Friday, December 10, 2010

21 Days

Motivation is a funny thing.  You can find it when you least expect it.  Right now I am tired...tired of getting home at 9 p.m. or later every night, tired of my students (who I'm sure are equally tired of me) and ready for Christmas break followed by a fresh start next semester.  I'm tired of the dishes piling up, tired of the laundry overtaking my bedroom because it's spilling out of the hampers, and tired of just plain feeling tired.  But as high as that mountain of laundry is, I am feeling motivated.  Motivated to be more organized and keep a tidy house. 

I was inspired by this post on a blog that I recently found called Nesting Place.  I was inspired to get a handle on my household, to keep my house clean for days at a time. a row.  It will definitely take effort, and time, but I'm willing to try.  Now, I'm usually not one for new year's resolutions.  Every year I vow to be healthier, and do a nice job of it for awhile, but by the end of summer and beginning of "hearty casserole" weather, I find myself slowly falling back into horrible habits.  It's like a vicious cycle, and I've had it!  I am going to have a new year's resolution this year and I really am going to stick with it.  I read a lovely post on Like Mother, Like Daugher that really put everything into perspective.  My favorite quote from this post was when she reveals the secret to making and keeping a strong resolution by saying,  "Do better in the minimum anyone can expect from you, and you will do better in everything else."  I had to think about this one for a few minutes, as it was hard for me to swallow.  Who wants to do the least amount people expect?  You always want to exceed expectations right?  Well I have realized that this is my biggest problem. 

I'm not really sure why, but I've always been a messy girl.  My parents did a good job of teaching me to keep a clean house.  However cleaning my room was always a battle.  I found myself spending more time going through things in drawers than actually cleaning.  My brother could finish in no time flat (he had to have shoved things under his bed I swear) and there I would be 3 hours later, with just one drawer organized.  I convinced my parents (though I doubt they were ever convinced) that I needed to clean out the drawers first because that was where the rest of the stuff needed to be stored.  Dumb, I know.  It got so bad that they would have to set the timer on the oven and I had to finish by that time...or else!  My mom would always say "How are you going to be able to handle cleaning your own house someday?" And I always reassured her, it's not that I don't know how to clean, I just don't enjoy it...I'll do it when I have to.  Ha! Look at me now!!  Now I find myself calling my mom and complaining about the mounds of laundry, dusting, sweeping, cleaning the bathroom (never did enjoy doing this, but I'm glad she made me back then), and all the other house things that need to be done.  And every time I call her, she laughs and says, "Ha! Wait until you have kids!"...Gotta love her!

Unfortunately, combine the fact that our house was never really spotless to begin with coaching and you've got one major house disaster.  In an effort to really keep myself accountable I am going to do something you what my house looks like right now (gasp!).  Now, I'm pretty embarrassed about this, but I also realize that my house would not be like this if I actually had the time to take care of it right now, so I don't feel so bad and I'm trying to remember that this is a starting point, and hopefully the worst it will ever be again. 

Now, a few things in my (our) defense:
1.  My house does not always look like this.  It is clean sometimes...only problem is I clean it and I feel like it is messy in 24 hours.
2.  I'm zooming in on all of these things...the rest of the room is empty.  Still bad I know, just didn't want you people to start sending in the Hoarders tv crew.
3.  We are doing some serious remodeling to our home, one room at a time.  So things get shoved in other rooms and I feel like I can never find anything.  So the digging begins, but it's my fault for not putting things back where they belong.  Timothy says that's my biggest cleaning problem, haha!
4.  We have both been getting home at 8-9 pm the past 3 weeks.  Timothy is really busy at work, and we are always early to bed (if not...somebody, and I'm not going to mention names, gets a little crabby) therefore we have not (I repeat, have not) had time to clean.  At all.

Now that you are done reading through all my excuses, back to the story!...When we went through our premarital counseling we filled out a nice checklist of household duties and how they would be fulfilled, either by the husband, wife, or both.  Timothy took charge of anything outside the house, like mowing, fixing cars, repairs, etc.  I foolishly sat there and said that I would take care of everything inside the house.  All the cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills, and general things that I had this mental image of being "wifely duties."  Problem was our house was never clean to begin with.  I moved in all my stuff when we got married and I'm still unpacking things to this day, and I'm ashamed to admit that the rest of the stuff from my last house has been shoved into the attic.  So unfortunately since I moved in all my stuff, including a basket of dirty laundry, I was never, ever on top of a clean house.  But this is what a wife is supposed to be able to do perfectly right???  Wrong.  I have come to realize through many tearful conversations over our first year of marriage that it all has to be a team effort.  I took on too much...I'll admit it.  And let's be honest, what husband wouldn't want a wife that can do it all.  So he sat there and believed me when I promised that I could handle the house and everything in it, just like I believed myself.  And I failed.  For the first time in my life, I had to sit there and admit failure. 

So I decided that I will have a handle on my house for ONE WHOLE YEAR. Yes I said whole entire year of beating the laundry, dishes, cooking, and cleaning monsters that have evaded my home since we got married.  So why 21 days? Well, I think you can accomplish a lot in 21 days.  My goal is to get my house clean in the 21 days from now until January 1st, and I believe this is very possible since I will be on Christmas break and will have more time around the house.  I am realistic though, so when I say clean, I mean everything put away, and all rooms cleaned, dusted, and swept, so that at the beginning of the year I can set some goals for myself, and begin the big purge, which is what I've been wanting to do for so long!  I'm hoping that 2011 can start small, and end big!

Now, don't get too excited....remember that lovely post I was telling you about?  Well, she says not to try to do it all.  Again, "Do better in the minimum anyone can expect from you, and you will do better in everything else."...Well Leila says that the minimum is to get a handle on two things: Laundry and Cooking.  She says that if you can do these two things well, then everything else will follow.  So I have decided that I'm going to try...really really hard.  To prove to myself more than anyone that I can keep a clean house.  Not perfectly clean, because I feel like I need to steralize myself before I walk into those types of houses, but a clean, lived- in home that is inviting to friends and family, and a true home for us.  Because in the end us is all that matters.
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  1. Good luck! I tried to find one thing that makes my house "feel" clean and found out it was having a clean kitchen. Since it's right there when you walk in the house, I sleep better when my island is cleaned up, the kitchen table is clear, and the dishes are low in the sink or in the dishwasher. Try to find your one area that just has to be done and you'll feel better. You can do it!

  2. Thanks Carlei! I know there's a cleaning lady deep down inside me, I just happen to find lots of other things that "need" to be done instead haha! I figured if I put it out there then I had to succeed right? :)

  3. Jess- I can totally empathize with you on not loving household duties. I LOATHE laundry, and who on Earth really enjoys cleaning a dirty stinky toilet? My house got completely out of control and it was stressing me out! I decided to take 1 day and work on my house for 8 hours straight. The easiest way I found to do that was to start in a corner (I started with our office which hadn't been cleaned since we moved into the house in June (ewwww) and cleaned that corner (dusted, moved clutter and swiffered) I also grabbed a box of giant trash bags and labeled them "laundry,"trash" and "important" (to be delt with later.) Before I knew it I had all the "crap" out of the room and it looked fantastic. That gave me the motivation I needed to keep going and before I knew it I was almost done. Moral of the story? It doesn't all have to be done at once, take one room in your house, clean it til it gleams, then take a break, admire your HUGE accomplishment and start on the next room. AND you've given yourself 21 days? You can totally do that! I have faith in you :) Always enjoy reading your blogs! -BEth

  4. Thanks Beth! I also have been reading a great book which has been totally helping me out (I'm sure I'll blog about it at some point)...Can't wait for Christmas break to get here so I can get to work!

  5. What a great idea! :-) My husband and I are both slobs. I hate, hate, hate washing dishes and running the vacuum. He loves to make neat, organized piles of stuff ... all over the house. Add four kids, two dogs and the messiest cat I've ever seen and sometimes I think a clean, organized house is the impossible dream. You've totally motivated me to jump on the bandwagon. I know you can do it! (And if you can than maybe I can too!)

  6. Oh gosh, I remember your room growing up. And I remember helping you clean it! Good luck with this goal- you CAN do it!



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