Waaaaaay back in September or October, I wrote a post about how messy my house is and how I need to get it cleaned up. For years now, I've been getting FLYLady's emails about de-cluttering and chipping away at messiness in fifteen minute chunks. I will say this, IF you actually do as FLYLady says, and do fifteen minutes of a task, eventually it does get done. You can't misuse it and just do 15 minutes a day and call it a job well done when your house looks like mine. It takes 15 minutes of work, 15 minutes of doing something else, and so on. You have to come back to the task at hand and chip away at it until it's done.
In FLYLady-speak, I've basically "fluttered" and then "crash-n-burned" over and over. That doesn't mean FLYLady's a load of hogwash. It just means I really need a slightly different approach to turning my home from freakin' pigsty to cozy and pleasantly lived-in.
See, I was never good at leaving something only 15-minutes' worth of done. I was never good at leaving work with anything other than an empty inbox (the physical kind, not the email kind, although...) Having something hanging over my head just sort of wears on me, and I obsess about it so by the time I get back to the task at hand, I'm burnt out on it.
It's not the way to be, and I know this isn't what FLYLady intends with her fifteen-minutes at a time approach.
The other day, I ran across a site that's something along the order of Making Organizing Fun or such. That woman's approach is to size up all the things in your house that drive you nuts, organization-wise, and then take one per day and fix it.
This, I can do!
You see, it's kind of satisfying to me to start a project, work on it until it's finished, and then be able to be proud of my work. The key is completing a task.
I tried this out last weekend on my laundry area/changing table area. This space in the house, which is really an extension on the far end of the kitchen, put the "hell" in "helter-skelter." It's always been a difficult space. Last Friday, I decided I'd had enough of the chaos and decided I'd change things around some. I moved the changing area into a corner and made a folding area using two Rubbermaid folding tables. I can store hampers under the tables, so it feels less cluttered.
It looks really nice. The space still isn't optimally functional or optimally good-looking, but that's okay, because when Shane got home, he looked around and said "What if we moved the laundry room upstairs to my office?"
I've wanted my laundry room upstairs since we were planning out the renovation. I made a case for it back then and got shouted down by someone in Shane's family, who apparently gets more electoral votes than I do, on the grounds that "the washer could leak and make a mess." Well, okay, I thought. That's fair, because washers leak all the time, whereas toilets, sinks, and bathtubs NEVER leak, ever, and we have 2 bathrooms upstairs. Yeah. There are some things I'm bitter about. I have some issues about this having less electoral votes to work through.
Anyway. I'm happy that Shane's seen the value of putting the whole laundry kit and caboodle upstairs where we actually dress and undress. His "office" has always had the feel more of big, disaster-area closet than "office." It'll be heaven not to have laundry hampers in our bedrooms, to be able to keep everything in one room upstairs, a room with a window and a door that can be closed if we don't want to look at the laundry appliances.
Then I envision the place that is now the laundry room as kind of a mudroom, with one of those benches with storage for shoes underneath, coat-hooks above, and above that, storage for backpacks and hats.
I mention all this because laundry and its flotsam has been a source of chaos in this house for ever. I feel like getting that room squared away is going to help everything else get neater in the rest of the house. Everything having a place makes it easier to put everything in its place!
Other spots I've cleaned up have stayed clean. The family room's stayed uncluttered since October. The coffeetable in the living room is not piled with two feet of debris anymore. you can actually set a plate or coffee cup on it - if you're trusting enough not to think a toddler or German shepherd isn't going to steal it.
I have a long way to go, getting my place less disastery. But at least now, when people come in to my house, the first room they see is clutter-free and pleasant. The downstairs bathroom is clean. The laundry room doesn't look like a hiding place for ... I don't know. Whatever would hide in a pile of wash and jump out at unsuspecting guests. Eighty-five percent of the time, my kitchen island is cleaned off and functional. It isn't perfect, but eighty-five still passes!
My house isn't perfect, but it's getting better, one fifteen minutes at a time, one task at a time.