|Two out of three in their Pascha (Easter) best. This was actually taken on Bright Wednesday since on Pascha proper, they were all asleep by the time I thought to take any photos.|
It seemed that with any kind of imposed system, I was training myself to ignore dirt. I tend to have this problem in lots of areas of my life. I ignore the time on the clock, the crying baby in the playpen, the alarm on my phone going off under my pillow—all because I don't feel like attending to it. With housecleaning, I talk myself out of needing to do it right then because it doesn't fit into my "system."
So, with the "no system" system, I simply look around, and if it's dirty, I clean it. No talking myself out of it unless it's truly dinner time, bedtime, or time to leave for somewhere.
Now, I'm not truly satisfied with this way of doing things, but I think I needed the step to sort of tune up my awareness of mess. I'm incredibly indebted to FlyLady's system as a beginning point. When you have absolutely no idea where to start, go there. She told me exactly what to do and my house was a whole lot better than when I was doing nothing because I was so overwhelmed. But I also noticed that I never seemed to finish anything. With all the timers and not doing "too much," I never actually seemed to get anything to the point where it was actually clean.
I do understand that a huge part of her system is not being a perfectionist (which is, amazingly, what often causes me to do nothing) so I see the value of learning to do a "good enough" job. But I was coming to the point where I knew what a clean floor was, and with her way, I never had one. Maybe I was doing it wrong, but I wanted to actually spend as long as it took doing the floor occasionally. I suppose she does provide for those tasks somewhat with her daily missions, but since I am terrible at doing anything every day, I would often skip the missions because inevitable adding them to my life would cause me to "crash and burn."
|This kid will not leave the DVD player/VCR alone. Doesn't matter what I put in front of it—he is obsessed.|
I finally thought I could handle some kind of schedule without falling apart, so I went back to one of Leila's Reasonably Clean posts—The Moderate Clean: Two secrets to keeping your house on track. I was a bit nervous about this, but I sat down with a pen and pad of paper and tried to make a system out of it. One thing I realized was that I still hardly ever "cleaned. the. room." (Quoting my Dad. It drove us nuts when we were kids, but we'd ask if we were done cleaning, and he would inevitably respond, "Clean. The. Room. Listen to the words. When the room is clean, you're done." Makes a lot more sense to me now!)
|Notice the artful stacking of these dirty bowls from smallest to largest?|
So, here's what I pulled out of her post:
- I need to clean up (blitz) the house every day. Blitz! That implies quick!
- Most of my hard work each day should be in one zone.
- In zone cleaning, I need to "clean. the. room." Begin by putting things away, removing things that aren't supposed to be there, getting the room into an ideal (or passable) organizational state, and then actually clean (as in dust, sweep, maybe even mop!) the room! Now, this probably won't need to be done weekly in each zone, but at least I should assess the room (with my new-found "dirt awareness") weekly from the aspect of "is it clean?" and daily from the aspect of "is it passably tidy?"
The thing I'm trying to figure out is how she gets it all done in an hour (including dishes and laundry!) every day. It gives me a good goal in that I need to work faster and that I need to be OK with "good enough" in some aspects and just move on to the other things in life. And I'm sure that after these days of initial cleaning after a period of neglect, the work will go faster on subsequent days.
If you made it this far, bless you! Here's your bonus photo:
|Someone having a blast at the Chicago Children's Museum. His gap-toothed smile is SO. CUTE. ARGH!|