Learning to Love and Clean a Small House

A little house, a little room,
To keep it swept, a little broom,
A little carpet on the floor,
A little curtain at the door,
A little bed, a little chest,
A little chair, to muse and rest,
A little larder, snug and tight,
A little lamp, when it is night,
A little table, and oh please!
A little bread and a little cheese.
            From the book Hickory, by Palmer Brown   

I used to dislike my husband's home.  I felt trapped.  It was small, dark and ugly.  Crowded with inherited furniture and lots of junk.  Even though it was similar to the home I had bought 7 miles away, it was in sad shape and did not get enough natural sunlight.  I was totally depressed…again.

I’ve now been home with my son for five years and I can finally say that my house stays cleaner longer than three hours and that I love my home!  I have finally accepted this house and my attitude change has opened new doors in my imagination on how to solve many of the small and incessant problems that had plagued me.

I had prayed for quite a few years about wanting to love my house, but it wasn’t until I asked a friend to pray for me about it that something in me finally changed.  I prayed for acceptance, and with acceptance came a better attitude.  With attitude came imagination, and with imagination came elbow grease.  With elbow grease, came peace. (You can alter your life by altering your attitude.  ~Unknown)

I needed more than decluttering.  I needed grime removal.  The house overwhelmed me – it had been abandoned for six years with a window open…everything was filthy, even after many scrubbings.  The floors have been replaced, carpet pulled up to reveal hardwood (still in need of polishing) and while we need to repaint again, the first coat did much to boost our spirits.

Things also happened that we never dreamed possible – the neighbors pruned their light-blocking trees, and another painted his home yellow.  When he did this, suddenly I could see sunshine yellow out MY window – I hadn’t realized how his prior dingy brown had affected my mood.

This grime removal has taken seven years so far, and we still have several problem spots to go!  Before grime removal, we had to declutter the home, which was floor to ceiling junk in most rooms, and each drawer was stuffed with twist ties, candles, jars, cleaning products from each decade (I kept the glass Windex bottles).

The day I came home from our honeymoon, my hubby went to Home Depot, and I sat down and cried.  I was so overwhelmed!  Where to start?  The kitchen sink, of course.  (Sink Reflections)  I began with FlyLady, but in this house, FlyLady wasn’t enough.  I had never done more than dust and vacuum.  I had so much to learn.  FlyLady kept saying that we all knew how to clean, we just needed to do it.  I needed more instruction on how to clean and “keep house,” and a book called Home Comforts helped quite a bit, as well as a book called Keeping House

Keeping House is by Cindy Harris and is a beautifully bound book with inspiring pictures. It is filled with lists and I had many aha! moments on how to run my house.  This book goes further than FlyLady (though no one can beat FlyLady’s enthusiasm!).  It also has pockets at each chapter to hold your notes.  I would feel inspired to start just by picking up the book.

Home Comforts covers just about everything in the house and how to clean it, and it was written by one woman – Cheryl Mendelson.  Her dedication shines through in this book making it an enjoyable read.  I don’t recommend Martha’s huge cleaning book because that was written by many people and the book is only helpful if you have a mansion and your staff needs instruction.  Home Comforts is about creating a HOME. 
 Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping HouseKeeping House: Hints and Tips for a Beautifully Clean HomeSink Reflections
I believe that much of what you need to know about cleaning and running a home are found in these books.

A small home means less to clean!  Fewer bedrooms, bathrooms, windows and floor space.  Less furniture to dust.  Fewer places to store excess, clutter and outgrown clothes.  Lower property taxes!  Lower mortgage payments!  Smaller insurance payments!

Now I am able to look upon my small home as a bungalow.  I don’t have any woodland animals to help me clean it, but people have remarked that I look as happy as Snow White.  And I feel like I’ve reached my happily ever after.

Picture of dream house (top):  http://retrorenovation.com/2008/10/20/1950-american-dream-houses-we-start-a-new-series/

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