6.04.2011

Organization and Doing Hard Things First

RetroRenovation.com
I have always wanted to be “at home” and so I am reveling in it.  I thoroughly enjoy each day.  I know I have taken excellent care of our son, and myself….but my husband and our home?  Well, I had wimped out.  It “wasn’t my fault” I came into a dirty, cluttered up house.

I have always wanted to care for my home, and did just fine before I married my husband.  I enjoyed cleaning, laundry, and decorating to a degree.  I’d get up early and bake muffins and light candles and dream about the future.  After I got married and real-life hit, I wasn’t quite so good as I thought I would be about being a homemaker.  It was easy to just pick up after me, but do HIS laundry?  Clean up his kitchen messes?  I certainly was not his slave, and I was feeling like a martyr. 

Once I “came home” I first adjusted my attitude, realizing that while I finally had my dream of being home, my husband still had to go off to work.  (He still has to arise every day to meet a deadline, he can’t nap after spending two hours at the park, he is limited to eating what he can bring to work or by how much cash is in his wallet, he has to drive to and fro, he can’t pick and choose activities and appointments and the time to meet.)

Organizing from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your LifeI realized that picking up after him wasn’t that big a deal, as long as he wasn’t purposefully being difficult (he wasn't).  Then I tried to meet him where he was, by trying out laundry baskets in strategic dropping places.  (Update - he always uses baskets now!)

I gave a lot away, and I assigned homeless objects to permanent places.  I sat down and began planning my rooms and their functions, and thought out and implemented ways to make our home run better and look nicer, like putting all our cell, video, etc. cords into baggies inside a pretty wooden bread box under the outlet we charge them in.

I used Julia Morgenstern’s Organizing From the Inside Out to help me – and DID the steps.  It was difficult to take time out from stashing my clutter to plan, but the plans I put into place after completing her steps ON PAPER are still working today, several years later.  When you consciously prepare and plan to take care of life, it frees you to live your life.

I took an online class from Nikki Hunter on homemaking.  Before, I felt like I cleaned and cleaned but my house would be messy again in 2 days…or 3 hours.  I was always overwhelmed.  The first assignment was to choose one room at a time and detail clean it.  I chose to do my most difficult room FIRST (the kitchen), instead of doing the easiest room (our bedroom) like I usually do.  I did a concentrated focus, while listening to a book on tape, and put everything else on hold.  I put it on my calendar and cleared out the time.  It took 10 hours the first day and 7 hours the next.  I was shocked it took so long, and didn’t realize I had so many kitchen cabinets.  But everything is DONE and looks fantastic.  Instead of rushing around daily picking up things and trying to do the entire house, I detail cleaned each room, building on top of each other. (Update - 4 years later, I'm still benefiting from this decluttering and detailed cleaning day.)

Because I have a clean base to start from, I have been able to keep on top of the dishes and daily finish each chore without getting sidetracked.  This allowed me to move on to the bathroom.  It has now been purged of excess and is squeaky clean.  Next came the living and dining rooms, and with so many now clear horizontal surfaces, the place looks bigger and it is easier to clean.  I haven’t touched the junk room and patio room yet, but they will be done, too, eventually!   Fully completing these rooms and not moving on to new rooms until one was finished, worked wonders. 

I know I am living my life to the fullest.  I am no longer running around shopping, trying to make my house look better with cute things I could buy.  I am no longer neglecting the household chores that were “too difficult” for little ol’ delicate me.  I’ve put away crafts that took too much time.  I still read, but I take my job in the home seriously, and my house is really beginning to come together. I wish the same peace for you!

If we don’t own it, we don’t have to take care of it, and we have more time to do what we want.  ~Kathy Peel, The Family Manager

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