Parts of this post may be difficult to put on paper for the world to see but admitting you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it…right?! Something like that anyway! As far as ‘house wife’ goes (and I detest that phrase believe me) I don’t score that well – I hate cooking, I can’t sew, I refuse to iron and I hate any type of cleaning. I score better in the washing department as I love doing it and I think my highest scores go to the ‘mummy’ing portion of the role. I will claim in public circles that I have better things to do with my time than clean and may even suggest that I choose to play with my children than clean. Truth is, I’d rather do anything other than housework. If my kids are asleep, I rest. If my kids are playing happily and I don’t want to intrude on their space, I rest. If my husband takes the kids out, I rest….. You see my problem?!!! I am the first then to complain that there’s no time to stay on top of the house!!!
As a result my house is in a state of neglect. As much as I hate the housework, I love a clean organized space. It gives me a sense of control over my life, makes the housework manageable and means I can sit in the evening, giant bowl of icecream in hand, without my brain ticking over all the things that need doing. June 2011 my dad was admitted to hospital and a couple of weeks later passed away, shortly after I fell pregnant with L and then in August gave birth to her. For the last year and a half I have been going through the motions without really ever feeling or getting on top of anything. Our finances slipped, the cupboards became fuller, the junk piles grew and in me a feeling of lack of control set in. The thought of ever having a tidy house became very overwhelming and on many occasions I have used the term ‘hamster wheel’ to describe how I have felt about the daily grind of tidy, tidy, tidy without ever getting to the root of the problem.
2013 is the year I take control. I will never have a toilet you can eat off or sparkling windows (no, 2 children, 2 dogs ensure that will never be) but I do pledge to have a house tidy enough that I can leave my bedroom door open when visitors arrive. We will save money and claw back control of that area of our life. Most importantly I’m hoping to feel relaxed and calm in my space, knowing that a tidy up is a 10 minute blitz job at the end of the day as everything will have a place. I am committing the month of January to ‘getting under control’.
Straight after Christmas I started on my wardrobe after seeing a friend with children similar ages to mine had achieved it. From there it snowballed. My inspiration came from Oprah’s old organisation expert Peter Walsh and his 31 Days 2 Get Organised Facebook Challenge. I love Peter and have followed him for sometime and particularly love how he talks about the impact of clutter and then an organized, clean space has on your mental and emotional state of mind. This month he is posting a 10min daily challenge to help kick start the year. With a 2 year old and a 4 month old and a messy husband at home, not many of the tasks are taking me 10 mins but they are getting done and they are very manageable tasks. The beauty is that these tasks snowball, so one thing invariably leads me to do another meaning my 10mins usually takes me a couple of hours in the late arvo but things are getting done!!
My favourite task he set was to go to your bedroom and remove anything that doesn’t belong there and doesn’t help create a feeling of calm and romance. Ashamedly, this task was never going to be a 10min job. My bedroom was a disgrace. My first job was to remove the desk from my room that was piled high with bills. How could I expect to ever feel calm with the weight of debt sitting at the end of my bed? I did a $40 reno involving new canvases, new candle holders, new pillowcases and a new diffuser (European pillow case took over half that budget – who knew they were so pricey!!). I rearranged the couch and coffee table to create a more defined ‘parents retreat’ section. I feel amazing in my room now. It fills me with calm and maybe some romance may sneak in there too! I’m looking forward to getting a big wall sticker over my couch when finances allow!
Other tasks I have completed that a giving me equal joy:
– With C toilet trained we no longer need a communal change table so I have been able to move this into L’s room and reclaim the family bathroom. I even hung pictures that have been sitting in a wardrobe for around 8 years.
-My laundry shelf is organized – more work needed on our craft and linen closet.
-My towels are folded in Peter’s U.F.O (uniformly folded objects) fashion.
-My washing baskets are empty – no odd socks lingering ‘just in case’.
-The kitchen cupboards and drawers are neat.
Not bad for only a 1/3 into the month! The biggest thing that’s changing is my state of mind and my habits. I used to idolize those that didn’t have clothes on their bedroom floor and wonder how they did it but, I am very proud to say, my bedroom floor has remained clothes free for 15 days now! My bed is made daily…..before its time to get back in it!!!! I’m trying to keep in the front of my mind Peter’s philosophy of ‘later’ being clutter’s best friend and trying to get into the habit of doing it ‘now’ – it really helps!! 2 minutes in the moment certainly helps to stem the snowball effect that tiredness, busy babies, busy family life can have on your home.
…and so the war on clutter in my home continues for another 21 days! Wish me luck and I hope to report February 1st with a clean, organised home and more importantly, mind!