There is a popular house-organization site, TheFlyLady, that wants people to shine their sinks. Not once a week. Not even once a day, but to *always* have a shiny sink! FlyLady wants you to make your bed every day, “swish” your toilet every day, and “get dressed to shoes” every.single.day. She has cute names for the days of the week like “Family Fun Day” (Saturday) and “Renew Your Spirit Day” (Sunday). She also suggests you make a “Control Journal”, and gives you 19 steps to follow to do so. Now, I don’t know about you, but 19 steps is a lot of steps, no matter how easy they are, in which to devote to a “Control Journal”. It tells you when to clean the cobwebs, when to scrub rooms, when to run errands, and when to drink water (seriously).
The woman must not have 2 small children.
There are some good pointers on the FlyLady site, though. I can really get behind her once-a-week schedule, that has you spending 1 hour a week (she suggests Monday) running a vacuum around the middle of your rooms, dusting, culling papers, washing/changing bed linens, taking out the trash, mopping floors, and cleaning mirrors. To be honest, I haven’t been able to even keep up with the once-a-week thing, even though I did notice a marked difference in how I felt about the condition of my house when I was very consistent about it. I also found that the hour I carved out to conquer these tasks seemed to only be about 45 minutes after I had been doing it for a while (not including washing and drying time for linens).
However, this anal-retentive, Type-A, neat-freak feels less than awesome about herself when she can’t even carve out a single hour to keep the house. I get stuck in the mental vortex that succeeds in dragging me down, and my floors go unvacuumed for weeks on end (which is gah-rosssssss with 2 dogs, two kids, and hardwood floors), my kitchen is a sticky mess, and my bed sheets have taken on a life of their own.
I realized having a strict cleaning schedule was NO GOOD for an anal-retentive, Type-A, neat-freak. Sounds like it should have been perfect, right? Notsomuch.
That’s when my philosophy of Better Than Before formulated in my mind. It doesn’t matter if I’ve neglected my “chores” for days on end because my back hurts, my kids have had it in for me, or I had more commitments in a week than I’d like. It doesn’t matter because the day I am able to pick it up again, it’ll always be Better Than Before, cuz action doesn’t equal worse. Inaction does.
I have also found that if I take care of the little things that will definitely need to get done in a day, like emptying and loading the dishwasher and doing a load of laundry, it’s so much easier to not feel behind in my duties. Clean underwear? We’re good. Clean plates? We’re good. Shoes on and a shiny sink? Who cares?? 😉
Having the necessities done makes it easier for me to work on a Better Than Before project. For instance, I am in the nesting phase of my pregnancy, with only 14 weeks to go. I’m starting to feel the crunch of all that needs to be done around the house, that I normally wouldn’t care about, before Little comes, because I know I won’t have the time, nor energy, to complete the tasks I want done, like cleaning out Little’s closet and getting all the gear in one place so I don’t have to waddle around at 39-week pregnant looking for the crib bumper. I may not get the closet looking exactly how I want it, but even if I only spend 5-minutes on it (FlyLady calls it a “5-Minute Room Rescue”), it’s Better Than Before.
What task do you have around the house that nags at your core? How can you work today to make it Better Than Before?
Oh, and my
minions kids are cleaning my sliding door for me as we speak. Vinegar on a paper towel. Non-toxic and effective.