This year has been a experiment for me to become better organized, happier and cleaner in my home. I've always been messy. I recently learned HOW to clean...although not very well. Being newly married and wanting to please my hubby and create a safe and clean home for us, my daycare kidlets and any future babes we may have, it's really become vital for me to learn what to do! I've been searching and searching and scheduling and scheduling and while I am better...I'm no where near where I'd love to be.
It's frustrating and slow and unbearably hard to rework almost 28 years of living. That said, I've been trying a new system over the past few weeks and it seems (so far, very far to go!) to be working. Here's from the beginning up until today :)
I've been receiving emails from Flylady.net for about 9-12 months but it seemed too simple to work, and honestly her program didn't cover exactly what I needed it to. However, her philosophy seemed to be what I needed to hear because I kept coming back to it time after time.
So, I took some time about a month ago to read through the website, and see what it is she writes about, reading some of the emailed testimonials, and looking over her routine and detailed cleaning checklists. I read through her "Beginner Baby Steps" but wasn't 100% sure that they would work for me, so I took the concept she was promoting and incorporated some of my own needs and ideas.
First I took a look inside to discover some of my negatives: A lack of motivation, a strong desire to procrastinate, extreme dislike to sweat, and an undeniable aversion to cleaning anything, oh and a hubby who is less than handy and has all of the above issues as well. What this means is that dishes are less likely to get done, unless we do them together, the lawn doesn't get mowed unless we do it together, the laundry NEVER gets put away (it's clean, just in laundry baskets all over the house.) and cleaning the floors...forget about it. My schedule (like most working people) doesn't allow for a lot of cleaning time during the day. PLUS having 4-6 kiddos in the house at one time (that I am responsible for and are not related to me) makes it impossible to leave them and go clean a bathroom, kitchen, vacuum a carpet, etc. So, my available hours for cleaning, prepping, hygiene, sleeping, planning, etc are limited.
I also made it a point to look at some of my positives: I have been working on my spending and shopping habits, namely spending a ton of money on crap or needless items (typically for organizing, lol.) and becoming more able to part with things, so the clutter in our home has been reducing nearly every week with the trash pick up. YAY ME!! And, I have become MUCH better at learning to put things away when I'm done with them. Yeah, I know, I teach kids about it all day long, but after hearing my nagging voice all day, I've learned how to tune her out 'after hours'! I also LOVE to feel organized and have a "plan." This has translated into excessive scheduling in the past, over worked routines, too-detailed checklists, and micro-managing.
What I have decided to do, based on advice from Lara Gallagher at LazyOrganizer.com (in an archived post, I believe from 2007) and FlyLady at FlyLady.net and Molly at My Happy House is this:
1. I have started "attachment planning." Similar to Attachment Parenting it includes co-sleeping, planner-wearing, and spending every possible second with the planner at every moment of every day. I have always tried to carry it with me when I leave the house on errands, but seriously I have been carrying this thing into the bathroom when I shower (not into the shower...that'd be weird! LOL), sitting it on my nightstand at night, taking it outside when we go out for outdoor playtime, to the grocery store, out to dinner, at DH's work picnic, on a Bachelorette party, etc. etc. etc. Do I need it every second of every day, no...but I've been glad to have it on several occasions. Such as when I made plans for dinner on Friday, when I scheduled a follow up nail appointment at the spa (during the Bachelorette party), while shopping so I could write down an idea for something to use in the daycare space (instead of buying it and it not working out, thereby spending money and time I don't have to waste.)
My precious planner.
2. Next, I ripped up, shredded, threw away and disassembled my routines, cleaning checklists, and Home Management Binder! Yes my beautiful book...was taken apart to start over from scratch! I plan to take this 2 1/2" binder:
Old Home Management Binder
will be transformed into this 1" binder:
New Home Management Binder
The only parts that made it into the new book without editing are the miscellaneous section (for menus, township news, trash pick-up schedules, etc.) the contacts section (my address book) and the projects section (since we have so many projects on the near horizon, I need that to stay how it is.)
Areas to be edited and revised are the schedules section, routines section, menu planning section, and the checklists sections. Gone are the school section (school for me) daycare section and the budget section. I don't have pics to show you yet, because it's a work in progress. Each section will be updated slowly and revised and edited as I make routines, changes, and perhaps additions.
3. Also in the works is my routine building. Habits and routines take TIME to build. They can't happen overnight. They can't be hard or (at times) even logical. They have to be what works for you and what is DOABLE for you and your family. Something FlyLady has taught me is that in order for your family (in this case my hubs) to follow along the ordered path you must first lead by example. Case in point: If I want each dish rinsed and placed into the dishwasher right away, rather than wallow in the sink until there's a sink full, then I must show him how to do it by doing it myself. Or: if I want the laundry put away immediately after folding, then I must start by putting it away right away. If I want the shower stall sprayed with cleaner after every shower, I must ask him to do this, place the cleaner in a convenient area and SPRAY it myself after every shower. It takes faith, leadership and determination to keep a clean and happy house, not screaming, blaming and being an overwhelmed, nagging shrew of a wife (<-- Me :-(!!!) (Will post later about how exactly I am doing this :)!) I am journaling every night to allow some room for letting go of negativity, acceptance of the joys I already have in my life, and reflection on my habits, and the budding "new me!"
4.Finally, I've done a lot of soul searching and come to grips with some of my negative habits and character traits hence my confessions post. I've come clean to my hubby about some of the negativity I store inside...such as my abhorrence of cleaning, my jealousy of friends' good things or successes, and my resentment of his lazy attitude and joy in time-wasting activities (video games, mainly.) I've also asked for his help. What a revolution...asking for help. Never realized how much a sincere plea for assistance could be a turning point.
Who woulda thought that a, "Please would you help me do some things around the house?" would result in positive feedback more so than a, "ARGH! DO YOU HAVE TO LEAVE ALL YOUR CRAP ALL OVER THE HOUSE FOR ME TO CLEAN UP!!! YOU'RE A GROWN MAN..PUT YOUR SOCKS IN THE HAMPER!" Hmmm....eye-opening.
We've had a moratorium on excessive video game playing (for him) and mind-numbing tv watching (for me). We have 7 tv shows that are recorded on the dvr and these are the ONLY ones we are allowed to watch. He's doing really well on the no video game front...but I'm failing miserably on the tv-watching front. It's hard, man! REALLY hard! That is all up the beginning of September, so this habit MUST be the next one to break.
As I said, so far so good! I'll be updating as I go...What about you? What do you do to allow yourself more free time and a life free of stress and chaos?