Housekeeping over the years

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Housekeeping drove me crazy over the years. I knew homes need to be clean. I've never been the person to love that chore. In College, I learned that Saturday was the best day to clean my room. I did not have a roommate, so I cleaned the place for myself. I also washed my clothes on Saturdays after my break from work. 

When I graduated, I shared a duplex with a roommate. She was there first, so the rules were: no dishes in the sink overnight, and we each clean the entire place (except for the other's room) the other month. 

When I graduated, I lived in a tiny little place. 6 months later I was married to the love of my life and I guess that's when I officially become responsible for the housekeeping of an entire family. 

Before the kids were born, it was tough. My major problem was with paperwork. One weekend, I decided to organize everything, one hour at a time. I even wrote about it. I called "the power of one hour." Here is a before and after photo of my results. 

Organizing that paperwork gave me encouragement to know that I could conquer that major issue with clutter. What I didn't know then was that cleaning and organizing a home takes time and effort. 

Sometimes, you just don't have a lot of time. But things need to be done anyway. I remember starting a new job in my now new hometown. While I was job searching, I spent time cleaning, organizing things, cooking, taking care of the family, and volunteering at church. Once I started working full-time, I had little time for cleaning. I needed to clean anyway. 

I learned to prioritize my projects. I knew from past experience that when everything is chaotic, I need to start with laundry and food. That's how you go from overwhelmed to organized. I did that a lot. When I was chronically busy, I made sure there was food on the table and the laundry was done. These two simple chores helped me to properly care for the family, myself, and make progress with everything else I had going on.

I learned that sometimes, you just do not have time to invest in organizing things. I wrote a blog post with creative ways to organize your home. I used one of the strategies last week. A few weeks ago, I had a few service people at our house often. I had 3 clothes hampers filled with clothes day after day outside of our laundry room. I decided that the service people did not need to see those hampers week after week so, I decided to store them in the linen closet. I  used the strategies of "hide some stuff" and "ignore it until you can do something about it." Hiding made the space look cleaner. Ignoring the issue helped me wait until I had time to take care of the problem.

Well, I had some extra time last week and I was able to completely take care of those 3 clothes hampers. 

A second issue I had was the thought that if I only had help, housekeeping will be easier. I've had seasons when I was doing everything by myself as a stay-at-home mom. I've had occasional help as a SAHM. I also had seasons when I was working full-time and cleaning full-time. I also know what it means to work full time and have the help of a housekeeper. Housekeeping never got easier: I got smarter. 

I found smart solutions, whether I had help or not. I made peace with repeating those strategies over and over again. I also learned to teach those strategies to the kids. Their help has made a world of difference. 

Housekeeping used to drive me crazy. I have learned which strategies I need to succeed.