Homefire’s Law of Housekeeping

During the excavation of the family room, dd found the missing post, so I’ll type it up now.  Be forewarned–it is long!

There are those reading this whose domicile displays their dedication to domestic endeavors.  In other words, you tidy up frequently and clean regularly.  I admire that.  I even aspire to that.  But it eludes me.  Possibly because it bores me to death.  I keep trying to find something creative and exciting in housekeeping, but so far I have failed.

Since I do have some orderly instincts (really!) this frustrates me immensely.  I like order.  I find orderly surroundings much more peaceful and restful.  However, I am also a perfectionist, in a perverse sort of way.  It really bothers me to do something halfway.  If you’re gonna do it, do it right!  And unfortunately, the reverse is what so often happens:  If you’re not gonna do it right, don’t do it!

Once upon a time, I had a reasonably orderly house.  Oh, there may have been a bit of clutter here and there occasionally, BUT the drawers and closets, refrigerator and freezer were perfectly organized.  So much so that it usually took me several weeks to put away all my Christmas gifts (because after all, you have to figure out the perfect place to keep it, and if that spot is too crowded, you have to reorganize what’s already there so that it fits nicely.) 

Gradually, though, as children grew and became more involved in the cleanup routine, my little systems broke down.  The cabinets became messier, but still there was a system.  It just came sort of unglued here and there.

Since we moved three years ago, though, there are things that have never been assigned a place.  They can’t be put away because I haven’t decided where “away” is.  All the “away” spots are already full, so there are items that just rove–weary pilgrims searching for a place to rest.  I guess I have never truly downsized into my home.  I’ve only camped here, assuming that soon I will move to another home that will have more storage, so that I can set up my perfect system.  Am I living in a dream world?  Yup.


The big problem with a messy house is that it makes cleaning a huge job.  If you have to pick up and relocate dozens of things before you can clean, it’s very easy to put it off, and soon you find yourself regarding the piles of dirt in the corners and the gently wafting cobwebs above, wondering whose pigsty this is, anyway?

“AAAAUUUGGGHHHHH!!!  Where do I begin???”  I cry.

Which brings me to something I realized this morning. 

Homefire’s Law of Housekeeping

It doesn’t matter where you begin.  Just begin.  Because no matter where you begin, you won’t stay there.  Just begin anyway.

For instance, I was sitting in my chair as we finished school, mulling over the fact that soon my family would expect to eat lunch.  Knowing that the leftover supply was sketchy, but not willing to start a whole new meal from scratch, I decided to make a big pot of green beans and let them fill in with veggies where the main dish was lacking.  I headed into the laundry room, where I keep most of my canned goods.  I noticed that both of my laundry maidens were sitting idle.  Well, that won’t do.  I always need to be whittling away at Mt. Laundry.  So I started a load of white clothes and towels.  It wasn’t very full, so I went to get the dish towels and sent the kids on a sock search (usually our floors can yield several.)  Dd 10 (edit:  11 now ) brought me a white sweater (yes, picked up from the floor ) that had a spot and needed to be soaked.  But there was also a rip in the sleeve, so I had to sew that up before I washed it.  And while I was at the sewing machine, I saw the wedding dress that so desperately needed my attention…

So you see, it didn’t matter where I started.  I certainly didn’t end up there.    Okay, so lunch didn’t happen quite as soon as planned, but several other things did get done:  laundry, dirty sock pickup, mending.  And the chances are pretty good that lunch won’t be forgotten altogether.  Someone usually reminds me.

So my new revelation is that, no matter where you start housework, you will end up elsewhere, and often you will eventually find your way back to the original project, and lots of other things can get done along the way!  It may not seem very organized, but when you’re as forgetful and distractible as I am, it’s probably as good as it’s gonna get!

I’ve heard of people who can “work circles around” others, but does anyone else just work in circles, like I do?  If so, Homefire’s Law is for you!

About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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14 Responses to Homefire’s Law of Housekeeping

  1. Christmas mini’s are half price. Sorry, half to take advantage of the saving’s.

  2. BooksForMe says:

    Very amusing post!  I think Homefire’s Law is great!

  3. I realize we look nothing alike but are you sure we’re not long lost twins? fraternal ones perhaps?  We are so much alike!! Hey maybe we have ADD. Maybe we need to be medicated. Hey did you see that rabbit? <giggle snort> I really really hope you get to come down to IN sometime this winter. I just know our conversations would be stimulating and fascinating…..and run off in a hundred different directions that no one else could follow

  4. fwren says:

    Oh, my dear girlfriend ~ you have me laughing out loud this morning!  This is so hilarious and reminds me too much of myself when I had children at home.  Now, what I find myself doing is waiting to clean until the children are coming home or we are expecting company.  But things do stay in place when it is just the two of us, for the most part anyway.  I am a bit messier than dh, but at least, most rooms stay in order as we just walk through them ~ they are just dusty!  Don’t fret too much about it ~ this stage of life will pass eventually.  What about storage boxes or more shelves or stacking drawers?  Is that a possibility?  I love under the bed space for those too.  But then, I am wondering where I put things, because I can’t SEE the storage containers!  Oh well, isn’t life interesting?    How was lunch? 

  5. fwren says:

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot ~ the reason I came to your site ~ RYC:  I think the juncos were frozen in place with the temperatures yesterday! 

  6. the_grat says:

    well, as a wise man once said ‘don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can put off until next week’ – or something like that… 

  7. homefire says:

    Thanks, Grat!  I needed that!    NOT!
    Coley, As for FLyLady, I have known her for years.  We exchanged housekeeping tales of woe before she became FlyLady.  She counts me as one of her failures–the one who won’t wear shoes.     Ah, maybe I should give it a try again…

  8. nancyclark says:

    Sometimes I feel like my days go in circles too or maybe I really just have attention deficit disorder! 

  9. lglavy says:

    LOL!!!   Oh, I can soooo relate to the circles!  But here, if I can’t find an adequate home for something in a rather short amount of time……………..I relocate it, too!  However my relocation is more of a permanant nature….it either goes to Goodwill or the t r a s h.  I start twitching with too much stuff laying around.  Oh, and grousing at anyone nearby. 
    I did find a good trick for keeping things such as out of season clothes….those bags that you suck the air out of and they get reeeeeallly little.  I’m not sure what they are called, but they gave my attic a lot more room.  Stuff comes out of them looking fine. 
    I have a dear friend who reminds me how many bags we bring into our homes on a monthly basis, and how much of it isn’t really comsumed. Her solution:  every Friday she goes through the house and removes 1 large bag full of stuff.  outgrown clothes.  magazines and papers. shoes that no one will wear now that they have a nicer pair of brown ones, etc.  Try it…it feels really good and after a month or so you will notice you have less stuff!
    And if all the above fails….remember that soon we will be living in our rocking chairs drooling and we won’t be able to see the cobwebs and dust…so enjoy the moment!    Trust  me, your kids won’t remember your clean house with fondness…they will remember the fun times.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I like the simplicity of that housekeeping law.  I can read it and remember it and maybe even put it into practice!

  11. mamaglop says:

    Seriously? You know Flylady?  This post sounds so familiar.  What stops me is that some of the stuff isn’t mine, I don’t know where it came from, how important it is or whose it is, and consequently what to do with it.  Paper clutter is a big problem here.  I also hate to waste things, and I can’t give them away with spots on them or tears in them, so they drift like pilgrims here.

  12. I do alot of paper shuffling…..I caught myself awhile back and fully came awake to that thought. Still haven’t got around to a solution although I spent the last month cleaning up the upstairs because the children were coming home for Christmas. Stuff got tossed up there untill now……..couldn’t even use my two 8 ft. tables for a couple years because of clutter……but, now, I can go up there and not feel sick on my stomach and actually create! We bought a closet shelving system for one corner and 2 cube things with the colored cloth drawers and I through out tons of stuff. So much better but, for how long? No, I don’t like cleaning either and I am always trying to stay or get organised. Not in my genes, I would rather do something creative like sewing or scrapbooking or cardmaking or painting. It is easier to keep our main living quarters cleaned up since the children are gone but, the diningroom table is a huge catch all. Paper……….ho hum.

  13. homefire says:

    No, I don’t know FlyLady personally–we just hung out on the same online housekeeping forum (Sidetracked Home Executives a.k.a. Slob Sisters) years ago.  Hmm, how many years, I wonder…probably 13 or 14?  Heven’t talked to her for several years–she’s made quite a business of it!    Have to admire that!
    And yes, everyone else’s stuff and the never-ending paper are the biggest problems here, too.  I used to have a basket for each child in the stairway and anytime I found something of theirs lying around I put it there.  They were supposed to keep it emptied.  It helped some.  Now I don’t have a place for that, and I end up making piles all over, which they never remember to take care of.
    And paper?  you don’t even want to SEE my desks.  oh, boy!

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