Monday, September 8, 2008

How do you do it?

Aside from a couple of classes that I teach a couple of mornings a week, I am a full time stay at home mom. For those of you mommies who have spotless houses... my questions for you is: How do you do it? Seriously. I takes all of the energy I can muster up just to keep up with dishes and laundry. It is always funny to me when I go to someone's house that is spotless, and the mom is apologizing for how dirty her house is, when my house has never once been that clean. How do you make this happen? Do you stay up until 1:00 in the morning cleaning? Do you ignore your kids all day to get the house clean? Do you have a maid? Do you confine your kids to one room all day so that they can't touch the rest of the house?
I realize that part of my problem is that my stuff isn't organized in the first place. There are piles of bills on the table and toys everywhere. Any volunteers to help me get organized? As for staying up really late every night to clean? I do that on occasion, but there are many other things I would rather do at night. I don't even have a clean house, and I feel like I have to distract my kids to even get dishes and laundry done, so I am not willing to ignore them any more than I have to. I am actually at peace with the fact that I will never be a super super tidy person, but even with my low standards, I have let it go. Let it go to the point, that there have been a few times in the last couple of weeks that I really hope that no one makes a surprise visit, because I would be really embarrassed if anyone saw my house. (For those of you have been to my house, you probably remember it being cluttered when you came over.. so you know this must be bad). I feel like there are things I do good as homemaker like cooking and getting down on the floor with my kids to play, but this is one area that is definitely not my forte.


JAM said...

I wish I lived by you, I would come organize your home. Not that i am that organized myself. It is more fun to organize someone else than to do it yourself. But it does bring me great pleasure to "Throw away" nothing makes me more happy. That's not really true. Lots of things make me more happy, it is just on the top of the list. Well with that said, um good luck?

Amanda Nemelka said...

Oh Kara - I wouldn't regard my house as spotless by any means but for me it's a matter of sanity and function. I seriously CANNOT function in a disorganized house. And I think Jeff has finally learned this after 6 years. He can tell when I start getting really uptight and cranky about it and he usually helps out (as of late at least). And it does mean a little less time with Chance, but I think it's important for him to learn to be organized too.

The biggest thing like you said is getting organized in the first place...and throwing unnecessary things out. If I get new clothes, I get rid of something else. I also never let Chance have more toys than what will fit in his toy bin (horrible, I know) and just clean as you go because if you let it got it just gets too overwhelming. Like yesterday we had people over for dinner...maybe it's rude of me to leave them alone with Jeff for 15 mins afterwards, but I'd rather just do the dishes then than wait until 3 hours later when it's all crusty and nasty. ANYWHOO...more details than needed, but I think the biggest thing too is that Chris needs to be on board with it or else it won't happen either. sorry so long :)

K Harker said...

Oh Kara let me give you some comfort and say I am SO much this same way. I think it was a habit of mine I got from my mother. She and I are just not good at getting organized. It's funny though because there are some parts of my home that are organized and others that aren't.
So as for advice I have done this....
I make a list of what bothers me in my home, what is not at all organized that needs it, example: bills all over tables etc. Then I find a way and/or place to keep them organized.
Every thing needs a place, as my sisters would say.
So maybe you could make a list of the really really unorganized things that make your home cluttery and have a day where you and your hubby "fix" it. Send the kids some where and get three big things done. Do this a few times over a few months and maybe it'll be easier to get this all done with out abandoning your kiddos.

I have recently and am still in the process of doing this. I live in a small town house so I realize that my clutterness might be smaller compared to yours but it's a starting place.
Now for me, I need to work on keeping up with it, so my house stays clean and organized. I know I need to keep getting rid of things, clothes and toys etc. to keep it all organized. That is where my problem lies but I am going to work hard at doing this in hopes I get into the habit and it stays with me.
Good luck Kara, I feel your pain!

Karli said...

So, in my view, it's really just like the talents... to some is given (insert talent), to others it is given (the opposite talent). To some it is given the ability to organize, to others it is given the ability to get down on your floor and play with your kids. I, personally, think I was stuck with the "in-between" talent. Like, I can do both, but I'm not stellar at either one, because I always feel I should be doing whatever I'm NOT doing.

However, here's what we've done lately that's helped a bit in our house: I actually sat down and made a weekly chart. I assigned Nick one night a week to make dinner (he NEVER cooked before). Whoever isn't making dinner cleans up the kitchen and straightens the clutter out for the day (putting away toys, clearing out the bill piles, cleaning off all flat surfaces, etc). This has to be done before we get "couple time" after the kids are asleep. I'm also trying to do one load of laundry a day, so that I can manage to get it folded AND put away without it piling up. For other, less regular chores, I make a list on a whiteboard on our fridge as I think about them during the day (i.e. hmmm, we really need to clean out this garage!) We've each agreed to choose one to complete each week. For us, it's all about baby steps and getting a good plan (WRITTEN DOWN) that works for your family (and getting buy-in from all participants). One scripture that has helped inspire me do to this is Proverbs 29:18 - "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Though it's probably meant to be interpreted differently, it reminds me that I need to have a specific plan to be successful.

A really good organizational resource is to check out She talks a lot about getting your house out of "CHAOS" (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I don't follow her system exactly, but it's given me a good place to start, and a good outlook at breaking down tasks.

So, anytime you want to ignore our cluttered houses and go to the Children's Museum or OMSI, let me know! I'm game anytime!!

Kelda said...

kara, i wouldn't worry too much. i don't have any advice that i personally give because i'm not a mom. but i've seen others have their children help out. for punishment for saying a naughty work, they have to help with the dishes. and because they don't want to be in trouble they do it quickly. i don't know. some places are just that way. think of the families we know that are. don't worry too much. your kids are more important to spend time with.

Kara's Blog said...

I think you need a vacation in Oregon to help me. (Doesn't that sound like a fun way to vacation :)?
I knew you were a neat freak the day I caught you organizing my desk at work. I feel like I am always throwing things out, but more reappears (please refer to my garage sale posts :).
K and Karli,
Now that wedding season is slowing down for Chris, he will probably have more time to help me. I have to admit that I got a flylady book for my wedding, but I threw it out, because I knew I would never read it, and it was taking up space (see, I was trying to organize :). My friend has recently told me some of her tricks, like setting a timer, and I might be able to try a few.
Thanks for your comment. I do need to find a balance, because my house is driving me nutso right now, but ultimately, spending time with my kids is more important than having a perfect house!

The Bains said...

My house is a disaster. Really. I just came to the realization that: 1)I am not a "neat" person
2)In order for me to be "neat" I sacrifice way too much time away from playing with my kids and way to much unnecessary energy.
3)I will go through the house after the girls have gone to bed and clean for 10 minutes with my husband. That's IT! This way I dont spend ALL day picking up toy after toy, dish after dish, etc, etc.

*One day my house will look better...but the reality is, I have a 2 month old and a 2 year old.

Enough said :-)