Monday, June 25, 2007

This place is a mess!

Yes, yes... being absent from home during 12-14 hours every day doesn't help to keep a clean home! I would be so embarrassed if any of you saw the thick layer of dust on our furniture. I only have time to do the very basic things - washing the floors, doing the dishes, making beds, laundry. And I must say, this doesn't cheer me up at all! I can't wait to be able to do a good, thorough cleaning. I love it when the place looks welcoming and fresh, and when I'm not ashamed to receive visitors.

Housekeeping for my precious family, as I find out again and again, isn't simple. It takes talent, ability and organization. And it also takes time. Today, people don't have time to invest in their home and make it a lovely place. Many prefer eating out, even during family celebrations. Isn't it sad how the culture of family and home grows weaker? But it is in our power to preserve it, ladies!

I think I will stop my rant here. I eagerly wait for your tips and strategies on keeping house at the busiest periods of your life.

22 comments:

Lydia said...

I find the biggest help is to start out with everything nice and organized. If it isn't, then I suggest taking a weekend or two to get everything in order. When you start out organized, and everything has a place to go, then it's much easier to keep it nice in the long run.

Also, about once a month, I take the vaccum around the baseboards. It doesn't take up too much time on a Saturday, if you're busy during the week, and it help keep the house looking polished.

Anna S said...

Lydia,

I think partly it's because I do feel it's important to do everything during the week. Weekends are a cherished and treasured time I spend with my family, reading, learning and praying.

Therefore I'm always in a frenzy during the week :)

Sheri said...

Yes, it does take TIME. For sure! But, like you said, it's our job, (that's us sweet sisters) to make our homes a priority. And, as in everything, our Father will give us all the strength and wisdom we need... lets keep asking Him!

I find that times we are extra busy, I need to get up earlier or stay up later to finish homemaking tasks, cleaning, etc. It's amazing how just giving up one extra hour of sleep can make a huge difference during those times.

Planning ahead helps too. If I know we are super busy or traveling bunches, I will prepare simpler meals, make sure I have at least one load of laundry in whenever we are home, and keep things picked up. My 4 year old is a great helper in this area!

Tracy said...

Organization is the key. Put things away when you are finished with them. It takes less time to do it at once than to clean it up later.

I clean the entire house every week. Including doorframes, and baseboeards. My children help, as they were trained at a very young age.

I can't imagine being gone so many hours a day, Anna. I hope that things slow down for you soon.

Alexandra said...

You always have fun questions. I find that for me, it works better if I break tasks into smaller parts, and do them when I have little periods of freetime. For instance, in the bathrooms I tackle one or two items at a time at least daily. So I'll clean the toliet and a sink, and another day I'll tackle the floor and another sink in the guest bathroom, and so on. Rather than all or nothing, I chip away at it little by little.

When I worked full time I took part of Saturday to clean. I ran through the house like gangbusters. I had my little plastic portable carrier with all my supplies, and a nice lightweight vacuum with a long cord. It was easy. Now I have stairs and more dirt with the two children tracking in stuff from the garden. It's not quite as fast.

Another thing that helps is I keep a duster out in every room, so I can take a swipe at it when it needs it. I'd love to get a real ostrich feather duster. I read those are the best at holding the dust, and they last forever.

If I lived nearby I'd come help you with that dust. :) For some weird reason I like cleaning, although I do have help now. My son is a good duster.

Anonymous said...

It really does take time, doesn't it, to make one's home an orderly & welcoming place. And, I would add, an awareness of the family's needs.

I dislike most clutter, and find that the simple act of picking up regularly, and seeing that my children tidy up their messes, go a long way toward achieving a nice-looking place. This is not obsessive-complusive behavior. Safety needs to be uppermost in a home with children (especially very young ones), and attention to that yields a happier, sane homemaker! It may seem as though that's all you do, but in truth you are creating good habits in your children, and you wind up having more time for them, and I do mean what the world likes to call "quality time".

I've heard it said that cleaning house when you have children is like shoveling snow in the middle of a blizzard! Well, there is always a grain of truth in pithy little remarks like that, but I would still rather shovel, so to speak, a bit at a time, all the time, than wait and try to dig myself and my family out of a huge mess.

I have learned so much from talking to women who've "been there", and some of the best advice I received was from my mother, who told me, during my babies-in-diapers, up-during-the-night period of early motherhood, "Oh, honey, do you think I managed to get all of my work done, ALL of the time? For a while, just dust everything at eye level & below. Keep the dishes washed, try & stay caught up with the laundry." And she was right!
Everything has a season.

Brenda

Anna S said...

Sheri,

I only sleep around 5 hours these days. ;)

Tracy,

Yes, it should get better soon, once I'm done with final projects and exams. It's hard! Not only because there are mountains of dirty laundry. Grandma is alone for so many hours a day. How precious our homes are, and how I cherish every moment spent at home.

Brenda,

Love the snow analogy.

Alexandra,

Thanks for the tips!

I don't think you'd offer that if you saw those horrible mountains of dust :P

PandaBean said...

I am a huge fan of FlyLady's 15 minutes at a time, for /everything/! Except I do only 10 minutes most of the time and set the timer for only 5 if it's something I really don't want to do. It's amazing to me how much I can get done in 5 minutes.
I also take the "middle of the carpet" idea to heart. The idea of vaccuuming the highest traffic areas gets translated to dusting the most obvious areas and mopping under the dishwasher and by the front door. Again, if I put a good 5-10 minutes into it, I end up looking for nooks and crannies (only sometimes) to try to fill up my time before the timer goes off.
When it comes to doing a big job, like dusting a larger home, I do it by focusing on the Zones (FlyLady again), starting with this week's zone and working clockwise around the house.
As Sheri said, I'm finding I can get most of my morning routine finished if I can get myself to wake up a half an hour before DD gets up. It can be very difficult to do so when one is exhausted from such a long hard day already. Hopefully you'll have a little more time after you get out of school! (And before you get pushed into a job.)

God Bless!

Anna S said...

Panda,

It's funny how I was the one who suggested FlyLady back then, and now I'm sturggling to use those tips myself :) The timer does work great, and I use it. I suppose I have to get used to the idea I can't clean everything at once. It's just that when I start, I get on a swing and it's frustrating to stop. But doing small portions of work at a time is better than doing nothing.

Kyla said...

Anna,

So excited to see this post because I have recently started using a new structure for my housekeeping and it has worked so well. Now that I office at home and DH is working longer hours I wanted to have a system that would keep things always in order. My husband is great about helping out and he always keeps his bathroom clean, does the dishes after dinner (I wash all the pots and pans and make sure the dishwasher is empty for him) and runs the vacuum. But the majority of the household chores are mine so I have things broken into 3 categories:

Projects: cleaning out closets, working in flowerbeds, organizing cabinets, painting, sewing, and decorating. I sit down on Sunday evenings with my day planner ( I use the same calendar for work and home) and decide which projects that I want accomplish in the following week. I decide which days I can schedule them and I make a list of what supplies I need to accomplish each project.


Maintenance Tasks: The everyday tasks such as laundry, cleaning up the bathrooms, sweeping, cleaning the kitchen, dusting, watering the yard and pulling weeds. I try to do something every morning before I start work and then again on my lunch break. I also have about 2 hours before DH gets home that I can make dinner and accomplish these tasks. Often I will do laundry in the evenings and we will fold it together while we watch tv or talk. When he is cleaning up dinner, I sweep and run the mop quickly.

Deep Cleaning: Baseboards, Deep clean bathrooms, windows, fridge, ceiling fans, walls, fireplace (in the winter), Porch (in the summer), Shampoo carpets, etc. I either do this myself or I pay somebody to come in and do this. If I do it then I get up early on Saturday (b/c DH likes to sleep in late) and it usually takes me about 3 hours.

This system has been working really well and I can see it working for anybody who loves keeping house but would like some flexibility and doesn’t want to be tied to housework.

Mrs. H said...

I'm hardly one who should post a "works for me" comment (you should see, no, make that shouldn't see, my house!), but I can say that the only thing that has enabled me to cope has been to get rid of many things we thought we "needed".

I went through the boys' toys and got rid of 15 leaf bags full of toys, just to begin with. When I'm done, they're only going to have about 7 very nice sets of toys. Blocks, balls, wooden trains, legos, playmobil pirates, a few nice trucks, and some matchbox cars. Even that sounds like a lot to me, but they're good boys and they do play with those a lot.

I'm going through our clothes, and streamlining our wardrobes.

I'm going through my kitchen and getting rid of unneccesary things like extra dishes, gadgets, etc.

You name it, I'm getting rid of it. It's very hard to have a clean home with a place for everything and everything in its place if you have so much stuff you are being buried in it.

Mrs.B. said...

Isn't it sad how the culture of family and home grows weaker? But it is in our power to preserve it, ladies!

AMEN!!

Haus Frau said...

I use a card system laying out my cleaning system each day of the week, month, quarterly and annually. It's not FLYlady, just something I put together.

My knicknacks are minimal which helps nip dusting time. That's a biggie for me. Sometimes I clean in 15 minute increments, using my timer.

You being away from your home so long each day lends itself to stress in attempting to get *everything* done. You simply cannot. Choose your chores wisely.

Each morning I wake, flip the coffee switch, start a load of laundry, grab my bible and sit down for a slow waking period with the Lord. When I hear the shower running for my husband I get his breakfast ready, he eats, then I see him off. It's 5:30 by that time and the laundry is ready to go out on the line (or dryer depending on the season). Then I complete my chores, take a shower, pretty up and begin the rest of my day by about 9am.

Oh...I sleep 5 hours on the average. Just a weird personal clock thing I have.

PandaBean said...

I've jumped into FlyLady with both feet and am trying to make sure I only do the babysteps. One thing at a time! For the first time in a long time, I have fresh clean sheets on the bed and a minimum amount of dust! And it's really all thanks to you for introducing me to FlyLady! Thank you again, soooo much! It's given me time on the weekends to relax with DH.

Anna S said...

Mrs. H,

I'm going to get rid of SO much stuff when we start packing. Not too long now!

Sherry,

I think I should mention that I don't sleep for 5 hours because it's enough for me :P I simply don't have time to sleep longer. On weekends I take about 8 hours of sleep.

Haus Frau said...

Oh Anna, I **want** to sleep longer. Try as I might, it would appear I can't. sigh...

Anna S said...

... oh, and Kyla, thanks for the tips. I could certainly use some flexibility right now. :)

Anonymous said...

I know this comment isn't about this post... but I didn't know where else to ask you. Sorry!

What do you wear while you are exercising? How do you dress modestly and, say, go for a run?

Thanks!
Emily

Anna S said...

Emily,

If you want to contact me, you can always email me (email address is at the top of the blog). Feel free to do so!

But of course I don't mind answering your question right here.

When I go for a run, I wear a light skirt and a t-shirt. I know jogging in a skirt sounds a bit unusual, but if the skirt is loose and made from breathing fabric, it's even more comfortable than the normal sweatpants. During winter, I might wear a pair of pants underneath my skirt to keep warm.
However, these days I do most of my exercise at home so it's less of a problem for me.

Autumn said...

A clean house is always the best! I hate the way a dirty house feels. I don't think that I could clean our whole house by myself!

Christy said...

Hmmm...this is a hard one because this is something I struggle with!

The most important thing I do is never take a day off. Since my children are so young clutter is just part of it, their toys are everywhere. I actually enjoy it-I love seeing the fingerpaints all over the kitchen table, the barbies all over my daughter's floor, and my son's trains all over the living room. But if I don't make an effort to clean it all up before lunch, before dinner and before bed the clutter takes over!
I also keep my washing machine going, I keep Lysol wipes in my bathroom and wipe them down daily, I keep the dishwasher going, the counters clean and the floors swept. I vaccum the carpets three times a week because we only have carpet in our bedrooms, and I wash the linens every Saturday.
Grocery shopping and tasks like that have their assigned day and somehow it gets done!
ONe thing I have had to accept is that the house will not always appear to be as clean as it is. Toys will be everywhere, children will be everywhere, but at least I can make sure that the floors, bathrooms, counters, bedding, ect... are at least clean!

Anna S said...

Christy,

With young children around, I think having a spotless house is an almost impossible goal. Basic cleanliness and order will do. It's very easy to tell the difference between a home that is a bit messy but generally taken care of, and a home that hasn't been cleaned for weeks!