Sunday, November 1, 2009

cleaning when the kids are home is like shoveling when it's still snowing.

I am a bundle of nerves today. Cleaning the house with my entire family home is just not something I am handling very well. I know that it would probably be the best thing for all concerned if I just took a break from it and, after doing my daily maintenance stuff, just spent time with my family until tomorrow, when I'm alone and the kids are in school. But I just couldn't do that. The entire last month was a dearth of productivity around here, and now that I've got the time and my drive back, I feel an almost manic need to keep cleaning - keep cleaning - keep moving FORWARD, everything else be damned! I can't seem to stop but I'm certainly not blessing my family by screaming at them and I certainly don't feel very good, emotionally. I feel a bit like I'm jumping out of my skin today.

So I've been giving this some thought, because WHY would I feel that way if I'm moving forward and making progress? I think it's because I've hit a point where I see myself repeating old patterns and I am really fucking nervous that all of this progress is going to fall apart and I won't succeed at keeping the house clean YET AGAIN. I made it through all my morning tasks, and it was only for three rooms of the house but it felt like it took FOREVER, and I know I can't really use that as an accurate gauge because I was interrupted by kids and dogs and husband and fighting and general life chaos. This week I will have a much better chance to see how long my morning tasks will ACTUALLY take. But feeling like it was taking a huge chunk of my day to just do maintenance, and knowing that what I did today isn't even HALF the maintenance I'll need to do for the entire house, wasn't a reassuring way to start my day. Then, moving forward with the cleaning, it was nice to have my husband helping with some of the big tasks but then, of course, you find things that need doing that have been put off because of time, motivation, and because the house just hasn't been in shape to do anything about it. For instance: our upstairs bathroom faucet leaks every time we turn it on. Water seeps out from around it, and over time it's damaged our paint and it leaves it cruddy and corroded and it's just become gross. A definite problem that needs fixing. So OJ took advantage of the clean bathroom today and took himself off to the hardware store to get a new faucet. Then he came home and took the sink apart. So now there are tools and sink parts around the upstairs, and all the things that belong in the bathroom are in the dining room instead, and I KNOW, logically, this is for a good cause, but I feel like things are being derailed around me and it's really freaking me out. I hear this constant refrain of BACKSLIDING YOU'RE BACKSLIDING YOU'RE BACKSLIDING in my mind and I can barely stand it.

In the meantime, I'm working in the kids' room, and trying to declutter your children's bedroom (especially when they have as many toys as my kids do!) is always tough. What to keep, what to get rid of? And can you get rid of the stuff before the kids NOTICE? Doing it when the kids are home is especially tricky. I ended up throwing all their toys into boxes and moving those boxes into my room / the upstairs hallway so I can sort them one at a time. I've designated bins in their room for each 'type' of toy and I am doing my best to purge. The problem is, I'm already out of bins for the different categories of toy they have and I'm not sure how I'm going to solve that issue yet. I'm also out of time for sorting the rest of the stuff in the hallway because I'm going out tonight, so I have several boxes sitting in my once-clean hallway, freaking me out (BACKSLIDING BACKSLIDING BACKSLIDING!!). And I'm so nervous because I have done THIS EXACT process before, boxing things and going through them to purge and put away, shifting items from room to room; I have done this SO MANY TIMES in the past and it NEVER yields a clean house, so how can I expect it to now? I'm SO NERVOUS that I won't purge enough things to be able to keep this house in order, that I just won't be capable of purging ENOUGH, I won't be able to find places for everything I want to keep, I'm doomed to live forward surrounded by boxes and crawling over piles of THINGS. I feel like I'm stuck in that insanity loop again, doing the same things over and over, crawling out of my skin, CRAWLING OUT OF MY SKIN.

(Boy, I never expected this to turn into the CRAZY BLOG! Seriously, I just thought that I'd start this to help me talk about some of the dreams and goals I have, and talk about overcoming some of the things that I feel hold me back. I had no idea I had THIS MUCH of an issue with my stuff. My hope was that this blog would help other people who have the same troubles. Maybe it will. Right now it seems to have turned into something more like therapy for me though!)

The major difference here is that I am actually taking the things I'm purging straight out to my car, to donate to a charitable organization. I am NOT letting them pile up in my house, no way, no how, not this time. That is the one big difference here, the thing I've NEVER done before, and I am praying it is the thing that makes ALL the difference. I don't trust that process yet because I haven't ever done it before, but I really need it to work. If it doesn't, I don't know what else will.

In the meantime, I am going to do my best to try to deal with the horrible feelings I'm having about purging, and try to calm down about the fact that stuff is creeping out of the kids' room and the bathroom and into my other clean rooms, and trust that my husband will finish the job he's started and put everything back together, and trust that I will finish the kids' room tomorrow while they're in school and it will be much easier, and go out with my girlfriends and try to have a relaxing night of wHine therapy.


  1. Hm I can see one issue right now that is flashing like a Neon Sign. Catastrophizing. Black and white thinking. Perfectionism. All 3 part of one thing. No wonder you feel like you are losing it.

    If I may, from my outside perspective, offer some words? Take it or leave it as you prefer.

    First according to Flylady (which I know you know) -- DECLUTTERING and CLEANING are 2 different things. You need to get your routine down to a ROUTINE and THEN take on these big declutter tasks. Instead you (seem to do this according to your blog but I may be wrong yada yada disclaimer) only want to do ALL of it at once, just once, and then let it all go the rest of the time. Which is why it gets bad.

    First get your routine down. Even if it's 15 minutes a day with only certain tasks. Flylady says, you start by shining your sink (or pick a task) and for your first week, you do that and only after you have that down do you move on. Get it down, make it consistent. Then do a decluttering "in addition to", not "while you are" trying to learn a routine.

    Second, Flylady does the 27 Fling Boogie or whatchamacallit. Not "I must fling it all right now, perfectly so I never have to do it again.' N. O. No. You put on one song that you like, it's 3 minutes or so long, or you sing a song, you run around, get your 27 things/TOYS (OR 30 OR 50), toss them in bags or boxes to go out, and then STOP. Move on. Do it every day or every other day. Yes you can find the 3 minutes a day to do this. ONE SONG is 3 minutes.

    Instead you are waiting until you have 1) time and 2) motivation. Instead of making it a habit you do automatically. Then you don't have time or motivation.

    Am I explaining enough exactly where I see your issues coming from? (I have the same ones in different areas, so I get it and I am not jusging) Am I explaining that IF you set up your routines and did them consistently THEN when you have time/motivation you would be THEN doing the decluttering only bc everything else would be done. And by everything I don't mean "everything" I mean your daily routine!

    Does any of this ring a bell?

    In re: the kids' toys. Have the kids decide. Give them each one or two bins. Pick a number of toys - 10 or 20 or whatever. THEY GET TO PICK what they want to keep. Everythign else goes. If yu can't just toss it out, box the excess up and store it in Grandma's basement for 6 months then consider if you or they miss any of it. After all, you want to teach them the dangers of hoarding too, right? They need to learn to purge too, right?

  2. Also in re: OJ "messing up" the place by fixing your faucet after you had cleaned. Again I see a flashing sign, which I will attempt to describe from my outside perspective.

    This repair job was something that really really really had to be done. For a long time. Right? But he never did it. Why, bc the room or area was not cleaned or prepped for him to work. I believe in energy and I know you do too. That area and other areas of your home are areas of stagnant energy. You cleaned the area. You moved out the stagnant energy. He felt it. He felt motivated. You said it yourself.

    Can you see -- at all -- that the very reason he was able to move forward on this very needed household task was BECAUSE you had cleaned up the area?

    Like right after I CLEAN my kitchen I feel an overwhelming urge to cook something! Not bc I want to mess it all up again, but bc I love to cook and when the room is clean and prepared then I get the energy to USE it.

    I don't know how loud I can shout this but THAT IS THE WAY IT'S *SUPPOSED* TO WORK! You cleaned the bathroom and cleared off the mental clutter and the stagnant energy as well as making a clean area for him to work. He took advantage and fixed your problem! HOORAYS all around!

    When you go to the dentist no matter how bad your teeth are... he's got to clean the teeth first. FIRST clean the teeth. THEN fix the problems.

    Now did he kind of mess up the area -- yes. But again if you have a routine in place then the extra 15-30 minutes spent clearing up after a job like that is just part of the task. Finish the cycle. The task he did INCLUDES clearing up the mess after and possibly wiping off the counters again and wiping up floor smudges again. You do not have to reclean the bathroom, You have to finish the task of fixing the faucet.

    Two different things. Different! Things!

    You are moving forward, you are, you are. Don't get in your own way! This is how it's supposed to work! I swear!



Related Posts with Thumbnails