I have come back from our three weeks’ holiday to France full of energy for the year ahead, at least that’s what it feels like two days after we’ve returned. Long may it last!
I walked into the house and got an eerie feeling of familiarity and strangeness. Then it hit me: everything was so tidy… Our lovely house-sitters did the most marvelous job of cleaning out the mess within; I suspect it looked like the most obvious way to treat us. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I am at the thought of what the bedroom looked like before the clothes were put away.
I’ve been meaning to get to the bottom of my untidiness for years, but it never goes off the ground for the simple reason that I struggle with the most basic of tasks. I dislike all housekeeping (apart from cooking) and am inherently a bit lazy. I don’t say this lightly either, if I have a choice between sitting at the laptop or picking up laundry, I will choose the computer every time and this attitude is never going to be conducive to a tidy house. I do like a home to look lived in but my standards are so incredibly low that even I start to get twitchy when the floor disappears under toys and old socks.
I talked about this problem of mine a couple of years ago when I was trying to think of ways I could contribute financially to the household and get the house in order during my maternity leave . My cleaning aspirations died a couple of months in when I failed to follow-through with laminating the weekly list I’d created. I need visual help to keep motivated and on track with my goals, so I just completely forgot about it. The menu planning, I’m pleased to say, is going strong despite the fact that I never did create the pretty menu planning board I wanted. As for this idea I had that I could tutor at home with two children under five in the house; yeah, they soon put me right about that hare-brained scheme…
So what’s the plan?
This time, I am not just going to half-think about this. I have a proper plan to tackle the clutter that we live in.
- The first step was the purchase of a home organisation reference book to help me clarify my thinking and provide me with some practical tips and tools. I know I can find a million things on the internet, but I needed something tangible and all in one place. I decided on Organized Simplicity: A Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider. The title alone pretty much summarises what I am aiming for. It’s about simplifying my life and getting rid of clutter so I can focus about what matters to me the most. It includes a step-by-step ten-day plan to organise every room in your house, instructions and templates to create a home management notebook and recipes for making cheap non-toxic household cleaners.
- The second step was to gather a few stationery supplies to put together a paper gathering system. I am in the process of building up a concertina folder for all the paperwork that requires action: bills, appointments to confirm, receipts for the month. OK, maybe not that last one because I live like a teenager and my budget management is pretty threadbare but maybe some day I will have a plan for that.
- In my handbag, I now have a (French!) Sept 2014 to Dec 2015 diary that contains areas for weekly menu planning and to-do lists as well as a monthly summary and overall objective setting. It is similar to this UK offering: 2015 Organised Mum Family Life Book diary (Starts mid-Aug ’14 until Dec ’15). I will use it for all of the above and as a daily appointment schedule. Alongside this, I will also keep a small A5 project notebook with dividers to jot down any ideas and clarify my thought process.
- I have also created a grocery list and a cleaning checklist (printed straight away so I don’t chicken out) that will live in a big home management binder at home. The budget management side will also go in there some day.
But how do I keep going?
From where I stand, this endeavour looks very much like every other project I’ve ever undertaken. I get very excited about the pretty stationery and the lists. I manage to stick to it for a few weeks, maybe even a couple of months. Then I grow complacent and lazy with the upkeep and things start to slip until six months down the line, one look at the house tells me that things are back to where they were before.
I am going to do better this time.
I am going to use the blog to keep tabs on my progress. I am going to attempt to identify my progression hurdles and try to keep going even when all I want to do is sit in front of the TV and watch re-runs of Big Bang Theory instead of mopping the kitchen floor.
In order to do this, I am going to list all the areas Badgerman and I have identified as being in dire need of a sort-out – that’s aside from the basic de-cluttering of every room that I need to undertake to follow the steps suggested in the above-mentioned reference book. I will post before and after pictures and link it all back to here for reference (fancy!). I’m also sort of hoping that these things will be done by Christmas but I may be way too optimistic. You organised types can tell me if I’m dreaming and please share all your tips! So here it is:
- Set up a paper collection system and organise my paperwork
- Review our DVD collection and sell/give all the ones we will never watch again
- Review our bookshelves and sell/give away those that won’t be read again
- Do an inventory of my clothes and sell or give away those that no longer fit or that I haven’t worn in ages
- Organise the coats’ cupboard
- Re-organise the kitchen, especially the plastic boxes/lids (this one is because Badgerman can’t understand my system and reckons he has a better way – we shall see…)
- Organise the shoes
- Organise our cables
Yep, that’s quite a lot. And it all badly needs doing. So wish me luck!
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