Confessions Of A Messy Person

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!

14 replies

  1. You had me laughing at the inviting friends over to add pressure to get the cleaning done, lol. Doesn’t it feel great though to have a spotless house? Nobody does all the time though, especially if they have pets, husbands and children living in the home :). I have a friend who would only clean her house when someone was coming over so began hosting a book club at her house once a week so that she would have to clean once a week. When book club ended for the summer, she was in the habit of cleaning and also wanted to. THe next step for her was breaking it down into daily tasks instead of a full day of cleaning.
    Your schedule looks great and looks like you are also giving yourself grace which makes a big difference when it comes to managing a home.
    Another idea for you is to have a monthly chore list for things that don’t need to be done on a weekly basis and try to complete one of those things each day or maybe 2 a week depending on how mnay are on your list. THings on my monthly chore list include: cleaning behind the fridge and stove, clean the oven, wipe the cabinet doors, ceiling fans, disinfect all door knobs (perfect chore for kids), clean around the light switch plates (you know where all the finger prints like to hang out), clean under the washer and dryer, vaccum my car, etc.
    My mom always said if you saw it now, wipe it down because you will later forget :).
    Keep up the organization!
    Hugs, JoAnn

    • Ha ha! I did attempt to host a weekly Women’s Bible Study in my home several months ago but everyone (except for one person) was too busy to participate. The one person has seen my house at its worst so her coming over wasn’t enough motivation to get it cleaned weekly lol. Great idea for the monthly tasks! I miss my cleaning ladies in Okinawa! I can’t afford one now that I am in the states 😦

    • You are the person I mentioned above! Maybe we should do a cleaning swap. You come to my house and help me and I go to your house to help you 🙂

  2. Ally, You and I are too much alike. I suffer with the same things.
    I am certainly going to try the press and sealed refridgerator! I often have trouble homeschooling and keeping the house, if I focus on one the other slips and vice versa. I tried using fly-lady but, never really got passed the baby steps….oh my, lazyiness.

    • I get distracted easily too… Another thing thing that annoys Shane is when I start a cleaning/organizing project and don’t finish it because I loose my motivation.

  3. How is the press and seal working out in the fridge? I’m definitely going to have to try that next time I clean out the “leftovers” in the fridge. While there is some importance to a presentable house, you’re kids are happy, you’re an active mom to them, and you’re doing it alone while Shane’s away. Don’t forget all the things you do check off that list every day. It’s hard work sometimes getting everyone fed, bathed, and dressed. I have to remind myself that the small details of my day add up to huge hours at the end. Oh, and that I’m human. That’s a hard one to grasp some days. 😛

    • So far so good since there has not been any major messes 🙂 There is a dried juice ring on one of the shelves from a wet cup that Audrey put in the fridge but its not big enough for me to want to replace all the plastic on the shelf. There is also a small hole in the plastic under the milk. I think bottom of the milk jug is too rough for sliding so I have been more careful to place it instead of sliding it.

      Human??? Me??? LOL 🙂

  4. I believe I have said and done SOOO MANY of the things you wrote!! I describe myself EXACTLY the same ….

    And I can’t even count the “systems”, “charts”, book & iPhone apps I have started with GREAT GUSTO!!~But they always sizzle out…. Or I need to “tweak” my plan….

    I am there again ~ where I feel things getting out of control. Time for a new “program”!! LOL.

    Just curious ~ have you managed to keep your routines in place?

    • I did follow my plan for a little while… then got out of routine when we started getting ready to move. Now that we are in a brand new house, I have been pretty good at keeping things tidy. It is a smaller house so I left many boxes (of crafts & go-through) in the garage so they do not clutter the house. I bring them in one at a time as I have time to sort & find homes for everything. I am slowly organizing things and will eventually do a blog post with photos of the house! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I can so relate to what u said abt procrastinating because of being a perfectionist.. I have thousands of ideas about how to organise beautifully but I have to do it on day when I can be completely devoted to it.. And hence keep leaving it for another time.. But when I finally do my cleaning I feel so fulfilled.. It’s a wonderful feeling to say the least =)

  6. I have 27 indoor areas in my house to deal with and they all look like your kids floor except some are piled 2 feet higher with boxes of stuff.. Went through a couple of years of illness and things got out of control.Seems invisible to hubby DH so he doesn’t complain or push me to get started. Close friends love me anyway so visit reqardless most times without notice. Feel I could tackle it all if I only knew how long it would take and when the end result would be. To start i get overwhelmed.Recognizing general cleaning is repetitive can accept a couple of hours a day for that. What really gets me is the challenge of tackling the major cleaning, declutering and renovations after the fact. Feel if someone could tell me if I did this and this it would be completed by such and such a date I would be motivated to start. Help I need a plan! In meantime i use escapism to avoid it all.

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