Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Borrowed Time

A while ago I had mentioned that I wanted to get my life more organized and to have things operate more efficiently. As I am not naturally a systematic thinker, but more a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl, this has been a struggle.

Two and a half years ago, before I got pregnant with Beckett, I began using the FlyLady routines and that helped me tremendously. As I've said before, though, my morning sickness and first trimester exhaustion knocked me off my routines and I just never got back into it.

For the last week or two, I've been using the Messies Anonymous method. It's similar to FlyLady in terms of de-cluttering your home. In fact, I'm not really sure that there's much difference at all. MA really does focus on folks who might be considered chronically disorganized. But two of the philosophies of the group really have clicked with me and seem to be making a difference in making all the housework required to keep this show on the road a bit easier.

The first rule is kind of obvious to those of you who got the neat gene: Stow as you go. Simple, right? I just always thought why stop what you're doing to put things away when you can come back and do it when you're finished with whatever else you're working on. The problem is that there are too many distractions. Later somehow never comes. I've been following this rule and it's making a ton of difference.

The other rule is If it takes less than 30 seconds to do, go ahead and do it. The same logic applies. Later never comes, so you might as well do it now.

These two philosophies along with their mantra of babysteps are really helping me.

Yesterday, I was able to keep our kitchen and living room clean all day without doing anything major to them. I cooked three meatloaves – one for us, one to freeze, and one for a friend who just had a baby – a large pot of green beans, and homemade mashed potatoes, and made cupcakes, and had everything in the dishwasher or cleaned and put away by 7:30. I got both boys in the tub, and although Beckett didn't make it to bed until 9 p.m., Brendan was in his bed by 8:30.

Scott and I were able to hang out and talk while he played Wii and I worked out for the first time in ages.

My big hang up has been that it takes so long to clean up and get the boys in bed after dinner. Scott doesn't get home until after 7 most nights and he's worn out from his day and has work of his own that needs to get done. I have felt like I was worn out and brain dead by the time I would get dinner on the table, fight with Brendan over eating, get the dishes in the sink, get the boys bathed and in bed. Then I would have to come back to the kitchen to clean, by myself, which is a lonely place to be when your husband is upstairs trying to recover from his long day. I hated it, so many nights, I'd just get everything in the sink, put away the leftovers, and leave everything else 'til morning. Then, I'd wake up behind the gun with a dirty kitchen. And so the cycle would continue.

These last several days of waking to a clean, uncluttered kitchen and living room have been wonderful. I feel much more in control and relaxed. On Saturday, when I woke to a sink full of dishes left from preparing food to take to a party Friday night, I felt de-energized and despondent all day.

I hope I can keep up on this path of getting things done. We'll see. I am definitely a convert to taking care of things as you go along instead of letting it pile up. It seems to be making all the difference.


Suz said...

Ohhh..could you talk to D? :) He just moved in, and his "messies anonymous" personality is driving me, the queen of obsessive neatness, INSANE. He especially needs to learn stow as you go, and experience the calm, in control feeling of his things in order. He's trying, but it sure has become a whole new ball game keeping house with him living in it!

Kel said...

Yay for you...that sounds like quite a day (my kitchen would have been a mess), but it seem like you had it all under control. Way to go!!

Usually I'm pretty organized, I get a little OCD when too much stuff is out of its place, but like you, it is a lot of work to keep it just so.

Good luck!

FearandParentinginLasVegas said...

great suggestions. I am usually the uber organizer, but I've become too reliant on my twice-a-month-housekeeper. She's out of commission and I suddenly have turned into a slob. Thanks for empowering me to fight the clutter!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like it's really working for you. That's great! I learned many years ago to the clean as you go method. I much prefer that to having a mountain to tackle at the end.

Good luck to sticking with it!

Tara said...

Good for you!

Flylady didn't work for me some years ago, but I'm going to give Messies Anon a try. Thanks for the tip!