Guest post from Mary Clendenin
Are there times when you have enough dishes in the sink that they need their own home? Do you ever run out of clothes because it is too overwhelming to keep up with the laundry? How many items have to be purchased again because you misplaced them? Am I the only one who has experienced the chaos, which results from stress, trials, and everyday life? Please tell me I am not alone in experiencing this. Although, I do not wish it on anyone.
Some seasons in life are worse than others. That has been the case in our life this past year. In the midst of a trial that almost caused me to lose my mind, I lost control of my home. I could not keep it organized beyond basic necessities and attempting to keep the entry way looking somewhat civil.
I simply could not manage the home, focus on our family, and survive — all at the same time. The stress caused me to be sick most of the year. Thankfully a year later, we are surviving and on our way to thriving. Well, after I get over being hit by another illness that forced me to spend most of the month sitting in the recliner. Many plans for Christmas and cleaning were put on hold.
Now a new year is here, I am excited to get my house back in order. Excited?? I have never been this excited to clean my home. It has often been just another thing on my long to-do list. We have so much to accomplish as moms. Keeping our home is calling and a privilege. I am thankful that I have a home to live in and loved ones to care for. After living a year in disorganization, I am ready to reorganize, clear the clutter, and restore the peace that comes from a well-ordered home.
So, where to start?
Set goals — When facing any significant task, it is essential to establish achievable goals. Try not to impose too lofty a goal of “deep clean the entire house” in one week unless you are super mom. That may be too overwhelming if you have a lot of decluttering and cleaning to do. Set a goal of “clean the laundry room this week” or “clean out the coat closet by Wednesday”. Make a few goals starting with the main living areas of your home. When you finish working through your home, start setting goals for the areas of your home that are not as obvious, like closets and drawers.
Divide the house into zones –It is easier to clean a house divided into smaller chunks, rather than looking at everything you have to do. Flylady offers a free online guide for cleaning your home by zones. Each month, you will clean your entire home by spending a week in each section. You can sign up to receive email reminders about which zone your are in that week and even reminders about mundane things like starting a load of laundry.
Set the timer — It helps you to accomplish more, when you start the timer for 10 or 15 minutes — work as hard as you can in one area. I am famous for picking up things that belong in another room, get distracted by a mess there, find something there that goes somewhere else, and so on. I end up doing a little here and there and not accomplishing one thing. Setting the timer and knowing I have a set amount of time helps keep me focused. It is encouraging to see one task finished when the timer goes off. To help the timer cleaning go faster, store baskets throughout the house. Start placing items in the basket, which do not belong in that room. Then carry the basket and put the items where they belong. Check out these great timer cleaning ideas.
Set up 3 bags or totes where you are working – Label them Keep, Trash, and Goodwill (or wherever you donate). You may want to add another one for storage of clothes that are too small or to rotate toys out. This will reduce the handling of the items by putting them where they belong when you pick them up as you are cleaning and decluttering.
Get your kids involved — My kids love to help clean the house, especially when it is their idea. It is not always going to be their idea, so they made cleaning carts in which to keep all their supplies on and feel like “professional cleaning men”. Every time we go to the store they want to add something to it. Really? Cleaning supplies over a toy? I will take it! They love these Flip Chart Chore Books that teach them step by step how to clean. Use little sayings to indicate a time to clean up. Flylady suggests Room Rescue, where everyone puts as many things away in one area as fast as you can for just a few minutes or until the room is clean. Every so often during the day, I will say, Room Rescue, and we get to work. I have also implemented this chore card system and modified it to include school work.
Get some help – Do you have a friend, who is adept at cleaning and organizing? Why not ask them to help you go through a room as you clean your house? It is easier for some people to declutter, while others need a little encouragement and support in going through it all.
If you would rather not expose your mess, there are resources to help you: 31 Days to a Martha House the Mary Way is an excellent guide to helping you get your house back in order, while helping you examine your heart. Encouraging Challenges: The Month after 31 Days will help you take the management of your home even further. Perhaps you need a guide to understand how to clean. Homemaking 101 shows you how to manage your homes with joy and effectiveness.
After you have tackled the massive task of cleaning such a colossal mess, begin to establish a daily and weekly routine. This will help you keep your house from getting in such a situation again. Consistency is essential in this area.
Also, go ahead and make an emergency cleaning plan in case you encounter this again. It is a guarantee that life is going to throw you a curve ball, so plan ahead. Know what you will do when you are not able to continue on your normal routine.
Have you ever faced a rough time that resulted in your house being a gigantic mess? What strategies did you use?
Read more on this topic with these posts!
- Homemaker’s Goals for the New Year - December 15, 2014
- Quick & Easy – Christmas Meal Hacks - December 10, 2014
- Tips To A Well Planned Thanksgiving - November 17, 2014
- Simple and Practical Homeschool Routine - August 12, 2014
- Preparing Food for Maternity Leave - July 15, 2014
- Free Kids Chore Checklist - April 8, 2014
- 8 Questions to Ask When De-cluttering - March 25, 2014
- Spring Cleaning Checklists - March 11, 2014
- Confessions of a Homemaking Challenged Homemaker - February 24, 2014
- Overcoming Discouragement With Small Changes - February 11, 2014