Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Getting Control Over the House

I have stayed in a state of "overwhelmed" where my house is concerned for quite some time now. I don't like that feeling. You know, the one where you're already behind before your feet ever hit the floor - and you can never quite seem to get caught up? I hate living there.

Back several years ago when we sold our home in Florida to move back to Hoosier-land, I didn't have that problem. My house stayed pretty clean. Actually, when the appraiser came to look at it he told me that it was the cleanest house he had ever seen. Then he repeated that sentiment to the realtor, the people buying our house and their lawyer. I, personally, found that quite humorous - I never considered myself an immaculate housekeeper. But, the house was usually presentable.

I have found myself wondering "What happened?" too often lately. Not only am I homeschooling now, but, our current home is very small. You would think that a small home would be easier to keep clean. I'm finding the opposite to be true. Space is at a minimum, so clutter wants to creep out of control. That makes me almost claustrophobic. I HAD to do something about this. So, I have decided to change my address. I don't want to live in that place anymore.

I am finally finding a system that works for me. It's not perfect yet. I doubt it ever will be. This is real life, after all. And, sometimes life gets messy. But, it's getting better. Much better. I feel like I can take a deep breath again. If you find yourself suffocated by your own home, that place that is supposed to be your refuge - read on. I'll share what's working for me.

Have you ever heard of the FlyLady ? I have recently become a "flybaby" and it's making a difference for me. Basically, you sign up for her free e-mails and she baby-steps you through getting a routine going. Basically, every task is broken down. There are things you do each day. There are things you do each week. And, things you do each month. The house is broken down into zones. If you miss something, it's OK, that zone will come around again. Hang with me a minute and I'll show you what my Control Journal looks like.

At first, the e-mails can be a little overwhelming. Not only do you receive a daily e-mail with the current "mission of the day", but, there are testimonials, updates and things like that. The key is to not let it overwhelm you. I quickly learned that I don't have time to read all of the testimonials. So, if I don't have time that day - I simply check the boxes of all that aren't necessary for me and I hit delete before I even open them. I have also found that at the beginning of the week an e-mail comes out with the entire weeks "mission of the day" on it. I simply print that e-mail out and hang it on my fridge. That way I know at glance what I need to do every day of that week. It also means that there is one less e-mail I need to look at each day. The key is to find out what works for you.

The biggest change that has happened for me in the few weeks since I have been flying has been the change in my attitude. I was almost paralyzed by the mountain in front of me, so I did nothing. I now realize that something is better than nothing and I am beginning to eat that elephant one bite at a time. It's amazing what simply moving in the right direction can do for you.

One of the main things about "flying" is creating your Control Journal. I resisted this for weeks. That was dumb on my part. I'm still working on creating it - but that's OK. I'm moving in the right direction. You can make your journal as simple or elaborate as you like - just be warned; don't get caught up in perfectionism and not do it at all. Some people use a 3-ring binder and clear sheet protectors. I simply used a one subject notebook that I bought for a dime before school. It's what I had on hand. Let me just apologize here for the crappy pictures. But, you can at least get the idea.

The Control Journal sits on my counter where I can refer to it as I need throughout the day. It has sections. And, I wrote in pencil in case I see that I need to tweak something that isn't working for me. It's personal, so don't be afraid to make it as such. My schedule is different than yours. That means what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. That's OK.

There is a before bed routine. Doing a few things at night can make the next morning go a whole. lot. smoother. Trust me.

I was a classic example of the person who didn't usually do dishes at night, but waited 'till the next morning. Don't judge. And don't hate me because I'm beautiful. My hubby works hours where he usually conks out pretty early. After dinner we like to spend family time together and by the time dishes were done there was a good chance he'd be asleep. I chose my family over a clean kitchen. But...I'm finding that since I go ahead and clean up after dinner - my hubby is helping put things back in the fridge and helping me DO the dishes. That way, I get done faster AND we still have time together in the evenings. I didn't even have to ask for his help. He just jumped in all on his own. Man, what a bonus! When I wake up to a clean kitchen I feel so much better.

There is also a morning routine. I know some of this stuff probably seems self-explanatory. But, there really is something to having it written down in front of you. It's easy to get distracted and not get anything done. There used to be many days when my bed went unmade. Now, as soon as we crawl out of bed in the morning - me and my man make her up. Not only does it go quicker with the two of making it, but I sleep better at night because the sheets don't end up getting all twisted. They're smoothed and tucked every morning eliminating the problem. Also, making sure that I'm dressed to my shoes and make-up. It's mental, but it works. One of the most beneficial things in my morning routine has been to clean my bathroom every day. It's not as bad as it sounds. I'll go into detail about it tomorrow.

Another section in my Control Journal is my weekly schedule. These are things that are done regularly on each day of the week. For example, because Friday is my errand and shopping day, Thursday is the day that I make out my weekly menu and grocery list. And since my trash runs on Tuesday mornings, Monday is the day I clean out the fridge of anything that needs to be trashed. It keeps me from finding out Tuesday afternoon that the last handful of lettuce is nasty and is going to have to sit in the trash can (or fridge) for another whole week.

I'll get into the cleaning routine part that works for me in another post. In the meantime, if you're not already "flying" but are interested in finding out more about it - you can go check out the FlyLady for yourself and see if it might be something that can help you like it's helped me and so many others to get back on track.

Happy Homemaking!

1 comment:

Cassie said...

I absolutely love FlyLady! I've been flying for a couple of years now, and just knowing that I'm never behind has been a big motivator for me when I "fell off the wagon," so to speak. I can't even begin to tell you how much peace FlyLady has brought to my home!