I have a Type A personality. Everyone who knows me is sure of this. My husband accepted it a long time ago. In fact, if you ask my family, they would say I’m this guy:
In any case, the wonders of the internet have shown me that there are others like me out there, other who delight in list making, cleaning, organizing, reorganizing, labeling and relabeling, and then sitting back, admiring these tasks. I’m not a cook, I’m not a sewer, I’m a cleaner and organizer. Yup, the tasks that most people hate. (Luckily, Hubby doesn’t mind cooking, but he’s terrible at the cleaning part. Seriously, your marriage will be much happier if you can find someone who prefers to cook while you clean, or clean while you cook. And that’s your marriage therapy lesson for the day).
Anyways, the problem I’ve found since I started staying home is that I AM the Anal Retentive Chef: I want to do things JUST SO, and I get easily sidetracked into meaningless chores. Like, I need to fold the laundry, but instead I put Frankie’s toys away for the 20th time that day. Or I won’t let myself vacuum until the room is decluttered, which WILL NEVER HAPPEN.
But then I found the Fly Lady’s website, and she has seriously changed my perspective. (She’s widely popular online, so please forgive me if I act like I found something new. I was homeschooled and I never had cable growing up, so I don’t know about things like trends or popularity or how to be cool). It’s a whole website devoted to cleaning and scheduling your time – see, I told you that there’s other sick people out there. And while I don’t like everything she does, she has some basic ideas that I like, like having a morning and evening routine, writing everything down, and only spending 15 minutes a day organizing/decluttering/etc. And her biggest message is that little steps will eventually help you get your house in order, and not to let yourself feel like you’re constantly behind.
Am I the only person out there that can’t relax in clutter? I hate clutter and messes, and they make anxious. There. I said it. I know this makes me uncool (not that the whole homeschooling thing already didn’t do that). I know this is far from the I’m-too-cool-to-clean, I-have-better-things-to-do attitude that, trust me, I am envious of, but that’s not me. I want order. I want labels. I want everything in its place. Of course, I never feel like I have that because I’VE MOVED ONCE A YEAR FOR THE PAST DECADE! ONCE A YEAR! Do you know what that’s like for anal retentive people?
Well, back to the Fly Lady. I went through her website, and like I said, I don’t follow everything that she does, but I do like the idea of the routines and only spending 15 a day on cleaning/organizing. I know it sounds strange, but it’s actually quite liberating to know that once the routine is done, and once the 15 minutes are up, YOU’RE DONE for the day.
Here’s the little routine I came up with. Granted, many days only some things happen, and sometimes none of it happens, thanks to a certain little toddler who won’t let me sleep. But it’s what I strive for, and I think it’s totally feasible. The things marked in italics are the steps that I currently find a hard time working in.
- Make bed immediately
- Get dressed, wash face, and fix my hair
- Wipe down bathroom
- Change Frankie’s diaper and get him dressed for the day
- Bring a load of laundry downstairs
- Breakfast and coffee with Frankie
Afternoon Routine / The Mad Scramble During Naptime
- Empty dishwasher from the night before
- Wash dishes from breakfast and lunch
- Toss the laundry into the dryer (or into the wash if not already)
- Write a blog post
- Fold laundry and put away
- 15 minutes of decluttering or organizing, according to FlyLady zones
Before Bed Routine
- Kitchen: wash dishes, run dishwasher, clean counters, and sweep floor
- Think about dinner for tomorrow (i.e. take out any meat to defrost)
- Living Room: general pickup
- Think about activities tomorrow: pack diaper bag, find keys and wallet, make grocery list, etc.
- Lay out clothes for tomorrow for me and for Frankie
- Wipe down downstairs bathroom
- Take a shower
It’s really not THAT bad of a list – seriously, you should see some of the lists that I used to come up with. God Himself would take one look at the list and tell me that even He rested every now and then. What I like about the Fly Lady’s approach is that it’s simple, straightforward, and thinking ahead. Such as, planning your day the night before? Genius! Getting dressed first thing in the morning and not lying around in your pajamas until 2 pm? Brilliant!
Feeding your inner OCD? Surprisingly comforting.