#ONEWORD2016

Amazing what can happen when I choose to spend time in my art studio! Made this one this morning at, you guessed it, 5am.
Amazing what can happen when I choose to spend time in my art studio! Made this one this morning at, you guessed it, 5am.

I’m sure you’ve heard about #oneword by now, right? It’s been around for a while. The gist is you choose one word at the beginning of the year and use that word to improve yourself throughout the course of that year. I’ve attempted it in the past. Multiple times. I came up with a word, wrote it somewhere, and then hoped for the best. If I remember correctly, past words of mine were Simplicity, Enough, and I think even Change. Except that I haven’t.

Changed, that is.

I keep repeating the same years, over and over and over again. I mean, sure, some things change. The kids keep getting bigger, after all. But this rut that I’ve gotten into has just not gone away. It’s exhausting being this stuck and constantly spinning my wheels but getting nowhere. But, I had an epiphany.

I haven’t changed because I haven’t done anything differently. 

I know, right? It’s like, whoa, that’s some deep stuff! Seriously, though, I have been waiting for changes to happen instead of actually doing the things that need to get done to see some changes. (Duh.)

I know it sounds ridiculous, just waiting for change. In fact, I KNOW it’s ridiculous. I’ve been living it, for crying out loud! But I think many (most?) of us are waiting for the next thing before we decide we’ll make a change. The next season. The next event. The next house. The next job. The next {fill in the blank}.

But change ain’t gonna happen if we just sit back and wait for it. Trust me, I know. My years keep ticking by… If you want something different for yourself, you have to DO something to get there. You want to have better health? Reading all the health blogs in the world won’t get you there. You have to DO something, like eat better and exercise. You want to get out of debt? Reading all of Dave Ramsey’s books, while inspiring, won’t make it happen unless you DO what he tells you to do in those books. You want a cleaner house? Buying all the fancy supplies and setting up schedules won’t work unless you DO the things it says to do on those scheduled days.

You want a better life for yourself? You have to DO something for it. (Amazing concept, isn’t it?)

In order to DO something, you have to know your options. You have to know what it is that will get you where you want to be. And then you have to decide to do it. This is the trickiest part for me. See, I’m awesome at researching options. I can research the heck out of things, and then overthink them, and then get overwhelmed, and then freeze. A dear, smart friend calls this “analysis paralysis”, and I totally have that. To. A. Tee. So, how do I change?

I have to make a choice.

A-ha! And there is it. That’s my word of 2016. Choice.

I have been a perpetual decision-deferrer. (Is that a thing?) I have no opinion about anything, or so it would seem, and I constantly avoid decision-making. I’m not sure if over the years I thought it would be better, maybe more peaceful, to just let the other person decide? You know, so they’re happy? I dunno. But I’ve gotten worse and worse at making choices. (Unfortunately, that’s rubbing off on my kids which is annoying the heck out of me, so we must remedy this problem post-haste.) On the other end of the spectrum, because I’m a researchaholic, I tend to give myself way too many options when needing to make a choice, and then I can’t decide what to do or how to start so I just don’t. I do nothing. Add a lack of DO-ing to the lack of decision-making and it’s a recipe for perpetual sameness, folks.

I read an article (researching again, surprise!) about strong women and things they do and don’t do. (I’d post a link but I can’t remember where I saw it…. sorry about that.) One of the items in the article that stuck out to me is they do not apologize for making decisions. They make decisions and stick with them because they know what’s best for themselves. They don’t doubt themselves. They don’t question themselves or their actions. Decisions are a sign of strength and are powerful.

Choice: The opportunity or power to make a decision.

So, that’s where I’m going to start this year. I’m going to consciously make choices about what I do each day. I can choose to be lazy (default setting) or be active. I can choose to be the same day in and day out or to change. I can choose to DO or not. Either way, it’s a choice. My “choosing” perspective has already helped! I chose to get up at 5am this morning, for example, because I know I have better days when I take time for myself first. I chose to clean the house today instead of letting it go just “one more day” because it really needed to get done. I chose to start meal planning again because I know that’s the only way we will eat better as a family. Could I chose to sleep in and then be cranky and unproductive? Of course! Could I choose to continue to live in a less-than-kept house and cringe when others visit? Sure. Could I choose to just wing it with our food and struggle daily with what to eat? Yep.

Could I choose to stay the same, repeat another year, and end up in the same place yet again? Yes.

But I don’t want to.

Choice. One small word. One world of difference.

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An art studio for me!

I’m giddy as a school girl! Why? Because I have a space to call my own within my house! I have my own haven. A cheerful nook. An art studio of sorts. (Granted, it’s in the laundry room, but I’ll take it!)

I have some before and after shots for you. Pardon the quality and lack of editing – I took them from my phone and was just too excited to upload them to care. And, I still haven’t figure this whole making-a-blog-post-look-pretty thing, so they are not centered or grouped together or anything. They’re just there. And that’s ok.

So, our basement is unfinished, other than a couple of walls here and there. It’s been on the list of things to do in the house since we moved in 6 years ago. *Hopefully* it will get done within the next year, and slowly but surely little bits have been getting accomplished. It started with some storage shelves in the back room, and then Hubby got himself a workshop set up in the furnace area.

Well, Hubby wanted me to have a space – a spot to escape if needed – and so the laundry room idea was born. Our laundry room space it pretty large. I always envisioned a bathroom in there eventually. But it was drab and boring and, well a laundry room. But, what better place to call my own? No one would want to step foot into a room dedicated to a chore, right?

We began the idea sometime last year. Hubby painted it a bright, obnoxious green (my choice) because I wanted to cheer it up a bit. At the same time, he added some wire shelves under our staircase for storage of odds and ends. I don’t have any pictures of the original, unpainted space (that I can find), but I do have pictures from before the floors were done!

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Here’s a view of the shelves under the stairs. Full of crap.

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See? Green. But a happy, cheerful green!

In the nook area that you see above, there used to be an ugly yellowish/orange-ish countertop with nasty cabinets underneath. (We ripped those out right after we moved in.) So, this space just became another area to collect even more stuff. BUT, with a little work and a direction, it has potential. First, we needed to do something about that floor….

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Hubby working on filling a leaky crack he found in the concrete floor, after removing the old vinyl flooring. Because nothing is ever easy in this house.

Hubby put in some some wood-look vinyl sheeting we found on clearance (because it’s a basement, and we’re cheap). It looks great with my green walls! Then he added a countertop that we found as an as-is piece at Home Depot, and he made some shelves for storage of my supplies. Today I decorated with items I bought exactly for this purpose a long time ago to make it cheery and less basement-y, and…… Voilà!

{{Happy Dance}}
{{Happy Dance}}
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Here are the shelves Hubby made that serve a dual-purpose – storage space with plastic tubs to keep my supplies organized and support for the countertop.
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Yep, that’s my washing machine on the right side….
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I decided against a door. I may change my mind and get one that locks if the kids find me….
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A better picture with the flooring and the walls and it all tying together. Love!
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And then there are these shelves. Yep, still full of crap. Eventually, they will be emptied and all of our crafting supplies will be on them, because our future finished basement will have a crafting space for the kids! (Not in my space, of course.)

I’m so excited to have this space for myself! I’ve been wanting to get back into my artsy stuff for a long, LONG time. (Little known fact: I was an art major in college for a year. Seriously!) And now, I have the space to do so without it being in our living space and in the way. And without little people grabbing at my stuff.

It’s not completely finished yet. Hubby still wants to add trim, and I still have to clean off those shelves under the stairs, but it’s a huge improvement over what it was! And now, there is no reason for me NOT to make time for myself down there and dabble a bit!

Another project crossed off the list! #NoExcusesJuly

Quick Commercial

Remember when I did my Towels and Toilets post, way back at the beginning of the year? That was to be motivated to deep clean portions of my house, and Tuesdays were my “towels and toilets” day. (You haven’t heard much more about that because, well, that wagon left me behind. Sigh.)

Anyway, I’m giving you this post today because it sort of fits in with my cleaning routines for Tuesdays (even though I haven’t actually followed said routine since, oh, I dunno….. winter?). Now, I’m not one to talk about cleaning supplies much, so this is obviously huge. (PS – I am not getting paid to do this post. I just was amazed with the product and wanted to share it with you!)

Ok, backstory….. I hate my toilets. We have well water here and the hard water stains/rings on the toilets have been there forever. I’ve scrubbed with I don’t know how many different chemicals and powders and cleaning solutions, all to no avail. The stains just would not come off. I was resigned to a life of constantly dirty-looking (although scrubbed clean) toilets.

Then, I read about this handy product in a cleaning blog. (Yes, I read a cleaning blog. I’m a nerd.) It’s called a Pumie Toilet Bowl Ring Remover, and it’s a miracle worker. (They are on Amazon, not sure but I assume elsewhere as well.) I bought it, and Hubby laughed at me. “Hope you didn’t spend more than a quarter on it cuz it’s never gonna work” was his response when I whipped it out to try it. Little did he know, this stick is magic! In fact, I called him into the bathroom to inspect the first toilet after I used it, and he was literally speechless. So, before I ran and scrubbed the second toilet in our house, I had an “a-ha” moment and thought to take before and after photos, to share with you! Because everyone loves to see toilets, after all! (Ok, I know, it’s kinda gross, but I was so thrilled with it I had to share!)

Here is our other toilet, after being scrubbed with heavy-duty chemical toilet bowl cleaner and a regular toilet bowl scrub brush….. So yes, it’s clean, even though it doesn’t look like it.

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Rings around my toilet bowl, even after significant scrubbing. Sad.
Rings around my toilet bowl, even after significant scrubbing. Sad.
Close-up of my stains. I’m embarrassed to show them, but it must be done!

So, gross, right? I mean, I literally scrubbed extra hard knowing I was going to take a picture to show you guys, and these stubborn stains just won’t budge. But, then along came Pumie, my bathrooms’ new best friend…..

Meet Pumie! It's a pumice on a stick specifically for tough stains. Says it doesn't damage the toilet, so we shall see.....
Meet Pumie! It’s a pumice on a stick specifically for tough stains. Says it doesn’t damage the toilet, so we shall see…..

After some scrubbing with Pumie the pumice stick, I was shocked. Amazed, even. It was a miracle…..

Ta-Da! No more ring around the toilet! First time in forever!!!
Ta-Da! No more ring around the toilet! First time in forever!!!
All sparkly and clean!!
All sparkly and clean!!

For just over $8, it was worth it. Well worth it. It’s basically idiot-proof, so that’s a plus too. You literally just dip it in the toilet bowl to wet it, and rub the stains with the pumice. The pumice wears away as you use it, so it conforms to the shape of the toilet. It’s a game changer in my house. I hated scrubbing the toilets because they never looked clean. Now, it’s like they are brand new. (And I didn’t spend hours scrubbing!)

So, that’s my PSA for the day. You’re welcome!

No Excuses

No Excuses
Photo: Google images

July is going to be a big month for me. I’m making it my new start. My clean slate.

I have a bad habit. In fact, I’ve nourished this habit so well that I honestly don’t even realize how often I do it. It has become second nature and automatic. It’s been years in the making, so breaking it will be hard. I’ve justified it and became enabled by it, but it’s gotta stop.

I make excuses.

They start out innocent enough….. Oh, it’s raining. I guess I can just go to the grocery store tomorrow…. I was up with the kids again last night, so I really should stay in bed to try to catch up on extra sleep…. I know we should be eating healthier but it’s so expensive sometimes. It’s just easier to do it this way for now…..  I can just clean the bathrooms tomorrow, we aren’t having anyone over anytime soon anyway.

This trend has been my life for a long, long time. No wonder I get very little done, eh? I can talk myself out of doing virtually anything with just a little reasoning. But you know what I’ve realized? Reasons are just excuses to make lazy seem ok.

Did you catch that?

Reasons are just excuses to make lazy seem ok.

I’m not saying reasons don’t exist. I’m saying reasons shouldn’t be stopping us from doing what we need to do.

I’ve fallen into the trap of Stay-At-Home-Mom Syndrome. My brother-in-law used this phrase to describe what happens when a stay-at-home mom falls into a rut. There are no deadlines, so there are no real pressures to get things done. There is no boss watching over us to make sure the work gets done, so we just put things off. There’s no real issue with appearance because our kids don’t care if we’ve showered or not, so even that gets put on the back burner. After all, as Scarlett O’Hara says, tomorrow is another day! Unfortunately, that’s the mantra I’ve been living with – tomorrow is another day – for years. It’s just going to be the same things tomorrow as it is today, so why bother?

You know what? I’m kinda tired of it. I want to have a house that isn’t an embarrassment when people stop by. I want to have a daily routine that involves taking care of myself. I want to get into healthier habits, for myself and for my kids. I want my business to take off and give me the dreams I see in my head, but….. I’m too tired. It’s too hard. I don’t have time. I don’t know how. The weather is bad. It’s too nice outside. I have a headache. It’s too far. It’s Tuesday. And the list goes on, and on, and on.

Time to get off that hamster wheel, folks. And I’ll be the one to jump first.

Here’s the thing. All of my excuses – every single one of them – comes back around to me. I am my own worst enemy and I constantly sabotage my own efforts. But if I’m honest with myself, I can see what my “reasons” are really saying:

I’ll just do it (whatever “it” may be) tomorrow. -I am choosing to be lazy.-

I can’t get my business moving/I don’t have time to focus on my business right now because of x, y, z. –I am choosing to not make my business a priority.-

I can’t believe the car broke again – just our luck! We’re never going to get our debts paid off. –I am choosing to have a negative attitude.-

I just don’t feel up to it today. I’m too overwhelmed by everything. I don’t even know where to start. –I am choosing to let my past issues with depression and anxiety get a foothold in my life.-

I can’t get up early to run, I’m too exhausted. I hate meal planning, I can’t get a good system in place. -I am choosing to stay unhealthy.-

I can’t start this project or do that thing or learn this skill, I don’t have time. I’m already running around like crazy as it is! -I am choosing not to manage my time wisely.-  

Basically, I am choosing to stay in my rut. I am choosing to hang out in my pity party. Puts a different perspective on it when we realize virtually nothing on the outside is a factor, doesn’t it?

 

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way; if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

 

Just because I want something doesn’t mean squat unless I actually take action and do something about it. And for that to happen, I have to choose to beat the living daylights out of silence my inner whiny girl. Cuz really? She’s annoying. And sometimes, (ok, probably frequently) she sneaks out of my mouth. And the only way to silence her is to just do it. Whatever it is. Get up early. Go for that run. Make that phone call. Scrub that floor. Find the silver lining. Whatever it is – it must get done. No more excuses. The choice is all mine.

July is No Excuses month. Wanna join me?

#NoExcusesJuly

Summertime!

End of the school year shrapnel.
End of the school year shrapnel.

The last day of school is finally here! You know what that means?

Chaos.

We will suddenly be all together, all the time. Like, for real, not just for a few months. (Silly homeschool idea.) On one hand I’ve been counting down these days. I can’t wait for summer and relaxing and fun and family time (and no more lunch-making)…. But, who am I kidding? I don’t know how to relax. I don’t know how to have fun. And family time? Well, we have to work on that one.

In fact, I vaguely remember last summer thinking “we really have to get some good habits in place so we can start fresh for school in August”. Well, here we are a year later, and no good habits are in place. Or even in site.

So, things are gonna have to change! (Famous last words, right?)

I think baby steps are in order. My kids have very few responsibilities in the house, which is completely my fault for not taking the time to teach them to do things because, let’s face it, it’s so much faster and easier for me to do it myself. However, this will not help them – or me – in the long run. So….. we’re going to get some chore action going on.

First, we need chore training so they know how to do things. Like how to fold clothes and put them away, instead of just jamming them all in the closet. (Speaking of which, we really need to weed out these closets….. Sigh.) So, laundry help is on the list. Peanut has already been in charge of hanging up their shirts since Pumpkin can’t reach. However, at least 25% of all the items she hangs fall on the floor. And then they stay there because, apparently, if it’s on the floor it becomes invisible. The other 75% precariously balance haphazardly from the hangers. And don’t get me started on the lack of organization in their closet. Apparently, they did not get my OCD gene. So, we must learn the best way to fold and hang clothes that are clean.

Kitchen duty – also neglected by the kids, and again my fault. Good news is they are better about clearing their dishes from the table and bringing them to to kitchen. They still need prompting on occasion, but I’ll take it. Now, to work on loading and unloading the dishwasher. This may require intervention by Hubby because I’m someone who loads the dishwasher a certain way. The right way. My way. (Ahem) I may also be someone who constantly rearranges when others put things into the dishwasher. Obviously, this is something I will need to work on in order to get help in the kitchen. (This chore training is apparently just as much for me as for the kids.)

Bedroom and playroom? UGH. We have too much stuff, and I swear I cleaned it all out not that long ago. See, the problem is, my children are packrats. (Which they also *may* have gotten from me. I’m happy to say I’ve become a reformed packrat, but that’s not overly helpful here.) I could easily go in and toss 75% of everything in their possession, but that’s not always a good idea. Anyone have any ideas on that, because I’m at a loss there. And now with it being summer and them around all the time, I can’t be stealthy with my trusty black garbage bags like days past….. So, we have to work on what’s really a treasure and what’s just trash. Not even sure where to start on that one.

There’s also bathrooms, other living spaces, yardwork, oh my! Not to mention a treehouse to build and camping trips to take.

So, that’s where I am at this point on the almost-first-full-day-of summer. I’m in all out panic mode, which, I guess, is pretty typical for me.

But baby steps. Today, I’ll work on figuring out the chore list. The rest of the week and weekend? Off duty and a family meeting to get on the same page. A few days of rest sounds like a good idea right after school is over, and getting input from everyone makes me less of a dictator. But next week?

Boot camp.

Mwahahahahaha

I’ll attempt to keep you updated on any progress (or lack thereof). I have big plans and ideas in my head, but actually implementing them? We’ll see.

Til then – chaos.

A Saturday Project

Ahhhh, the weekend. The time to relax and socialize. The time to rest and do the things you can’t do during the week. The time to just enjoy each other. The time to –

Who am I kidding!?! We don’t get weekends at our house! In fact, I dare say that many people don’t get true “weekends” anymore. How sad is that? But, that’s another post for another time.

This post is about actually accomplishing something on a To Do list that has been on said list for a long, long time. Let me tell you, that’s an awesome feeling.

As a mom, my to do list never gets done. And by “never gets done”, I mean that there is never a completed task. All of my tasks are continuous, ongoing, and indefinite. (I’m looking at you, dishes and laundry.) There is never an “ah, I’m done and look how fabulous it is” in my life. If I clean it, it gets dirty again. If I cook, it’s expected of me to cook again. And household projects? Ha! Unless it’s something that can be started and completed in a small window of time, I don’t even bother.

Hence “The List”.

Most of us have one. It’s that list of things you want to do around the house “someday”. My list is gigantic and includes such things as replacing the kitchen sink and faucet (on the list since I was pregnant with Pumpkin, so we’re pushing 5 years on that), painting the outdoor shutters and garage door to match our “new” (new 2 years ago) front door, and remodeling our small powder room (on the list since we moved here). And there’s also finishing the basement, fixing the deck, and it goes on and on and on….. Time and money have been obstacles on making any sort of headway on this list.

But today I decided I needed to do one thing, just one thing, that had a visible end result. Something that could be concretely accomplished so the mind-numbing cycle of daily life activities could be changed up a bit. Today, I decided we would re-cover our dining chairs.

When Hubby and I bought our table and chairs set, we were newly married, in a new house, and blissfully unaware of how a purchase would hold up in the future. We purchased a large, counter height table and 8 matching chairs, with cream-colored seat cushions.

Needless to say, after a move and two children, the chairs are, well…..

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I’m embarrassed to even show them.  You can see which ones were most… loved.

Don’t judge.

It’s been bothering me for years, to be honest. I actually apologize to anyone who chooses to sit in chairs normally occupied by children because I’m concerned that remnants of years of spills, glue, crumbs and glitter may adhere itself to their bottoms. (And yes, spills and such were always promptly wiped up, but “deep cleaning” those chairs wouldn’t even put in a dent in them. So, it was a battle I didn’t really fight.)

Today was the day to make it right! Today, my chairs would be presentable again! So, off to the fabric store we went, our family of four. After searching for the right choice (ahem – anyone else decision-incompatible?) and keeping my youngest offspring from knocking over everyone and everything in site (what did this child eat before we left, pure sugar?!?), we left the store with fabric in hand – at half price! Score!

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May have called the kids Cinderella once. Or twice….

Once home, I put the kids to work cleaning the chair frames while I sipped a chilled beverage. (I’m an amazing supervisor.) Once the kids were done, I shooed them off to fold a little laundry and I re-scrubbed the chair frames. (Control freak, remember?) All the while, Hubby was tackling the actual re-covering of the chairs. Multiple four-letter words were uttered at the staple gun and its lack-of-functionality, and it *may* have been thrown once or twice.

At this point, my spidey-sense kicked in and I made myself scarce. I did the smart thing – I made a food run. Nothing says “I come in peace” like fried chicken, right?

In the end, the chairs look amazing. Hubby did a fine job – although I do feel guilty that my project became his project. I felt better when he told me the staple gun issues probably would’ve discouraged me from all future projects ever. We can’t have that, now, can we?

So, a To Do that has been glaring at me for years finally was accomplished with a real, visible result. My chairs are pretty again and even pride worthy. And this time, we chose a dark, durable, newly-Scotch-Guarded fabric. Lesson learned.

Cheers!

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Ta Da! Reminds me on those inside out Oreos with the vanilla cookie and chocolate filling…. and now I need a snack.

Who knew?! Routines are actually helpful!

So far,  this new year has been treating me well. I have no idea what is different other then the process by which I’m working on things. And perhaps my attitude. Not sure, but things seem better this month. Is everything “just right”? Nope. Is everything sparkly and perfect? Ha! Not ever. But I feel like I have a grip on life, for the first time in a long time. In fact, I think I’ve only had 3 Crazy Days this whole month!

(Crazy Days are those days where I’m not myself. Or, I’m the myself that I don’t really like. You know, the cranky, depressed, unmotivated, anxious, everything-and-everyone-is-driving-me-nuts self. I’m sure a lot of us have similar days. I just dubbed them Crazy Days.)

So, what am I doing differently? I’m making a schedule. Well, more of a routine really. Schedules mean specific times and such to me and that is definitely not happening. But I have the beginnings of some good routines in place, at least for the housework. Nothing too crazy, but a simple guide so I know what needs to happen and when, instead of trying to cram it all in one day. Or, on the flip side, not doing any of it. Ever.

I wrote out this weekly routine on a little dry erase board near our Command Center. (Don’t be too impressed. It’s been our Command Center for at least a year and has yet to be truly functional. But it looks good!) This board shows everyone what area will be worked on each day so they can help. For example, on Fridays we do floors and clean up the family room. Peanut vacuums and Pumpkin dry mops the hardwood floors. (And then I do them again, because she’s only 4.)

Our Command Center. The Menu comes in handy when I plan ahead. The blank frame is for random to do's. The weekly housekeeping schedule is on the weekly calendar board, and the message board on the shelf is for groceries needed. Everything is dry erase to make life easy!
Our Command Center. The Menu comes in handy when I plan ahead. The blank frame is for random to do’s. The weekly housekeeping schedule is on the weekly calendar board, and the message board on the shelf is for groceries needed. Everything is dry erase to make life easy!

This routine is allowing me to get the bare minimums done each week, and then I can integrate “deep cleaning” once a month. The first week of the month, we will deep clean the bathrooms on Tuesday. The second week we will deep clean the kitchen on Thursday, and so on.

Have I actually done deep cleaning yet? Nope – other than 1 bathroom. But this gives me mini goals and allows room for changes without tossing it all out the window. As an added bonus, this is keeping me focused. When I did our bedroom on Saturday last week, I just did what needed to get done to make the room look cleaner. The bare minimums. In the past, I would feel motivated to start cleaning out every drawer and closet while “cleaning” the bedroom – but then get completely sidetracked, lose steam, and end up with a huge mess that can never get finished in one afternoon. So, as much as it pained me to not have it all the way done and perfect, I just did the bare minimums – put clothes away, found flat surfaces to dust, and defeated the dust bunnies under the bed. On a “deep cleaning” day, I will work on cleaning out a drawer, or a closet, or a dresser. Now that I know a “deep cleaning” day will come around once a month, I can stop stressing about when I’ll ever find the time to clean out those drawers!

So, what’s my routine? For now….

  • Sunday: Planning
  • Monday: Groceries/Food Prep
  • Tuesday: Towels and Toilets
  • Wednesday: “Whatever”
  • Thursday: Kitchen
  • Friday: Floors and Family Room
  • Saturday: Sheets and Bedrooms, Playroom and Office
  • Daily – Dishes, Laundry, Clutter, Sinks

On Sundays I look at my calendar and attempt to plan out my week. I’ve only done this once so far, but it has helped me immensely! Mondays I plan to do errands, grocery shopping, and food prep for the week. I chose Mondays because our garbage day is Tuesday morning, so might as well get all the food scraps/meat wrappings, etc. out in time for garbage! My Wednesdays are going to be a catch-up day if needed. My mornings are already busy with a weekly Bible Study, and I know I wouldn’t necessarily get a lot done in the house, so I plan afternoon playdates on Wednesdays, or catch up on bills/computer work on Wednesdays. It’s my “whatever” day! Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are pretty self explanatory. Saturdays look awfully busy, but my family doesn’t get a “weekend” like many others do. Hubby works Saturdays, so the kids and I can spend time picking up those rooms before moving on to fun stuff.

The Daily chores aren’t that bad when we stay on top of them. I typically try to do one load of laundry each day if needed. My dishes are usually under control. The clutter is something that needs work – people in my household don’t always put things away (ever). I decided the sinks should get wiped out each night, too. It won’t take long and makes for a clean start to the next day.

I haven’t necessarily done everything in that weekly routine yet, but it’s a good place to start. I’m working toward progress, not perfection. Baby steps.

And that’s that! One small step for my house, one giant leap for my sanity!

Towels and toilets

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I have a confession. I am a horrible housekeeper.

It’s true. I know at some point in the past I was pretty good at it. In fact, I remember enjoying cleaning the house. It was nice to have rooms sparkly and clean, and it gave me a great deal of satisfaction when it all looked perfect!

And then kids happened. Suddenly I lost the motivation to clean. Not to say it’s because of them that I don’t clean, of course. But you have to admit, it’s a lot easier to keep the house sparkly clean when (a) everyone in the home works full-time and is rarely there, and (b) there is no one living there under the age of 18. Once the little ones came about and I became a stay-at-home mom, it was a lot harder to keep up with the house. Impossible for me, in fact. How can you possibly keep anything clean when you finish an area, turn to start another, and the first is inexplicably trashed again? The perfectionist in me thought, “well, if I can’t keep the whole house clean at the same time, then why bother with any of it”. And it went downhill from there.

Now, I can fake it with the best of them. My house, at least the parts that people may actually see, looks presentable when necessary. I can pick up the clutter and quickly dust (maybe) and vacuum (sometimes), and I’m great at wiping down the bathrooms (at least one of them). But it’s not really been clean – deep, down clean – in….. years? Let’s see, we moved into this house about five and a half years ago, so I’d say the last time it was really clean would have been about five years ago.

Sigh.

So things have to change, but baby steps are definitely needed.

About three weeks ago, I dubbed Tuesdays as “towels and toilets” day. Basically, I’ll wash the towels and clean (and by “clean”, I mean wipe down the sinks, mirrors, and toilets) every Tuesday. That way I know it’s been done because there *may* have been times in the past when it wasn’t done every week. Or even every month. (Oh, honesty. Ugh.) So, I made this mini habit to do bare essentials every Tuesday. So far, so good.

Then today, I had an epiphany of sorts. What if, on the first Tuesday of every month, I actually clean the bathrooms? Like, for real clean? Then the other weeks I can maintain them until the first Tuesday of the following month. Eureka! A routine!

So, I got all my supplies and headed to our full bathroom, since the powder room was the most recently “for real” cleaned (but I won’t say when). Motivation high and I started scrubbing away. The sun was shining, music was blasting – I was even using a toothbrush in the crevices, people, that’s how motivated I was! I washed the walls, ceiling, shower, floor, even the grooves on the base of the toilet! You know, the part near the floor where all the dust and hair and grossness collect? Yep. Even cleaned there.

I’d love to tell you that the burst of motivation lasted, but about halfway through that bathroom I realized something. I realized that it was hard work. I realized that no matter how motivated I was, having a 4 year old there to “help” is bound to delay things. I realized that perhaps letting it get this bad was not the best move on my part. After two hours in one bathroom (yes, two hours, partly because it really needed a good scrubbing, partly because of my little helper and all her helping), I decided to leave the deep cleaning of the powder room til next week. So a quick wipe down happened instead. And that’s ok.

Baby steps, right?

Today, our main bathroom is “for real” clean, but not perfect. The shower curtains were washed, but the exhaust fan was not. The sink was scrubbed, but the shower isn’t as good as it probably should be. But you know what? It’s a really good start. And sometimes starting is the hardest part. And getting past that hardest part feels really good. And letting go of perfect feels really good, too. Mini win for me!

Next Tuesday, I’ll tackle our much smaller powder room and just maintain the main bathroom. Then, two weeks of quick wipe-downs before another bout of deep cleaning. If this works the way that I’m hoping it works and I actually follow through, that deep cleaning should take far less than two hours – for both bathrooms! And, if I can keep it up, I’ll start adding other rooms to deep clean during the other weeks of the month. This could be huge for me!

But we won’t rush things. Baby steps are all I need.