Thursday, January 3, 2013

If at Fourth You Don't Succeed...

Alternate post title: Swept Away With Good Intentions
Second Alternate post title: TBA after Husband reads this 

I don't think the words, "She is such a neat freak!" have ever been uttered about me.  I don't feel bad using clean dishes straight out of the dishwasher.  I've had some of the same bottles of cleaning supplies since we bought our home almost 3 years ago (That sounds a little disgusting.  It's like, Windex and stuff.  Plus, our house is small and we only have one bathroom.  Don't judge.)  I am more likely to pick up visible crumbs off the floor than to sweep every single day.  (Listen.  If you're going to get that look on your face, you may as well stop reading now.)  I have winter clothes under my bed and un-framed pictures under my dresser.  Generally, I only empty the crumb tray from the toaster oven about an hour before my in-laws arrive.  You've probably got the idea by now, unless you stopped reading after you pictured my kitchen floor.

Sometimes, I make excuses- "It's more important to spend time with my family" or "I don't have time" or "I just have so many other things to do".  But, in reality, it just simply doesn't bother me all that much to see messes.  I get all skin-crawley when I see someone type 'your' instead of 'you're', but I can look at a pile of mail on the counter for several days before it starts to bug me.  It does, however, bother me that our 5 y.o. seems to have inherited my freaky-not-neat-freakiness.

Like Mama... son.
I'm also pretty sure it bothers Husband, and probably everyone else, too.  So, I tried to change.  Soon after Baby was born, we decided that I would quit my jobs and be a stay-at-home Mom.  I soon realized that although I had always excelled at my paying jobs, I was falling far short in the housecleaning department of my current occupation.  I made some lists (I'm a truly marvelous list-maker) and did some deep cleaning.  It felt great!  I was proud, relieved, excited, and able to find the band-aids in the cabinet under the bathroom sink at a moment's notice.  I only stalled when it came time to clean out the playroom closet.  I just couldn't do it by myself.  (Wait.  That's another excuse.  I could have done it.  It would have been much harder than it was when, a few months later, Husband and I cleaned it together.)  Once I lost momentum, I didn't get it back for quite some time.  Finally, I decided to toss out the old lists and start again.

My new list was a Rollover.  I decided to write down what I wanted to accomplish each day, but actually give myself a week to cross off each item.  Whatever I hadn't done Monday simply rolled over to Tuesday, and so on.  Turns out, Rollover Lists are better in theory than in practice.  I kept adding "dishes" and "laundry" just so I would have something to cross off, and by Sunday, I still hadn't cleaned the playroom closet.  

At last, it was time to get the Christmas decorations out of the playroom closet.  Husband cheerfully helped me clean and organize the space, and we decided to have a yard sale with the piles of evicted closet items.  I was certain that once we got rid of all the junk valuable, unneeded items, I would be able to keep the whole house neat and tidy.  Here's something you should know:  Yard sale customers don't want all your castoffs, or even most of them.  In this case, they only wanted $78 worth of stuff, and $2 worth of giant, homemade Snickerdoodles.  

For my fourth attempt, I turned to the Almighty, All-Powerful *insert drumroll* Google.  The calendar is quite handy.  Color coding, one-click repeat items, and the beauty of seeing everything I was going to do in one pretty spot was really, stinkin' encouraging.  Every Sunday, at noon, I will change the sheets.  Every Monday and Thursday, at 10 a.m., I will clean the floors.  The calendar is also linked to my phone, so I don't even have to turn on the computer to see what I need to do.
You may have guessed, by now, that this plan has also been unsuccessful (so far).  But I'm not giving up!  I will stick with my new plan: Just Do It.  I've ultimately realized that, as much as I hate to admit it, my problem is really just laziness.  I have plenty of time to clean.  I can involve my family, in order to teach better habits to the 5 y.o. and impress Husband.  And, when my "so many other things to do" don't get in the way of my facebook stalking interacting, I have to own up to the fact that I'm just being slothful.  

Today's advice-just do it. Now, I will turn off the computer, get up from the couch, and go clean off, out, and under my dresser.  For real.  I'm going.  Right now.

Care to admit any of YOUR faults?  All the judgy people stopped reading a way long time ago.


  1. I too, have good intentions. My home life, when it's working is run by lists. I even make lists of the lists I want to make! I'm gathering materials to make myself a home journal type thing to keep all my recipes for cleaning and sorting in one place. I've got a new phone handset heading my way and I'm pretty sure the alarm page is going to get quite a working out. You'll get there :)

  2. I have come to the conclusion that I will have to host at least one event in my home per month. My best cleaning and getting rid of unnecessary stuff happens when I am expecting guests. I am admitting to this character flaw because you have assured me that the judgy people have stopped reading.
    Unfortunately, my cleaning-for-guests plan doesn't help with the bedrooms and closets. I am going to have to work out some reward system for cleaning those.

  3. I have this cool index card system that I use for daily chores. It also helps me a ton to have an accountability partner with whom I can text when I've done stuff on my "list." But no judging here! We're all doing our best--and our best varies from day to day.

    The lazy Susan cupboard in our kitchen is super gross. Maybe I'll vacuum it out tomorrow....