9.07.2012



At least, that is what I am trying to tell myself. Did I even get the saying right? Anyone know who to credit it with?

I really like a tidy house. Messes make me twitchy and feel unorganized and stressed.

But now more than ever, we let it go. I try and embrace this, but it is so hard. If someone were to drop by today, I would be mortified. I don't want to be mortified when my friends come over, so something has to change. Do I change our habits, or change my feelings about them?

Which is harder? Which would lead to better results in creating the life we want to live for our family? Something that has (obviously) been on my mind almost constantly.

What kind of approach do you take?

24 comments:

  1. I let things fall apart during the week when I'm tired from working, and on the weekends I get it together and clean for a few hours. And by clean I mean I put things away. Let's not talking about real cleaning, because when is that supposed to get done exactly? Haha :)

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  2. it's funny, i just wrote about this. you can certainly drive yourself insane over a messy house. i've tried to focus more on making sure my house is clean enough for visitors, and let the tidiness issue rest a bit. when you have kids, tidiness is a constant battle, but generally speaking, a bathroom only needs cleaned once a week to seem worthy of unexpected visitors. when you think about it on those terms, it's a lot easier to keep your house clean than tidy. i also try to tidy all the toys and as much as i have the energy for at the end of the day when the kids are in bed, and also try to leave the kitchen wiped down and dishes washed. hope this helps! it's so hard to find what works for your family, but i'm sure you will!

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  3. I need clear surfaces. So I would establish areas in each room as mess corrals, if you will. At the end of every day or two I'd move all mess (read toys) into that little area. Like altars to toddler creativity, they were. Grownups were not allowed to create mess in the shared areas...

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  4. Scheduling.

    I dedicated 20 minutes at the end of the day (post-dinner, pre-walk and baths) to picking up with the little ones. Also, having a specific place for everything helped with them and helps with me. In a pinch, a big basket solves all.

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  5. oooh. Same thing with me right now. I couldn't sleep last night thinking about the messes all around the house. I'm just so exhausted!! Between working, freelance and a toddler, LORD HELP ME! It's not worth it to stress over it... right? That's what I try to tell myself. Good luck to you!

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  6. God, I'm that tidy person, too. Nick doesn't get why I would be embarrassed by a messy home, but I *need* it to be clean!

    I do the method of 5 or 10 minutes of dedicated time per day set aside. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you focus exclusively on that one task! At first, you don't get a lot done, but after the first day or two, it turns into just maintenance.

    Oh, and I also take the time to at least rinse dishes well before they go in the sink so that it goes faster later.

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  7. it's hard. our last place turned into such a shit hole because we had simply outgrown the place. the best we could ever get it to was creating somewhat organized piles of our stuff everywhere. it was not cool. this time around, we are FORCING ourselves to make the time to keep things in relative order... especially now that we have the space. the truth is, and i've known this all along, if you work at it every day, it's really not very difficult or time consuming. we take maybe 15-20 minutes a day to clean/organize, and between the two of us we can cover a lot of ground. when you get it to the point where it's going to take you 2+ hours to clean your place up, it feels like such a nuisance and you let it slide. we've also set some ground rules...

    1. all of cheech's toys go in her room. she gets a small basket of stuff/books that she can take in and play with in the living room. this keeps our living space not looking like a daycare center, and it also encourages her to hang out in her room.

    2. ALL meals are eaten at the table. like most households, our dining table can easily become the space in our house that just collects random shit. in our old place, it got easy to say, "let's just eat on the couch", in order to avoid cleaning up the mess. but we've made sure that eating on the couch is no longer an option. sure, i'll let cheech snack on apple slices in the living room if she wants, but actual meals are ALWAYS at that table. it encourages us to keep our table clear, it makes it easier to keep control of the dishes, and i'm assuming it's teaching our kid healthy eating habits.

    3. dishes are done every day, period. no ifs, ands, or buts about it. we already had this rule, but are making sure to enforce it here, too. our last place had the thinnest walls, so we could only do them while cheech was awake, but if one of us was washing and the other was entertaining her, it wasn't too hard.

    4. shoes come off at the door and stay at the door until we leave. a friend of mine had heard on some program on NPR that taking your shoes off at the door and remaining shoeless in your home can cut down about 90% of the pollutants and toxins your child is exposed to. i started doing it for that reason, and because there were always shoe EVERYWHERE, but i've also noticed a significant decrease in dust. i can deal with a little bit of clutter, but dust drives me up the fucking wall.

    we do have a toddler living in this house, so obviously, the place is far from perfect. but taking the time and setting up some rules had helped significantly.

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  8. Well, we don't have kids, but we still manage to get pretty messy. I'm way less tolerant than D, so we have to compromise.

    Like Celia, dishes are done everyday, sometimes multiple times a day. I'm zero tolerance on a messy kitchen. It drives me completely insane, so that's non-negotiable.

    We set up our entryway so that we have a starting advantage. A crate for shoes, hooks for bags and jackets, bowl for keys and change. Note that this somehow doesn't stop D from leaving shoes at random places all over the living room. I have no idea what is going on there, but at least it's easy to toss them in the crate.

    Our dining table is a constant mess. I think I need to adopt Celia's rule.

    Can you look around and figure out what is generally causing the mess and then see if there's a quick solution? Bins for toys, hooks for clothes, credenza drawer for papers + laptops?

    I don't know - I'm sure this is about 12 million times harder with a kid, so I probably shouldn't even be commenting!

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  9. I should adopt that saying whenever anyone asks why my things are all over the floor! I love it!

    I tend to let everything fall wherever it wants to during the week and when I have time over the weekend, I put it all back where it's supposed to be. I actually have an alarm on my phone that alerts me when it's "laundry time" or "clean the bathtub day". It helps.

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  10. The BEST thing we came up with (pre-baby) is what we call The Shake and Sweep Lifestyle. Dishes done, surfaces wiped, and kitchen rug shaken and the floor swept. Same goes for the bathroom. It goes way quicker than you think and most importantly feels so much better to wake up to at least a tidy kitchen and bathroom. Now that we have a one-year old, we pick up toys before bed. We each wear headphones and listen to music and go for it. It takes about 20 minutes and it changed our life. Also, a good ol' fashioned stuff-purge makes things easier to manage.

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  11. I believe the credit goes to Zazzle

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  12. I too like a tidy house. That being said- I have no problem choosing a social engagement over cleaning my house.

    I think if you set 15 minutes aside to 'tidy' you will be surprised at how much you can get done in a short amount of time.

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  13. I do the 20min a day thing. I did a post about it here(http://desimckinnon.blogspot.com/2011/11/20-minutes-to-clean.html). It really helps to alert or remind myself. Also when I feel myself getting too sucked into social media, I just set my timer and go for a task. Getting rid of stuff helps too, which I already saw that you are doing that.

    Also remember that no one and I mean no one is going to think your house is as messy/dirty as you do. I'm pretty sure that when you go to friends' houses you're not judging them for any of those transgressions. Give yourself a break.

    With that said I feel you.

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  14. I love that quote. My husband is a neat freak so I keep the house up pretty well, but if he's away it tends to get a little messy (even tough messes bother me too). Every now and then I get into the cleaning mood, but normally I'd rather be out doing something fun.

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  15. We are in the same boat. I've been trying to relax into the mess because it's just part of the life stage we're in. I'm really organized so all the stuff that CAN be put away, does get put away (at least once a day or so?), but the toddler scatters things all day long and I have about 15 projects going at a time and there isn't anywhere to really put that stuff AWAY when you live in a small place. Add two tired parents and a dog and a cat and I have anxiety about anyone dropping by for an unannounced visit.

    Solution? I'll let you know if I figure it out. I just need to finish some damn projects first.

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  16. The only way to deal with it is on a daily basis otherwise it gets too big and stressful. The fact it plays on your mind enough to write a post means it might be kinda hard to "change your feelings about it". I do the dishes every day & tidy the days debris before my 2 boys do bath & bed each day. All the family admin (bills, invoices, tax etc) happens when possible. You are in a different boat working )(until recently) but damn its so much better for my head & outlook to wake up to some order. Then again I am also the tragic who lays out the boys clothes the night before and pre-makes the cafetiere but we are living in Africa where the 3 year old starts pre-school at 7:45am and its the only way I can get the 3 of us out the door in time, breast-feed included. Good luck. x

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  17. I relegate my mess to the bedroom that no one sees when they come over. That's fairly easy to maintain. I clean that mess maybe once or twice a week. It's mostly clothes. That's the hardest thing for me, putting clean clothes away.

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  18. There are just SOME DAYS when the twitchiness turns to rage.

    I try to be flexible, because, yeah, there is a lot of living to do. But fruit flies, junk laying about, and clumps (not puffs, CLUMPS) of cat hair make me want to screech.

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  19. Oh God I hear ya!
    I work during the week, and get a cleaner every 2 weeks to wash my wooden floors( the middle-class-ness of it makes me shiver) and I just keep on top of it when I can, as long as its not too filthy Im doing ok. But If Im stressed or under pressure it really stresses me out, piles of clothes to be cleaned, washed, fixed, put in the attic, toys freakin' everywhere, plants drying out needing to be re potted, pantry to be reorgansied..etc etc..Im off next weekend with work and intent taking a sneaky day off when I return, ( kiddos with the minder) and Im getting stuck in with my list and then Ill be happy living a simpler more organised life.... right??

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  20. I'll add, it does get better as the kids get older! Mine are now 11 and 8 - and the stuff that seemed to take over our lives when they were little has greatly diminished. And they spend much more time on their own outside etc. Activities aren't always set up so that I can keep an eye on them as I did when they were wee. I'll add that keeping it to a semblance of tidiness I think is something they pick up on, and add to their own personal expectations of what is presentable and what isn't - not only at home, but it how they put together themselves, their school desk and so on... Its not easy though!

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  21. I really, really, really want it to be true. Because my house is a dump. But I have better things to do!

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  22. i have stopped hiding toys in our food (mostly), and i leave my sports bra on the balcony instead of on the towel rack when i get back from the gym. it's a start.

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  23. I was just crying at the dinner table over this exact issue last night! I feel like I'm the only person who ever sees how dirty the floors get. I think it's because I walk around barefoot in the house and everyone else wears shoes. But I hate that something like a messy floor would turn me into a depressed, blubbery mess, so I'm trying to change my attitude first and hope my house doesn't go to hell in the process.

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  24. I am not that great about keeping our house in perfect order, especially between school and work and needing to eat and sleep, but I feel a lot more peaceful when it is, so I try to take a little time each day to do some sort of tidying and then I breathe deep and close my eyes and imagine I live in an all white house with a maid.

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