My clean-enough home

I wanted to write a follow-up to my earlier post about my attempts to really get my home under control.  As I mentioned before, I am not the clean one.  But I am the wife and additionally, I only work part-time now, so it really does fall on me to manage things around our home, even if it’s not a natural fit for my abilities.

So far, I’ve been way more successful in keeping house than at any time since we had Liam, and probably any time since ever.  It’s not perfect.  The floors got pretty crunchy this week before I got to vacuum them on Friday, but I think that’s the worst thing I have to report.  I have found that there is a lot of good advice out there on the internet, and I can’t claim to have discovered any new truths.  What is working for me right now is cleaning things while I wait on other things, just doing things that only take a couple of minutes, and occasionally just deciding to do something for a set period of time, like 10 or 15 minutes.  I’m finding it surprising just how much I can get done in that short amount of time, when I haven’t put it off for a long time.  I made myself a cleanliness resolution: To wash all dishes and wipe down countertops every night before bed.  I found that is a lot of work when I’m the only one doing it, and so I haven’t kept my resolution perfectly, but I’m finding that if I clean every night that we cook, even if I don’t get to everything, then it doesn’t take as much work for me to finish up the cleaning when I do get back to it. It has been everything I’d dreamed it would be.  When one of us goes to cook now, there’s either no cleanup to be done beforehand, or there’s not much.  I believe we both feel more inspired to cook when we can just get right to it, instead of having to spend an hour clearing space in the kitchen before we even begin our recipes.  This has led to an increase in cooking and also to an increase in baking.  Also, a decrease in convenience-food eating.  Did I mention there has been an increase in Mike’s cooking?  That guy loves to cook, but hadn’t done much in the kitchen in a long time.  But he cooked and tried new recipes out each of the last two weekends.  Yummy!  Oh, and Mike has started helping with the clean-kitchen resolution, which makes it lots easier to keep.  It’s clean right now.

What has been difficult for me has been remembering not to procrastinate.  I’ve decided to stop doing it, I’m totally convicted, but procrastination is a lifelong habit for me as well as a vice.  I often feel like I would do better with not doing it if I could put up a big dry-erase board in a prominent location in my home and write some inspiring saying on it reminding myself to just do whatever already.  For some reason, Mike hasn’t been too keen on this idea.  As our resident design guru, I am loathe to argue with him on matters of taste and so I currently have no active reminders.  I did see a cool product that would be a neat compromise between hanging a dry-erase board and having nothing to remind us of stuff. I found it in a Target store.  It was a pack of large dry-erase dots that cling to your wall, so they don’t require hanging or painting or anything like that.  When we repaint our kitchen, we may pick some of those up.

In other parts of the house, my dining-room table is beginning to fill back up, though it’s nothing I couldn’t fix in half an hour if it were on my radar.  My bills are taking over the kitchen because I didn’t put a bill slot in my mail-filing folder.  I did that so we wouldn’t put bills away and then have them out of sight and out of mind.  I need to just decide where I would like the bills to go before they are paid, given that I don’t consider a new bill to be a drop-everything-emergency.  My dresser has collected a few extra items, but I can still see most of it, it gets dusted regularly, and possibly the most important thing is that the clutter up there is no longer enticing Mike to add to it.

On the whole, the house sometimes gets dirty in between being cleaned, but it hasn’t gone out of control and that means it never takes as much time and effort as it used to to bring things back to a level we can be comfortable with.  It doesn’t have to ever be perfect.  But as long as we’re not attracting bugs and could have company over without too much advance panic, it’s good enough for the three of us.  And all it took was me deciding to stop procrastinating.  And complaining.  And telling myself it’s too much work to keep house and take care of Liam and work part-time.

On another note, as the countdown to the end of the month begins, it appears that we will accomplish our financial goals for the month, which included a savings component for an upcoming vacation.  I hope I’m right about that, because I will be really proud of myself if we save money after the emergency air-conditioning repair bill we got on the 3rd (ouch)!

What truths have been helpful to you in your housekeeping adventure?  What have you tried that hasn’t worked out for you?  Do you have an advice on getting little kids to help clean up?  I could use some help with that one.

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