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!