Nope, not kidding. But you'll be glad to know the advice is not coming from me. Anyone who has been in our house, read this series, or heard me ask very basic questions knows I'm just starting to grasp housekeeping.
And anyone who knows me knows I love to learn from reading a book. My poor husband rolls his eyes whenever I say, "I just learned..." and he'll add, "What, you read that, too?" But he's into Gossip Girl now, and that's just weird. I'm the kind of person who benefits most when I have some kind of teacher/mentor showing me the ropes and then letting me try my hand at it.
I don't mind failure. People remind us that Edison said (I'm paraphrasing), I haven't failed to make a light bulb, I've just discovered 2000 ways not to make a light bulb. That's my thought exactly when it comes to all things house and home. And if I'm going to fail twice, it's going to be two different kinds of failure ;)
But on to the good stuff!
PROJECT ORGANIZE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE : (poyel)
The fantastic blog Modern Parents Messy Kids put out this great piece to help us start. The author, Steph, offers us one important detail that I've not seen anywhere else: HOW TO GET to YOUR CLEAN SLATE. She points out that for those of us starting out on this home adventure, we find a plethora of great tips on how to maintain an organized home, schedule, etc., but we can't find the way to get there in the first place. So we maintain amidst slight or even great chaos.
I mentioned something like this briefly in this post about how I kicked off housekeeping with Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson, but what I love about POYEL is that in the Quick-Start Guide she gives us the tools to properly get to that clean slate. And unlike my admonition that it all be done in one fell swoop, she offers a second path for people (of whom I am now one) who can't get away from responsibilities long enough to do the whole house!
That is huge for me. Because it means that even though I'm physically tired from parenting and growing-baby activities, I've already started.
THE BASEMENT: our personal pit of hell
Hawk recently returned from a trip to the bowels of our home and said, I hate how messy the basement is. It makes me depressed every time I go down there. I concurred that I felt the same.
In POYEL Steph explains that each home has "danger zones," places that create stress in the homeowner. They may not be the most visible to guests, and so, like me, her #1 was her basement. She said she started there in small sections. It was so encouraging to see something decluttered that she would walk down and look at it throughout the day, whenever she felt overwhelmed.
I've totally done the same.
There's this paralyzing moment (or decade) when we can't move forward because we don't know where to start. And our little attempts lack enough impact to move us again. I have a number of friends who've told me that they suffer from this very phenomena. So POYEL directs us to start in one area, a danger zone, completing it accordingly and moving on to the second as soon as our next "work" period arises.
My greatest danger zone is our laundry area. I am here at least 2 times a day to do 1-2 loads of laundry, moving it from side to side, bending over babies and junk. Ugh.
I followed POYEL directions and during one 90-minute period of nap overlap between Ace and Poppy I was able to get to this:
What I did: I cleared everything out and put it into the 3 piles she recommends (I'm not going to give more detail because her directives are worth the $6.99 e-book charge). I removed the chaotic, shoved-against-pipes shelf and most of the cleaning supplies I would never use; I prefer natural cleaners for safety and environmental supports. I left bleached-out buckets to air in the sink.
1) No painting, decorating, or beautification attempts. This is pure de-clutter and organization.
2) Everything to the left, right, and behind of me is still a reeking mess. But this area is done. And I have totally gone down during moments of stress and looked at it, pleased with my accomplishment and encouraged to do more.
Okay, kids are crazy, gotta run.