There are days I look around my house and am simply disgusted by the messes everywhere. I get anxious and overwhelmed and feel there is so much to do that it's easier to just do nothing. Then there are days that inspiration hits me and I find myself flying through the house organizing and cleaning and yelling like a drill sargent to get my family to follow suit. Especially if people are coming over. Yeah, not a proud trait but a truthful picture none the less. I've mellowed down quite a bit over the years and have come to accept that my house will always be less than perfect and that is ok. I have 3 kids and often a million things on my plate for goodness sakes! But come on, you know you do it too. Someone's on their way and you do the sweep through to make sure everything looks ok and in place. Relate much?
It must be ingrained somehow to care about what other people think...and it's frustrating sometimes. As much as I want to say "Hey this is me, the real deal, what you see is what you get" I can't help but run around straightening and picking up.
For me personally, it stems from the realization of all the things that aren't done, that should have been done when I lacked the self-discipline to do them.
Ouch. Talk about a reality check.
So ok, let's solve the problem. How can we avoid this situation? Get our homes in working order enough on a daily basis to avoid ninja jumping over the coffee table to sweep the last of the kids' toys cars under the couch before we open door? Easy. Have a plan. Then, and this is important so take notes because if you only have a plan and ignore the second step the plan will become obsolete. Ready? EXECUTE THE PLAN.
It will be different for everyone but let's start with a basic layout here. And remember this is only to help in keeping the house presentable. This isn't touching on the day to day chores we, ahem, "should" be doing alongside.
- Assess the parts of the house that people see. Go ahead, take a walk through. Front door to living room/kitchen. What do you notice? Is it kids' toys strewn about? Papers? Mail? Dirty dishes here and there? All of the above? (*raising hand*)
- Identify your three biggest obstacles to having a neat looking home. For me it's the toys, papers and dishes (hence my examples above, they are staring me down at the moment).
- Figure out a system for each obstacle.
- Example: Is there a location for toys in this area of the house? Does there need to be? Sometimes adding a bin here or there can make a world of difference. I love those little square ottoman things that you can use for storage inside. Lovely toy boxes and no one will ever know.
- Example: If the kids are playing with toys most of the day then it will probably just be silly to do a sweep at noon while they are playing. But you can monitor and make sure the unused ones are put away at a particular hour (or time frame).
- Example: If you have a habit of throwing the mail on the counter everyday, then after you normally get it would be a great time to tackle the mail/papers. Sort the mail immediately: Throw away. Needs attention. File. Shred.
Remember, they say that to develop a habit it takes 21 days. You can do this for 21 days! Once you get it down each simple task will be just that = simple! It will take all of a few minutes each day to keep your home looking organized and YOU more stress free. Sit back and see how much this helps you take back some control (but don't sit too long).
Overwhelming at first? Heck yeah. But hey, all growth comes with a bit of a price and a push out of our comfort zone doesn't it? If it helps (and things are really that bad) choose just ONE area to tackle. Once the habit is formed, your confidence will be up to tackle the next one.
Can you relate? Are you ready for the challenge? Let's do this together!