Sunday, October 7, 2007

Acronyms for the orderly-challenged

Hi! Sheryl, from Paper Napkin here. I'm so glad Belinda and I are collaborating on this blog. I have a lot of areas of my life where I need to get it together, and I think you, and she, and I can all help each other, hooray for blogs!

85-90% of the time my house is clean. The rest of the time my house is either very clean, or a sty. Now clean to me, may not be clean to you. Clean to me means when I bring in groceries, I have a place to put the bags down. It means I can walk around my house without stepping on stuff. It means neighbors can drop by, and I'm not embarrassed. Unless it's my pin-neat neighbor (curse her). It does not mean a place for everything and everything in its place. I wish I were that kind of person, but I ain't never gonna be that kind of person. Plus I have 3 little kids, so I've let go of that dream. Case in point, was going to take pictures of my house to show you what clean means to me, but I can't find the battery charger for the camera.

I've always been a messy person. When I was in college, there were wall to wall clothes in my apartment, and days-old dishes in the sink, and it was the same when I lived at home. But I've always hated being messy. Messes depress me, so over the years I found a way to control it. Then I had kids, and that threw me for a loop for a while, but I've got it under control again.

There are a lot of little tricks I use to keep the house clean. The verymost important one is DLFB. When I first started cracking the whip on my inner slob, I asked myself, what are the essentials? What areas of housekeeping absolutely must be done for me to feel sane and peaceful? DLFB: dishes, laundry, floors, bathrooms. Since I'm a dork, I made a sentence to help me remember: Domestic labor feels beautiful. (I told you I was a dork.)

If I do a little bit in each of these areas daily (or almost daily), keeping the rest of the house clean seems to follow. Notice I said a little bit. I do one load of dishes a day, I run the dishwasher at night, and my kids empty it in the morning, so I can stick a few dishes in it here and there during the day. Occasionally I have to do 2 loads, but most of the time I can pack the dishwasher full enough that I only have to do one load.

I also do one large load of laundry a day. We're a family of 5, so that doesn't keep the hampers empty, but it does keep them from overflowing. I hate laundry with the fire of a thousand suns, so I try to encourage us not to cycle through too many clothes. I make the kids change after school, which keeps school clothes nice, and who cares if their play clothes are dirty? (Well, actually I care, but I care more about not having tons of laundry, so if it's a choice between my pride and more work, laziness always wins.)

As for the bathrooms, I just do one thing a day. I clean the toilets, or sometimes just one toilet. Or I swipe the counters. It takes me 30 seconds, and I'm done for the day. I keep the Windex and paper towels on the counter and The Works (which I swear by) by the toilet in each bathroom, so they're right there. Inconvenience is the enemy of clean, if you're a lazy slob. I approach floors the same way. I vacuum one room, or sweep, or mop, but never all in one day. If it seems doable I'll do it, otherwise, forget it.

Figuring out the non-negotiables of housecleaning put things in clear perspective. DLFB saved my butt, and my house. It makes house cleaning manageable, because it's just 4 things! I can do that! It gives me peace of mind, and when those things are done, it makes keeping the rest of the house clean fairly easy. I tell you the other tricks I use too. Hope they help!

4 comments:

Belinda said...

OMG, Sheryl, you are my hero. Your definition of clean is the same as mine, but your Percentage of Clean Time is MUCH higher!

One big reason I am putting forth this effort is for my family's mental/emotional health, because we all thrive in an orderly atmosphere, and Alex positively NEEDS it.

Blessings on all our houses in this effort!

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