Tuesday, March 8, 2011


One of the things I challenged myself to when the new year began was to be a bit more organized, specifically in the area of housecleaning. I will not deny that my ability to keep the house tidy is rather lacking. While it is not disgustingly dirty, I'm not hugely fond of housecleaning (is anyone?) and tidying and not "neat-freak" enough to be too concerned if I don't get around to washing the floors at least once a week, or cleaning the windows on a regular basis, or vacuuming the upstairs once a week, or cleaning the bathrooms daily. I can close my eyes to the toys and other objects laying around, especially in the living room, which really is only a living room on Sunday, the rest of the week it's a play room.

And while I can handle it not being in tip-top-everything-in-it's-place shape everyday, I do admit that it does get to me at times that I can't keep things neater. For let's face it, it has been embarassing to have someone come over unexpectantly and see how messy it is, and there have been times where I've had to say "ah, we can't have anyone over, the house is a disaster". I say my house is "lived in" and truly I believe that's how it looks, for I know underneath it is not filthy ... so why does it bother me when others see that my house is "lived in"? Probably because everybody else seems to always have these spic-and-span, spotless, shining houses all the time and I feel like I can't keep up. Yes, during the times where it is clean and I keep everything in perfect order I love it ... except it only lasts for so long and I get tired of being a "slave" to my house. I rather tidy up occasionally then be picking up all the time and always harping about every little thing someone misplaces. And it's so annoying that everytime I go to the bathroom (and everyone who knows me knows that means frequently) I feel like I have to clean it before I leave ... how does a bathroom get so dirty so quickly?? what is wrong with us that it always seems such a mess?? (If I ever get a choice to redo a bathroom it will NOT have marble top ... arghhh, water spots and dust!!) I can't understand that it's suppose to be that if I just put it away right away it won't be a mess and that should mean that I'm saving myself time as I create a good habit of right away putting things away ... it seems much more time consuming to always be running around putting things back in their place (would this be because I haven't created those good habits, would it seem less time consuming if I had more "good" habits).

I guess it sounds like we're total slobs here that just drop things whereever we feel like ... really it's not that bad, we do have the basic cleaning habit under control :) It's just too tedious to reach the spic-and-span, spotless, shining stage :( But I have been battling with the fact that my housekeeping/cleaning has not been priority of my list of things to do in recent years.

Yes, I say recent years, for many of you who have known me long enough are probably thinking "Steph? Not organized? Not neat?" Ya, I had my years of being neat and keeping the house in spic-and-span, shining order. Those first years of being married and I remember them best on the farm, because on the farm we lived in a "mansion", so there was no excuse to have things hanging around, the kids had a playroom for the toys and there was plenty of space to have a place for everything else. Life changed when we had a medically-challenged child that took up a lot of our time, as well as took me away from the home alot. Suddenly I began to realize that the house would remaining standing if I didn't do my routine Friday cleaning each week. I discovered that I could actually get away with not cleaning for some time and it really wasn't all that noticeable. I discovered that there's something to the phrase "it's better late then never" (that's a whole new topic, room for improvement on the area of tardiness also) for life did not fall apart if you were late or not really early. I discovered that the house wouldn't fall apart if I just did the basics to get by and that there were worse things then a dirty house. I had my excuses at that time ... but I no longer due ... except that I developed some bad habits that I'd like to overcome.

I must say for the month of January I was doing well. My biggest goal was to get back into the Friday housecleaning so that my weekends were more relax and I wasn't running around at midnight on Saturday trying to make my house presentable for Sunday. Along with this goal was the desire to try keep my house tidier overall. I have succeeded in the first goal, but not so much the second, although it is better then before. Oh ... and before you think that after January I didn't do well ... ah, you're wrong ... it got even better ... because that's when CHAOS Days started.

Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome Days started rather by accident but it was such a successful accident that it soon became a routine. Ange and I e-mail on a regular basis throughout the week just about this or that, what we're doing, general chatter, questions, etc. On one such day the e-mail started with one of us (can't remember who) writing how much we had accomplished already that day, to which the other replied what she had done so far ... this went on until noon hour when both of us decided that we had accomplished much and were satisfied with the work we had gotten done. I think we rewarded ourselves by enjoying tea-time together that afternoon. Of course our dear hubby's reading our e-mail exchange probably thought us a bit insane ... okay Dave did ... Rob was just glad he was going to come home to a clean house :)

After our successful day of reporting to each other and feeling that we were accountable to someone (I know I should be to my hubby ... and most certainly always am to God) for what we had accomplished that day we thought it would be beneficial to do this each Friday to give each other the incentive to get our houses in tip-top shape for a relaxing weekend. And so our CHAOS game began rather by accident ... the following week Ange named it and now they are CHAOS Fridays ... bit of chaos as we work up a sweat cleaning up and then the chaos is gone for the weekend ... or at least it should be. I did receive a 24-Hrs Later Report from Ange this past Saturday. It read as follows:
"24 hrs later report:
Every room is a mess! Why?
Back at it. "
I think every mother knows that feeling!

So we'll see how long we keep up the CHAOS Days, but I do know that it has given me the drive to be productive when I don't feel like doing anything. By faithfully cleaning my house each week I find I can take the time to get "side-tracked" on to other cleaning jobs at the same time since the basics don't need such an attentive and aggressive scrub each time ... so the cupboards and lights and walls and etc get a bit more attention now As I go through my week I note a few extra jobs that I can do on Friday as I'm doing the regular cleaning. I also find I won't so easily book something on Friday morning without first thinking that it would mean rescheduling my CHAOS morning and finding the time to still do the appropriate cleaning. Gotta stick to this habit and not let it slide ... besides it's much more relaxing to enjoy tea-time or a social evening when you know the house is clean and the work is done (well maybe not done, there's always more to be found, but for that day).

So how many weeks does it take to create a habit or routine?? I hope I'm there and can keep at it ... now I just have to work on the exercising and reading routines ... one step at a time.


Joyce said...

that first part of the post is exactly me, it was totally how my house has been run. We hope to start fostering again and so I had a meeting with the social worker - supposedly on tuesday so my house got cleaned - well the living areas got cleaned. But as I sit here, my DEAR son has just thrown all his toys onto the floor along with my bedding, so he can do somersaults on my bed.
Im glad to hear that its not just me.

HH said...

Steph, I could have written that post word for word. Your not alone!

HH said...

...and Joyce! Do you have something to tell me??

amymom24 said...

Good for you, Steph! I think I need to try something like this...

Corrina Kilfoy said...

Hey that sounds just like my house - not dirty just cluttered - I call it comfortable- There is a website called fly lady that is supposed to be good for one to get organized with the cleaning and decluttering.
happy CHAOS days!!!