27 October 2009

A Little Housekeeping...The Real Kind

Lately it has become apparent to me that with all the balls I'm balancing~homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, blogging, life in general~I have dropped the house cleaning one majorly. Please don't tell my mother! I looked around the other day and couldn't believe the dust on everything, the floors that needed to be vacuumed/swept, all of the stuff piled around, not to mention the toys I was tripping over... You get the picture.

Now don't think that I'm of the opinion that my house needs to be perfect at all times, just maybe once in a while. LOL Seriously though, I like to have a relatively tidy house. One that can be picked up fairly quickly if there's unexpected visitors and, to be honest, it's usually like that. But homeschooling this year has been all-consuming for me--and I don't apologize for that. But I do think I can structure my days better and manage my time more efficiently so that I don't become overwhelmed with it all. So this past week that has been my mission. And I think I'm coming along nicely.

But for some reason I'm scared to talk about cleaning my house. The last time I mentioned it on my Facebook status I was berated (in a joking sort of way) by my friends telling me to "let it go", "don't worry about it", "that dust isn't going anywhere". I said "yeah, that dust hasn't been anywhere in a long, long time!" haha Since then though I've been wondering, why is it not *socially acceptable* (for lack of a better term) to want to have a clean, neat house? Why am I made to feel like a OCD freak if I mention cleaning? Personally, I think it's because we all want to know that our friend's and neighbor's houses are just as messy as ours, because it makes us feel better about letting our house go. I know when my house is a wreck, I sure don't want to hear about everyone else's photo-ready homes.

But on the other hand, channeling a little June Cleaver once in a while isn't necessarily a bad thing. I want to have a clean house, not just for my personal satisfaction, but for my husband and my children. I want them to have a cozy, warm, safe haven to live in. One that they're comfortable living in, comfortable inviting their friends into, one that they can be proud of and one that's a place they want to be. Home is where we spend the majority of our time. Especially for our family right now since my husband currently has a home office and I am homeschooling. Home should be a comforting sort of place. And when it's in complete disarray, that doesn't happen.

So I'm striving to stay more focused and follow some easy tips that I've picked up here and there along the way. It really makes my life easier and I feel good when I get into bed at night instead of thinking of all the stuff I have waiting for me the next morning. It's not an overnight process and it will always be one of those balls that occasionally gets dropped, but that's okay. That's life.

And just for fun, here are Martha Stewart's top 6 daily things. What do you think about them? Are they things you do? My responses are in italics.

1. Make the Bed
Tidiness begets tidiness. A crisply made bed makes the whole room seem more orderly, which makes it less likely that you'll let other things -- such as clothes and papers -- pile up around it.
(I do this everyday, or my husband does this~whoever is out of bed last is the one who has to make it at our house).

2. Manage Clutter
Whenever you leave a room, take a quick look around for anything that isn't where it should be. Pick it up and put it where it belongs. Insist that everyone in the household do the same. (I do try to do this. Everyone else, not so much. I'm working on that because this is a great tip!).

3. Sort the Mail
Take a few minutes to open, read, and sort mail as soon as you bring it inside. Keep a trash bin near your sorting area for junk mail. Drop other mail into one of four in-boxes: personal correspondence, bills, catalogs, and filing. (I love looking at my mail~I'm weird like that. So I never let it pile up).

4. Clean as You Cook
Instead of filling the sink with pots and dishes, wash them or put them in the dishwasher as you prepare a meal. (This one I'm not very good at, to be honest. I do try to put things in the dishwasher as I go, but if it's something that doesn't go in there, my sink gets really full and then I feel overwhelmed after it's all over. But my hubby has majorly kicked in lately on helping do dishes. He's AWESOME!).

5. Wipe Up Spills While They're Fresh
Whether it's tomato sauce on the cooktop or makeup on the bathroom counter, almost anything is faster and easier to remove if you attend to it immediately. (Yes, yes, yes!!)

6. Sweep the Kitchen Floor
Every evening once you've finished washing up after dinner, sweep the floor. This will keep tough-to-clean dirt and grime from building up, which will make the weekly mopping much quicker.
(I'll just tell ya, I hate sweeping. I can't wait until my kiddos are big enough to do this job~since they drop most of the stuff that's under the table anyway. haha I'm trying to be more regular with this though, because waking up to a clean floor is just so nice).

This post is linked to Works-For-Me-Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.


Becky said...

I wish I were good like you concerning the mail. I am horrible... I let it pile up and then it's a huge problem I do not want to deal with. I'm trying to set up a new organizational system to solve this problem, so maybe in the coming weeks I'll get things a bit more tidy. Thanks for the other tips. :)

Kaye said...

I too have a strong need to have a clean house. Maybe it is OCD, but I don't care...it's my house and I can want it clean if that pleases me! =) My biggest stumble is clutter. I can CLEAN all day, but we can seriously build up some clutter. The rest of that list are "regular" things for me.

Great post!

Kayren, Pink Daisy Girl said...

I can personally vouch for a few. There is a percentage (which I can't remember exactly but may be 80%) that says if your bed is made, your room looks this percent tidier/cleaner/neater. It's so true.

I sort my mail immediately. I throw out the trash, put my bills in my little household folder, put things that need shredded in my shred pile, etc.

I used to try to clean as I cooked. It does help, but now we're having the kids take turns having a day of dish responsibility, and they aren't always right on the ball behind me. A lot of times it's not done until after dinner unless I do it, and that sort of defeats the point. So this one just isn't happening right now.

Sherry said...

Great tips for controlling clutter! I used to do Flylady fairly religiously, but have gotten out of the habit. :( Mondays are usually our cleaning day. Homeschooling definitely has taken priority though. :D

You have a beautiful family!!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Nice post Lora! I'm not a fantatic about cleaning but I do like a tidy house. What I find helps is ahving a day of the week for each big chores, like cleaning bathrooms or vacumning or laundry. By dividing it up it doesn't seem so overwhelming and I try to leave weekends free for fun and worship. Every day I do the de-clutter, bed making, clean dishes, sweeping things, and then I dust one room or spend a little time on an extra chore like going through and tossing magazines or ironing, etc.

If I get really behind --and it happens when I'm out of the house a lot --I do a one day marathon and catch up.

My kids learned to make their beds at five years old. It was one of their daily chores and as they got older I added on chores. I sure do miss their help now that they are grown and on their own..lol

Sherry said...

Thanks for posting this, Lora. I, too, like a neat house and get labeled as OCD often. Maybe I am...The clutter honestly almost makes me sick! I can't stand it and it hangs over my head for days on end until I can get to it. I do try to do most of the 10 items on the list but feel like I meet myself coming and going. It's rare that I ever get to just lay on the couch, watch tv, or read a book. There's too much that needs to be done and I can't just leave it! HELP! ;0) BTW, I've asked the boys about their friends' houses when they go somewhere to play. They tell me ours is the neatest of all...hhhmmmmm!

Vince Farrell said...

Don't you worry about those people on Facebook who took jabs at the subject. You are awesome hon, and I'm glad you don't think like them. Because while they say, "relax, let the dust go, it's ok." They are really saying, "I'm a slob and you make me feel like one so instead of stepping it up a notch I want you to feel like my level" ;D

Love you like crazy!!!
Your happy-satisfied husband.

Betsy said...

I agree with Vince! :)

And I agree with you, Lora, about wanting a tidy home...not in an extreme way, but an inviting, enjoyable place. I've also found that when we have a crazy week or two and things start sliding, that's when we also run late to appointments, can't find items that we need, run out of clean underwear, etc, etc. I think it all goes together...tidy home, smooth days, healthy family, etc.
It is a balancing act, though!

I print out a weekly list on my computer (self made) that lists everything I feel should be done each week. Then I cross them off as I go. That way I don't feel defeated if I don't do certain things on assigned days. I can do what I'm in the mood to do and in that order. Some days I do more than others and I don't sweat it if it doesn't all get done. But the majority of it does if I keep at it!