Want to know a secret? I am a messy person when it comes to my home. There is clutter everywhere and I hate to clean. The problem is that I WANT my house to be neat, organized, & clean! I always joke that I am OCD about unimportant things like alphabetizing my DVDs and organizing my closet by rainbow color order. When I was a kid, I helped my mom clean houses and when I was in high school I worked as a housekeeper at an inn for a summer. So, I do know how to clean and organize. I have lots of ideas on how to get into a cleaning routine or get something organized but I almost never have the motivation to follow through.
I have several theories on why I am messy…
1) I am a perfectionist and I get overwhelmed. If it’s a big mess, I just don’t know where to start. If I do know where to start, then I know that it will take me a long time to clean it properly. In either case, the mess usually ends up staying where it is until it is unbearable not to clean it.
2) I take after my dad. He collects everything on the planet and probably could be considered a hoarder (although the last time I was at his house, the main rooms were somewhat livable). I remember when my dad wanted us to clean our messy bedroom, he would sweep everything into a pile in the center of the room and then have us clean it. My husband hates it but that is how I now usually deal with clutter. I go through the entire house and sweep everything on the floor into one room. Then I sort through everything and put everything in its proper place. For me, it is more overwhelming to have messes scattered everywhere than it is to have one big pile.
3) I am lazy and a procrastinator. Instead of cleaning, I would rather curl up on the couch and read a good book or watch a movie. When my house gets too messy, I invite a group of people over for dinner or a gathering of some sort. Why? Because, I don’t want people to see my messy house. So, I clean, organize, and/or hide my messes the day before the guests are due to arrive. I often am cleaning right up to the time they knock on the door. (If you have seen my house in a complete disaster state, you know you are a very close friend lol).
Why is all this coming up now? Before the Thanksgiving & Christmas holidays, my husband was away for four months. Since he wasn’t at home, I kind of let things get out WAY of hand. He is the neat person so he usually keeps me in check when things start to get too messy. When he is home he also helps with the housework. So, clutter piled up and messes were left un-cleaned. It doesn’t help that I have a 3 & 5 year old who love to make messes. Like the time that they got into the game closet and completely dumped several large puzzles and games on their bedroom floor:
My husband was home for the holidays and then we all left for a month-long vacation. In our rush to get out the door in time for vacation, the house was left in disarray, three Christmas trees were left up, and nothing got cleaned. The girls and I came home and my husband went away for 6 months of more military training. You can imagine the overwhelmed feeling that came over me when I walked in the door.
My goal is to have the house in a lot better shape by the time my husband returns home in July. I want to get into some sort of routine that has me cleaning something each day so it doesn’t build up. I want my house to be somewhat presentable at anytime so that if guests come over it’s not a major whole house clean before I am willing to let them in the door. I want to be a good example for my girls so that they can be proud of the home they live in.
I have been doing a little at a time; baby steps in the right direction.
The first thing I did when I returned home was my refrigerator. This was a good place to start because it was almost empty due to us being on vacation. If something spills in my refrigerator, it generally does not get cleaned up right away. Which means, when I do get around to cleaning it up, it gets hard and sticky and takes twice as long to clean. This time, I lined my refrigerator shelves and drawers with Glad Press & Seal plastic. This was an amazing idea I found on Pintrest. If a mess happens, I can just remove the plastic and replace it instead of spending a ton of time cleaning the refrigerator!
The next thing I did was my bathroom sink. This is a good example of an organization baby step. The sink is a small surface that, once organized, is easy to maintain. First, I cleared off everything on my counter and cleaned the counter, sink, and mirrors really well. Then, I decided what I wanted to be on the counter and found a basket and an office organizer to use to hold those items. I need the things I use regularly (toothbrush, hairbrush, makeup, deodorant, etc.) to be visible or else I will forget to use them. Yes, I have walked out the door forgetting to brush my teeth or put on deodorant. I blame Mommy Brain lol! Finally, I have made it a habit to put everything on the counter away and wipe down the counter and sink with a Clorox wipe EVERY night before going to bed.
Another thing that I did was made a daily chore list for myself. I wrote it out on a dry erase board so that I can easily change it if I find something isn’t working for a certain day. I have not started the routine yet BUT I am planning to start it this week. I have dishes and laundry listed daily. We all know that it does not take long for these chores get backed up if they are not done regularly. I hate doing dishes but I am determined to get at least one dishwasher load running each day. I am good at washing and drying the laundry but horrible at getting it folded and put away. I am determined to wash, dry, fold, and put away at least one load a day. Also, I listed a couple of rooms to do each day. I didn’t list individual things like vacuuming, dusting, making beds, etc. because I already know what needs to be done in each room. My goal is to spend at least a half hour in each room. Besides the general cleaning, there is always something to be organized (drawers, cabinets, closets, etc.). I plan to do the cleaning first then if there is time work on the organizing. Whatever is left over gets carried over to the following week.
Of course, there is room for flexibility. Some days I may just have 15 minutes to run through the room and clean up the clutter. Some days, I may have all day to completely organize all of my kitchen cabinets or bedroom closets. But no matter how much time I have, my goal is to do SOMETHING each day.
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and what you do to maintain a clean and organized house! Please share any ideas you have in the comments!