August 20, 2011

I promise there was a basket of clean towels that just needed to be folded.

Hubs, being a good sport sent this to me yesterday morning.

And there's a pile of clean dishes that just need to be dried. And please just don't even go into the bathroom, okay.

I don't even know where to begin, sometimes I want to haul a dumspter up to the house and start shoveling stuff out the window. Or we could just light a match. It's not even about simplifying; I've filled my small home with only things I love and use but still. I will finally talk myself down from the ledge about it and nibble one bite at a time and then I walk out into the garage. Not any better in there and I'd really like to park my car in there by winter. Oh yeah, and then there's my car. Don't go in there either.

Starting in September, Jeff's mom wants to take Ivy on Mondays- all day. So I will be empty nesting it while the boys are in school. She probably got wind of her son having to use kid towels and was like we have to get this girl some help. Well, I'll take it.

I'm thankful my writing can be a paying job, and I'm so grateful for my family, our home and all my things. But I have got to rein it in somehow someway.  Do you have a "system" you go by? Do you dedicate one day a week to cleaning (and if so how do you keep it clean the other days of the week?!) Is this one of those things that won't even matter when I look back in ten years? Oh and also where do I even begin?

So that it's not all for naught, I'm indebted if you'd read this post that I wrote (and truly put my heart into) this week, would like for you to consider signing up for the newsletter here, check out my latest posts at Strollerderby, and if you find yourself with some time to watch a few short videos, my Listen To Your Mother show is waiting to inspire you right here.

Ta ta, I'm off to fold some towels.

For bed linens and quilts, visit CentrSource


  1. Jeff is such a good sport.
    I love that your MIL is taking Ivy one day a week! What a blessing for both of you.

  2. The Flylady helped me get my house in order. She advocates both baby steps to getting it clean and then daily routines to keeping it clean. My cluttered mind can only handle so much before exploding, and she made it really easy for me. "Go do this one thing right now. Then stop." It's so much easier to keep things in order now than it was with my old system. Now, since I'm caught up on laundry, I just do one load a day, first thing in the morning, and call it good. (Unless someone pees on something during the night, of course.) The only thing I DON'T like about her is the actual look of her website. It's pretty old school and doesn't have the sleek look I like in a website, but they're actually upgrading right now so hopefully it'll be better soon. :)

  3. Oh man, sounds our house. And yes, I also have the same goal of getting my car into the garage before winter!!! How do our lives become so cluttered??

  4. Your life = my life! I also have 3 boys in school (starting Tue.) and an almost 3 year old at home! I just hired a dear friend to take her on Tuesdays so I can work and clean and organize and... I'm sure it won't be enough hours, but at least it is something! I wouldn't want her to be away any more than that... I am sure I will miss her, but it is essential for my sanity.

  5. i work 3 days a week. Attempt to run a photog business on my days off. I cannot get a clean house. Cannot purge things. Cannot wait to spend my days off loving on my kids. Housework, though necessary, does not fulfill me. Wish I could figure it out too.

  6. Flylady will absolutely help! Check her out!

  7. your house sounds like my house. i purged my boys' room yesterday. 2 huge bags of throw-aways, and three huge bags of give-aways. it was horrible.


    at my MOPS group, we have a mentor who says, 'you do what you can'. that makes me feel a little better.

  8. I've used FlyLady in the past too, and some of the things really do help. :) I second doing laundry every day! I do my two loads a day to keep up. Sometimes it's just a small load of delicates or sheets or my hubby's workout clothes, but I need to do laundry every day for my sanity in that area... :) What a blessing to have your MIL help out with Ivy. We've NEVER lived near family since married, so sometimes I find myself wishing for those breaks of help, but really I've never known differently to do it all on my own!

    P.S. We have that same towel, looking pretty ratty too! Our ears have fallen off. :) Cute pic!

  9. I have found that I work better with lists and schedules. I am writing up things that need to get done to each room of the house and general chores that need done and assigning a day for them. At work we would call it side work, so I think I am going to call it that as well. I will probably have a binder or something and check stuff off each day. While I take my job, of being at home, seriously, I don't want to feel crushed by it. Maybe by calling it side work (while living life) I will be happier to do it.


  10. Having a day to clean has never really worked for me. I am terrible about keeping the house clean, but the one thing that has kind of worked is having a few things to do every day. That way if I miss a day, it's not my whole house that is a disaster. Also, CHORES! I mean, little things, but your kids can totally help - but even enlisting the help can totally seem like more work than just doing it yourself, I'm sure!

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  12. I clean one room or section of the house each day. It's not a perfect system bcs the house is always a little dirty somewhere at all times, but it keeps me from ever feeling completely overwhelmed. I try to do a big household de-clutter, organization binge twice a year and revisit/re-evaluate/adjust the organization systems for stuff then, so that keeping things in order is easier for everyone. And I'm trying to a) get the kids to clean up after themselves a bit more the older they get and b) learn to live with some messes throughout the day then have everyone participate in a massive clean-up right before dinner time. Some days we get it done, some days I'm dying a slow death-by-chaos by 3 PM and I just do it myself in a fit of compulsiveness.

    I can totally empathize with your dumpster-lust.

  13. Two things I do - first, everything has to have a place so the garage and basement got shelves. Second, I make a mental (or write down if it helps) list of small things that need to be done for the week. When they are done, I'm done. I keep them small so I can do them in a few stolen minutes and they rotate by week so the house stays *pretty much* kept up. For example one week might be: half bath, vacuum stairs, master bath, dust great room, vaccuum master.
    This is *mostly* working.
    And laundry? Um yeah, I do the best I can. ;)

  14. I'm with all the other ladies that said Flylady. I followed her baby steps and it really helped. I have falled a bit off the bandwagon since it's summertime, but I'm gearing back up because following a routine really does help me feel better. Good luck!

  15. I do not set aside a day for cleaning. But I try to do most of my cleaning on Fridays, the cleaning that does not get done daily. My girls (9,8) pick up and vacuum the living room floor everyday. My boys (7,5) pick up and vacuum the kitchen (tile) floor everyday. I do laundry all week and usually on the weekend the kids sort and then fold their own laundry. I fold towels, bedding, and grownup clothes. Things don't get folded as neatly as I would do it and clothes don't get on hangers quite right, but they are learning. Like I said, I try to clean bathrooms, my room, general stuff on Fridays, but also just as I feel moved to do it. There is always something that needs to be done and I have just made peace with that.

  16. How great that you will have your Mondays free to focus. You will get it together, I have faith in you.

  17. Lists and teamwork. I'm always formulating a list of a certain area that needs to be tackled. For example: our family room is in our basement. Its been sadly neglected this summer aside from a few quick pick ups. The 5 of us (husband & 3 kids) all did a complete clean the other night. We all worked together in less than a hour on a job that would have taken me half a day.
    Another way we clean is I make lists of what needs to be done. Toilets, bathroom counters, dusting, sweep kitchen floor, etc. We then divide & conquer. Again it takes a fraction of the time. We all pick a few items off the list and it gets done.
    My kids are currently 15, 12 & 9 and we've done this since the oldest has been in elementary school.
    My kids know that this is everyones house. Not just mom's to clean.
    Their bedrooms I tackle about 2x a year and the try and keep it picked up. Try is the operative word ;)

  18. I've always thought it would be nice to just open the doors and windows and using a fire hose throughout the house. As I've said before, no one, on his/her deathbed, wished they had cleaned the house better. There are some people who are just born with a knack of keeping things neat, clean and in the right places with just a flick of the dust cloth. Then there is the rest of us.

    How about getting Noah and Carter to vacuum? Boys/men are usually willing to run a machine. Forget about asking them to dust. Ask Ivy to dust baseboards; she might think it is fun. It's worth a try. And the dishes will dry themselves if you just let them sit and air dry - overnight is a good length of time.

    If people visit and don't think your house is ok, just exactly who did they come to see - you or an immaculate house? My Grandma and Grandpa Wilson always came to visit during our (Mom, Bruce and me) cleaning the house. My mom faithfully cleaned house EVERY Saturday - a ritual. It was very stressful indeed, because she also hated cleaning house and so did we. So I clean when I get "in the mood"because I do it better then.

  19. Gah, I suck at housework, but my kids come first (duh). I feel better if I have a clean kitchen and vacuum.

    The Vietnam Veterans of America will drive to your house and pick up donations and leave a receipt twice a week. I donate to them at least once a week, this is the only way I can stay on top of the junk and clothes that we no longer use.

    This has to get easier, right? If it doesn't, meh. The will all move out one day and my heart will be broken in my oh so very clean house. :)


  20. I won't write you a book on how I keep our house clean and tidy. The "short and sweet" answer is that I do a little cleaning everyday and that I try to never let it get our of hand. I get overwhelmed easily and if I keep up on the house, I feel comfortable and I enjoy our home more. I have a weekly cleaning schedule that I go by and I do a small amount of cleaning each day. That way it never gets way out of hand. Figure out a schedule that works for you, get caught up and then make yourself stick with the routine. :) Good luck!!

  21. I don't know...I keep my downstairs pretty clean, usually...because that is where we spend most of our time, and that is where guests will see if they come over. But the upstairs. OMG. Its horrible. horrible. horrible. I tend to like to tell myself that my kids are only little once and we enjoy the time we spend playing together ( playing downstairs, going to parks, swimming, museums, ect )....its just not possible to do all the stuff with my kids, and give them the attention they deserve, and also keep a perfectly spotless house. I just hope to one day be able to afford a cleaning service. LOL.


    That is my answer so to speak.

    As far as a system, I deep clean almost every Sunday, do most of the laundry, and all of the dishes.

    The rest of the week I clean for an hour after J goes to bed and will target several things that need doing during that time.

    But really, seriously, it won't matter in ten years....kid towels or not. ;-)

  23. I try to chip away a little at a time, and about once a day I have to motivate myself to stand up and REALLY tackle mess (and I mean really, none of that flitting from room to room getting lost in little projects like I so like to do...) IF I work a little a day, with a serious burst of energy at least once in the evening, I find that it stays pretty manageable.

    The other thing - I do a load of laundry every day instead of letting it all pile up, make my kids load/unload the dishwasher, and usually spend an hour or two on Saturday tidying or attacking a bigger project, like a closet.

  24. A couple of my mom friends have gotten their household lives "together" with the help of Fly Lady.

    One mom friend suffered from post-pardum depression and this website helped her get her life back in control. It was awesome to witness and an answered prayer.

  25. I clean that is a good clean once a week and the rest of the week I just keep it looking orderly. Of course 2 kids are different than 4!

  26. House cleaning is a tough one! Most of the time (summertime is harder) I deep clean once a week and the rest of the week we all straight up things before bed.

  27. I'm not even sure if I can express how awesome that pic is! HA HA HA!!!

    I don't have a system. I try to keep the kitchen and bathrooms fairly clean and we do laundry only once a week (because I hate it) unless there's an "accident" or whatever else.

    The worst thing here (and I'm sure you have it too) is the paper clutter from mail and school papers. I do my best to go through it once a week. It's crazy though!!!

  28. Been feeling very much inundated with stuff and commitments {even now that I've simplified -- what does that mean anyway?} and people running around my house. As I was laying this out there to two of my good friends on the phone, it just kind of struck us all that if the day doesn't get off to a good start, the whole thing seems kind of lost. So I decided to take the first three hours of the day solely for my family and for the upkeep of our house. It's been working out really well ... and I find I am often way more productive with my online time and writing with that strategy. Anyway, Mondays will be helpful.

  29. I used to keep Monday commitment free and do all my housework on that day. It was actually restful to not freak out about the dog hair under the couch and the nasty toilet because I knew it would all be resolved on Monday.

    That said, it was both a blessing and a curse. I loved the consistency and, in a way, Mondays became my Sabbath. It was a day for me to work with my hands, serve my family, not worry about the "outside" world at all. But near the end, it felt like having a clean house became an idol. I almost felt imprisoned by my urge to clean every Monday. Weird?

    This past year, I've tried to relax the "every Monday" mantra and just clean, do laundry, etc. once a week. But it's hard to duplicate anyone else's system, n'est pas? Organization is so personal.


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