Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Starting From Scratch

I’ve mentioned several times that I am a horrible housekeeper. The picture of my kitchen “pantry” yesterday gives a little bit of a glimpse into the truth of that. But, that is just a tiny portion of my overwhelming clutter and disorganization problem.

When I think of my dream home, it looks a lot like the “after” houses on the show Designed to Sell. You know, ready for strangers to walk through, free of clutter, and very “fresh” looking. Except that in my dream home, I would have lots of family pictures everywhere.

The problem is, I’m a bit addicted to stuff. Not just any ole stuff. My stuff. The stuff that has memories and meaning. Or the stuff that might be useful someday. Oh, yeah. Someday. Maybe.

But, with school starting again, I know that I really need to do something about this. Just this week, I’m working three nights and going to church another night. That means that three nights this week, I will be going straight from teaching school to leaving for work. No time for cleaning all day. But, if there was less stuff to keep neat and I could keep up by cleaning as go, having less time for concentrated cleaning wouldn’t be as big of a deal.

I always have elaborate, detailed plans to do this. But, it never happens. Or at least not for long. I’ll do great for a few days keeping up with everything, only to have it crash and burn, leaving me feel like a failure.

So, I’m starting over. I’m getting rid of the lists. I’m throwing out the schedules. I’m taking a cue from Nony over at A Slob Comes Clean and starting with just one thing. One thing that must be done every. single. day. One thing that is non-negotiable.

Kitchen counter before...
For now, I’ll take care of everything else as I get to it (or not). But, I’m not going to make a list of routines a mile long that I’m never going to stick to. Instead, I’m going to develop a habit. Just one. Then, in a few weeks, when I have my first task down so that it seems like second nature, I’ll add something new. But, not until then.

So, I'm starting with cleaning off my kitchen counter every day. I only have one small counter, so it shouldn't be a huge deal.

I know that I won't be able to just plan to do this before bed. On days I work, I'm way too tired and on days I don't, I walk away from the kitchen to spend time with my hubby and never look back. So, if I'm going to be working, it needs to be done before I leave for work. I know it will likely be messy again when I get home because my husband will cook dinner. But, at least his mess won't just pile up on top of the mess that is already there. On evenings that I'm home, I will do it immediately after dinner.

I started today. Here is my counter before. This is actually pretty good compared to how it normally looks. I had to clean it off this morning so that I could get my griddle out and make pancakes. But, there are some dirty dishes that managed to make it as far as the counter, but not actually in the dishwasher (even though it is right there - you can kind of see in the bottom, right-hand corner). I also have the spray cleaner that I left out after wiping the counter down this morning. It just belongs under the sink, so why didn't I put it back? Oh, and the salad spinner with the red lid toward the back? I used that two days ago, but still haven't rinsed it out and put it away.

If I weren't intentionally choosing this as my new habit, it would have stayed like this. Then, when my husband was finished with dinner tonight, all those dishes would have joined in. Heaven only knows when it would finally get cleaned up. But, I can guarantee that it would have to be to the point where not a single thing more could fit on the counter before I'd finally just clean it.

Here is what it looked like less than 5 minutes later.  And, I also loaded the dishwasher and started it, cleaned out the sink, and actually cleaned the griddle and the salad shooter and put them away.

Kitchen counter after

Why do I put off doing these small jobs?! I think that part of it is because, in my mind, it isn't a small job. It is a HUGE job. After all, cleaning off the counter means doing dishes, pulling out cleaners and rags, moving things around, putting things where they really belong, and then putting the cleaner and rags away again. But, for now, I'm not going to worry about all that stuff. I'm just going to make sure my counter is cleared and wiped off. No big elaborate cleaning project. If I'm running short on time and there are dishes on the counter, I will just quickly put them in the dishwasher or even on the stove. I just want my counters clear. I'll worry about the stove later.

1 comment:

  1. I think all of us can relate--I can. It seems that I start out trying to keep house, and then, well, it falls apart. The lists don't work, and all my good intentions go by the wayside.

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