happy little ball of perpetual procrastination and pathetic excuses.
Soo . . . you see I have a problem. I all ready knew that. Nothing new about me admitting that so don’t think I’m taking a first step either. (zero points to Ravenclaw). That or I guess I’ve been stomping in place for years throwing an “I don’t wanna be a grown up” type of fit. I’ve fully embraced my own clutter and chaos since I was young. It’s chaos and clutter to everyone else but I have control of it I say. “Control”. Right.
I finally. FINALLY. had to get a decent grip on things a couple years ago (err almost 3.5 years ago, I guess) when we moved to our little bitty apartment from a nice spacious rental home out in the boonies. However, we have not only expanded our family since then but I started doing a little more work from home recently. We’re currently at a count of 5 humans plus 1 dog in our 960 sq ft space. The man also works from home on occasion. Oh, we’re also both in school. Lots of things, lots of stuff, lots of chaos to go with it.
It’s managed but it’s not manageable. Does that make sense?
Well, I write all this to say I first came across FlyLady when I was a new mom. You’d think sometime in those 4.5 freaking years I would’ve gotten everything together but life has happened and I just haven’t quite kept up. We’ve moved more than once, had more babies (which came with bed rest, illness, etc), my husband was gone for months of training, and plenty else. I piddled around with the ideas on FlyLady. Nothing stuck. Meh. I’ve moved along.
But I find myself in a position with my husband to potentially be making the decision to (be totally psycho and) stay put in this itty bitty apartment for another 1/2 a year or even longer so we can save the money we’d otherwise be spending on moving, deposits, and higher rent/utilities towards our first actual (real-live, fancy pants) house. Oh. Yesss. We’ve lost our minds but it’s for the children and the future.
After some deep introspection (IE, I had too much coffee one evening and stayed up wide awake long after everyone else was in bed) I realized that REALLY I have to STOP just harping on the place we’re in. There’s plenty to dislike but I have grass is greener syndrome in a real way. If I’m not going to go out of my way to take care of THIS home. . . . well, why would I do it for anything else? If I can’t handle this what makes me think I can handle something more?
It may sound dumb. I don’t know. But I think I feel so stuck and so frustrated because I’m so anxious to get out of here and focused on moving rather than spending energy or minimizing our chaos and taking care of what we have NOW.
About a week ago I went back to FlyLady. It’s the first thing I could think of that might give me some real direction. I’m staying home with three kids, working from home part time, and in school part time. I need my chaos to end so that I can start functioning. I need better workflow and more order. I’m the only one that can do it.
Right about that time someone in a mom group I’m in posted about it and suggested starting a separate group for the moms that wanted to work through the baby steps. Coincidence – I think not. I can take a hint.
I know how to clean. I know how to organize. No excuses. I just need direction and motivation.
So I jumped in . . .
In the first week, I’ve done so much. It doesn’t quite look like it yet. I can’t see the finish line (and I may never) but I do KNOW that I’ve made massive strides. We’ve donated 2 huge sacks and a large box of clothes, toys, and random things. I reorganized the kid’s closet and most of their toys (work in progress). I successfully went through an ENTIRE week with a dinner menu planned out. I even restarted fewer loads of laundry.
The website is a bit cheesy and basic but the concepts do work. I signed up for almost every single newsletter so I can’t avoid it when I get several things about cleaning in my inbox. It’s a “just do it” in the moment thing combined with making habits.
Let me just give a beginners 2 cents on some things . . .
#1 – Don’t beat yourself up over one particular baby step. It’s a set of guidelines. The idea is to improve and create routines. Personally, I’m not going to get dressed “to lace up shoes” . . . uh, ever, unless I’m going somewhere that requires lace up shoes. It’s just not happening. I hate shoes and I hate socks. I’ll be sticking to my yoga or dorm pants and tank tops unless I know I’m going somewhere. It’s just not happening. I get it – feel ready to go and clean and all that jazz. It’s cute. It really is but I’m gonna stay on planet pessimism for a while with this one. I don’t care if spit up, slobber, and dog hair constantly gets on the many pairs of yoga pants I own. Not so much the only 2 decent pairs of jeans I own. I just envision more laundry. It’s all ready a miracle to make it out in clean clothes when we’re actually going out. hahaha This particular thing may work great for YOU but I’m willing to bet some other thing will be a peeve.
#2 – Set a budget for containers, hooks, shelves, kid-proof locks, or cabinets. No one seems to acknowledge that you can’t just organize stuff by magic. The muggle life is sad like that. It does cost some money to buy the things you need so you can put crap away. Even if you buy cheap or used, if you’re limited on what you have for storage space and you have an entire home to organize it’s not going to be a $10 solution. Decluttering only goes so far unless you’re going to have nothing.
#3 – On the flipside of #2 . . . Don’t just freaking dump like-items into buckets and drawers like I do and call it organized. I tested it out for everyone. It doesn’t work. It seems like a quick solution. It’s not. Start in small areas and find a system that gets you to get rid of some things. Making a declutter goal like spending the 15 minutes finding 15 things to donate, listing 5 things on ebay/craigslist, or picking up 30 things to throw away works for me.
I spent my 15 minutes in the bedroom, living room, and kitchen today on top of what I’d normally do. When I decided to make cookies everything was clean and ready to go. My dinner menu is planned for the week. I still have a lot to do. I’m behind with some things. But I’m making some huge strides and it feels fantastic!