I am going to be completely honest here, and say that one of my all time biggest struggles is keeping a clean home. Oh, I try to. And, there’s been times in my life where I’ve done better than others. But, it is truly a real struggle. I don’t really know the reason why. I think part of the reason is that I’m a perfectionist. You may be thinking….”Well, if you’re a perfectionist, it would make sense that the house is always in perfect order.” You would think so, however, I’ve found that my perfectionism also can cause utter chaos. I rationalize that since I don’t have time to make it perfect like I want it, I might as well not do it at all. It’s really pretty silly for me to think that way, because doing SOMETHING is certainly better than doing NOTHING. But, sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed and almost paralized because I just can’t keep up with it all. I have four kids, and with each addition, it seems to have gotten more difficult. And, this overwhelmed feeling leads to much guilt, and feelings of failure. It’s a pretty dreadful place to be.
I’ve read numerous books on cleaning and organization. I’ve even implemented many plans. I definitely have some favorite books I could recommend on the topic, and I may just list them at some point in case this is a struggle for anyone else. But, the truth of the matter is….unless you put into practice what you read, and not just for a short time, but for the long haul, it will not stick. It’s really quite a bummer. I’ve often wished I could hire out help for keeping a clean house, but I am a stay at home momma, so I should be able to handle this! I’ve had some great friends and family come and help me during some extra overwhelming times in my life. They proved to be such a blessing, but the guilt returns once again when I’m unable to maintain what they helped me to create.
The longer I struggle with this, and the more I pray about it, I am coming to the conclusion that it’s really a whole lot about habits. We get into these bad habits, like:
- Leaving things out because we think it takes too long to put them away
- Rushing to leave, so we don’t have time to pick up first (this is also a time management problem that seems to go along with the chaos of a messy home)
- Spending too much time on screens….t.v., social media, phones
- Sleeping in when getting up earlier would be a better choice
- Staying up too late…then being too tired to accomplish much the next day
- Having TOO MUCH STUFF
- Allowing things to build up to an overwhelming state
- Not taking time out for recharging (I recharge by listening to Worship music, spending time in prayer and Bible Study, enjoying nature drawing and journaling, art, and date nights with my husband, or girls night’s out)
- Not having a plan for meals…until the last minute
- Not having a plan for each day
And, once bad habits are formed, they are VERY HARD to break!
I’m currently reading yet another book on clutter. I do find that reading the books help me to get motivated to make the necessary changes. Since begining to read this latest book, I have gone back to making daily To-Do Lists. It really helps me to maintain good habits. Right now my list consists of:
- Making My Bed as soon as I rise
- Getting Ready for the day (Shower, Dress, Hair, Face)
- Making and Eating Breakfast
- Bible Study & Prayer Time
- Daily Chores
After I complete all of these things, I add to my list other things I’d like to accomplish that I may or may not get to. For instance, right now, I am preparing for my son’s graduation so I have on my list to get the address labels made for the graduation invitations. I’m also in the midst of planning homeschooling for next year, writing lesson plans, selling old curriculum, etc. So, I add those things so I don’t forget anything. And, if I don’t get to those things, I just move them to the list for the next day. Having a list has really helped me stay better on task each day, feel more organized, and accomplish more. It has also helped me to prioritize the most important things. So, for me a list is really necessary! I can’t believe I allowed myself to stop using one for awhile. Chaos returns with a vengeance when I don’t!
The last couple books I’ve read have really focused a lot on getting rid of so.much.stuff. It’s impossible to keep a home clean when the clutter is overtaking it. And, not really just clutter, but any access items. We don’t NEED all the stuff that we own, but we just keep bringing more in! It’s especially hard with kids and toys. And, homeschooling makes it tough, too. But, I do feel so much better emotionally, when my house feels like it’s been cleaned out. Last summer, I did a major declutter. I went through all the bedrooms, closets, clothes, toys, books, etc, and packed up probably 15-20 bags to give away. It felt awesome! That was after the last book I read on this subject. I’ve learned, though, that after almost a year, it is something that needs to be done probably quarterly. Otherwise more stuff keeps coming in! With birthdays and Christmas gifts, with homeschooling books and supplies, with new clothes and shoes, and growing children….the stuff justs continues to accumulate. And, once again, I’m feeling the suffocation of an unorganized, cluttered house. And, honestly, I’ve learned you really can’t organize clutter. It’s nice to organize those things you love and are keeping. But, I must get rid of the rest!
So, since realizing I once again need to purge….I’m planning to tackle what I didn’t accomplish last year. That includes the linen closet, bathroom cabinets, kitchen cabinets, and revamping of the kids clothes, shoes, and toys, and the most dreaded of all….the BASEMENT…otherwise known as the dungeon. I’m actually hoping to get my entire family on board for the basement, and hoping to tackle it all over one weekend. I don’t know if I will be able to accomplish it all in one weekend, but I do think it’s a great goal. So, hopefully I can post an update with the before and after pictures! And, if I’m able to maintain by developing GOOD habits to replace my bad ones, I will share my awesome list of books I’ve used over the years that have helped me a ton!
So, do you struggle with keeping a clean home? Clutter? Disorganization? Have you conquered these struggles in your life? If so, I’d love to hear how you got from Chaos to Order!