Sunday, November 8, 2009

Old Habits Die Hard

One day. One day can make a HUGE difference.

Yesterday I took one day off from the household routines I am trying to implement, the routines that I believe will keep my house clean. The routines that HAVE been, to this point, keeping the rooms in my house that I'd already finished, clean.

Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a day 'off' because I spent a good portion of the morning shopping for household items. But it was a day off in the sense that I did NOT do my routines at all, not even after I got back from shopping. After shopping, we took a family trip to the park and enjoyed the beautiful and unexpected 70 degree November weather we are having this weekend. Then we came home, had dinner, watched Bolt together, put the kids to bed, spent some 'couples' time gaming together, and had sleepovers with our children. No, the day was not 'off', nor was it wasted at all.

But in not doing my routines, I noticed that the house got mucked up in an almost unbelievable fashion. Especially the kitchen; the counters are covered in dishes and garbage and old food. From ONE. DAY. What a difference! Like a bomb went off.

Here is where old habits die hard. In the past, I have been TERRIBLE about cleaning up after myself. Terrible. I just leave things wherever they are when I am finished with them. (Including dishes and garbage.) This makes the cleaning process much more difficult when it is time to do my routines each day, because there is so much more to pick up all at once. Doing it as I go would likely be much easier. This SEEMS logical, yet it's a skill I appear to be lacking.

I've been working on it. I've gotten much better at throwing garbage out right away; taking dishes to the sink. Putting toys and books back when I'm done with them, and so on. Trying to encourage my family to do the same. We're all learning.

Yesterday was not such a good day in this department. Instead of wallowing in it, I am trying to be much more AWARE of it, so that I can see how damaging it is (and how quickly it filthifies the house!), and CHANGE it.

Starting now, with my daily household chores.


  1. don't tell anyone, but there is a collection of 9 different empty soda cans on the lower level of this coffee table as i type this.


  2. I can attest to the fact that it JUST takes practice. That's all. With practice it becomes a compulsion....and then, before you know it...when dinner is ready...the kitchen is clean, the garbage is out, the dishes are done and you even found time to sweep quickly.

    I know it sounds crazy but just practice the whole "pick up as you go along" and you'll be doing it without great emotional effort in no time!

    Also, I would guess tht Drake and Oksana will be learning this skill by watching you and that will make life easier for you as well.


  3. Randy's bad habits began to rub off on me as far as trash and dishes and it started driving me crazy! I'm hoping we can change that here in the apt. since it feels so shiny and new! My goal is to teach him to rinse his dishes, at the very least, and hopefully to put them in the dishwasher right away so we can just turn it on when it's full. It's a SUPER TINY dishwasher...we shall see.

    Practice makes perfect, right? :P It's easier to remind yourself to pick up after YOU. It's harder not to get down when you have to pick up after everyone else, too...but you can do it! :)

  4. You're not alone. I too am awful at the simple task of keeping things neat and tidy. In my household it's usually a mad dash to clean things; I deep clean maybe once every two to three months if I'm feeling spunky. Once everything is spic and span, I take a look around and realize how good it feels. I then vow to keep things maintained; do a little bit each night before bed and a little bit in the mornings. I usually make it about two weeks before the utter disarray takes back over.

    Just wanted to let you know you're NOT alone, lots of us struggle with this issue!

  5. I'm often on the 'two weeks of maintenance' system myself. I have daily cleaning lists and everything written out, so i know exactly what needs to be done each day to maintain my house. Yet I have never seemed able to make it a consistent routine! So far, this time, I've been doing pretty good. Like I posted a while back, it's definitely been a process for me, and largely a mental one. The differences this time around, so far, are as follows:
    1) I simplified the list as much as possible so that I don't feel like I'm spending ALL DAY EVERY DAY cleaning.
    2) I am so utterly SICK of living in clutter and not being a productive human being that I feel more motivated than I ever have before
    3) If there is something on my list for the day that, for whatever reason, I just REALLY don't want to do that day... I SKIP IT. I ditch it and I skip out on the guilt trip too! For instance, today's list had "groom pets" on it, and I just really didn't want to for no good goddamn reason. SO I DIDN'T. And I don't feel bad about it either because I know it's on my list again later this week, and before I made these lists I wasn't doing it AT ALL, so if it only gets done once this week it's no big deal! That way I don't get hung up on this ONE task I don't want to do and end up not doing any of it... I just skip that one this time around, do the others, the house still stays in pretty decent shape and I still feel good.
    4) I do my list first thing in the morning, after breakfast. That way I can't put it off.

    So far that's working pretty well for me. It still sometimes takes me half the day to get around to doing my list, and I'm still nowhere near as productive as I want to be, but it's all getting better and I do think I'm learning. Realizing over the weekend how bad things can get when I let it go, too, helps. Not that I didn't KNOW it before, but I really need to keep myself aware of it and on my toes so I don't allow myself to backslide!



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