Monday, July 28, 2008

Accomplishing Something 101

Major confession day, folks. Can you handle it?

I'm NOT a neat-freak. I do like eating off of clean surfaces, but dishes left in the sink have never been a particular problem for me. I'm also a clutter-aholic. My whole family has a clutter problem. Oh, an empty chair? Just stack that stuff right there! So there, I've said it. I live in what FlyLady calls CHAOS = Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

But today? Well today is special...this date now includes a beautiful star on my calendar. Why you ask? To be perfectly candid and honest...I accomplished something today. Now, to all you worker-bee women, my accomplishments would probably seem minutely small. In comparison to MamaWeso, it would probably look like I just stayed in bed this morning. Well, actually, I did stay in bed a lot later than usual--simply because I could. But when I got up, God gave me an idea!

This wasn't by any stretch of the imagination a UNIQUE idea. But the fact that I actually had an idea at all on a Monday morning was something of a miracle in itself!

Having visited in a number of different homes over the last few weeks, coming home to mine was pretty crummy. Not that I wasn't happy being AT home with my sweet family -- it was just rather disgusting and depressing LOOKING at my own home. It's a mess! Has been a mess for quite some time! But I'm absolutely SICK of the mess!

Mr. Fix-It never complains about the mess, because he likes doing what he calls "LIVING in HIS house!" He is convinced this means he should leave his shoes everywhere, bring as much 'stuff' as he possibly can into the house--stack it wherever he can find a spot, throw away as little 'stuff' as possible -- and the ensuing clutter makes it nicer LIVING in said house--apparently. We won't even talk about what that means for the outside of the house.

But I digress--as usual. So, here's the deal. I'm tired of reading how Princess Deb's been working to clean her castle without her kids home and getting so much done. I'm tired of going to my friend's home and hearing her say how much of a mess everything is (when it is spotlessly clean without clutter!). I'm tired of staying in my SIL's beautiful (without clutter) home (which is spotless --YET she works with her builder hubby all day long!) I'm also tired of nagging Bex about getting HER part of the chores done. I'm tired of looking at all this mess and being absolutely too lazy to do anything but get the dishes and laundry done because I don't know where to start and it just makes me more depressed. Remember me confessing before that I'm a lazy bum? Believe it!

So this morning, I had an idea. TODAY will be different! It's such a rare thing these days that I have a day I can actually STAY at the messy house --why not do something about it? So here's my idea (remember, it's not really new...just haven't thought of it in awhile!)...in order to encourage myself to ACCOMPLISH something...I'll set the timer on the microwave for work AND play.

Please take into consideration, that my sweet Bex, is a champion piddler (like her Dad!). She could easily spend 20 minutes putting on one shoe. This has been going on a lllloooonnnnggg time. When Bex was younger --not the mature 16 yo she is now -- I would 'race' her to see who could get dressed first. This ALWAYS worked for my dear, sweet, competitive Bex! I didn't even care if she won, I was just happy she was finally ready to go!

So today, I had a plan. I set the timer on the microwave for 20 minutes...we raced to see who could get the most done in that time. Wow! I was amazed what vast amount could be accomplished in a mere 20 minutes! Since this was so successful, I set the timer again for 15 minutes. This was our play time. We could either spend time on the computer, read a book, talk on the phone or whatever. But after the 15 minutes--it was back to work for another 20. We did this over and over and over until Mr. Fix-It came home. (Now, you allllll know you can't do anything after your husband gets home!...Isn't there a law?)

Oh, yeah. It really sounds silly when it's written out like this -- BUT IT WORKED!!!! No complaining from said 16 yo, no complaining (or nagging) from Mom, and we made a lot of progress.

My kitchen is now spotless. Rarely used appliances stored away in the cabinet; dust no longer changes the color of the counter-top; the counters have been sanitized to within an inch of their life; the soot-blackened pan from this day and sink has now been shined by Soft-Scrub (didn't know that would do it, tried everything else first, but it worked beautifully!); dish drainer has been emptied AND Cloroxed; floor has been swept, vacuumed, and mopped; 1,000 gallon trash can emptied (okay, it's not really THAT big!); rugs cleaned and shook; and only 3-pairs of shoes are lined up at the door. I even managed to put barbecued chicken in the crock-pot and a recipe of Egg bread in the bread machine. Oh, it smells nice right now!

All the clothes have been washed, folded and put away. (Except for that pesky overnight bag that I PROMISE to empty tonight!--but they're clean clothes!) The tops of the washer and dryer have been cleared of unnecessary items that just seem to accumulate there (Must be those lone socks that put things there...when they aren't mating with hangers!); the new Bounce box has actually been put in the proper container; and the tops wiped clean of that dirt and dust that seems to always live there.

The living room has been de-cluttered, blankets folded, and vacuumed. Bex also used one of her 20 minutes to get her piano lesson done. I loved working to that sweet music! (No banging, no tears...long story)

===>Rabbit trail coming: For piano, Bex is working on the song, "He's Been Faithful" by Carol Cymbala. Ahhh...makes me cry nearly every time...I love it for several reasons I'll talk about another time. You can listen to a piece of it here. Here are some of the words...

In my moments of fear, through every pain, every tear,
There's a God who's been faithful to me.

When my strength was all gone, when my heart had no song,
Still in love, He's proved faithful to me.

Every word He's promised is true;
What I thought was impossible I see my God do.

When my heart looked away, the many times I could not pray,
Still my God was faithful to me.

When days are spent so selfishly, reaching out for what pleased me
Even then God was faithful to me

He's been faithful, faithful to me.
Looking back, His love and mercy I see
Though in my heart, I have questioned
Even failed to believe
Yet He's been faithful, faithful to me.

I just LOVE that song. ===>Rabbit trail ends here.<=== Now, here's the really best part. Lots of elbow-grease later...my bathroom is spotless! Where in the world does all that hair come from? Surely, not off my head!!! Though, considering Mr. Fix-It has a flat-top haircut, I guess I can't blame it on him! How do I have any left on my head? I want a pretty counter like the Princess... but I'll just settle for a clean one without all the clutter that seems to accumulate here, too...must be those pesky socks again. Honestly, most of the grime does come from Mr. Fix-It -- he's such a MAN; he works hard and doesn't mind getting dirty. But he does try not to make too big of a mess. (He's even been known to sweep the floor when he realizes it was HIM who tracked in all that dirt; but he'll never admit it!)

So this probably doesn't sound like a whole lot to you neat-nik cleanaholics. We did do a few other deep-cleaning things...but it would make FlyLady very proud to see the 'zones' that got the full treatment today. Mr. Fix-It came in and was so impressed (he loves the smell of Clorox! LOL!) he actually went back outside and started mowing the yard! What would he do if we cleaned all the clutter out of the dining room where we could put our table back in there? I shudder to think! (Yes, the dining room is a whole 'nother story for another day.)

Bex and I will be in town for the next few days, so we'll have to just hit the high spots for the next few days....Oh....but wait till THURSDAY!!!




Stay tuned.

(If you're looking for some great ideas for getting your kids to work -- Check out Talk About it Tuesday at the Lazy Organizer!)

15 Click here to Comment!:

Kelley said...

Awesome! Doesn't it just feel refreshing to walk inside now? I'm the same way sometimes and put the deep cleaning off but then when I finally get to it I wonder why I waited so long. I wanna see some pictures!!!

MamaHenClucks said...

What a great idea for getting things done! I have to agree with Mr. Fix It, I love the smell of Clorox, too. And Lysol. But I confess I am one of those "neat freak" people and let too many fun things go by in favor of cleaning. We all have our crosses to bear LOL! But good for you! I'm off to windex my glass kitchen table.

Becky boo said...

[hahaha! Pictures??? Weeelll...]
Very nice mom! I like the new cleaning system cause I don't have to just work, work, work all day, but get that little 15 minutes between every 20. VERY good idea!

Amber said...

I hate cleaning. There are so many other things that I enjoy doing better, so I stick to those things.

When I do clean, I love the sense of accomplishment and the way everything looks though. :)

Mom2my9 said...

Hi Meg! I'm TOTALLY with you on the timer thing. You can't imagine how often I use my timer. I have nine kids, the youngest of whom are 5-month-old twins, and each of my older kids have to take 15-minutes intervals with the twins while they are awake. We also do a 10 minute clean-up right before bed as a family, and I do a 20 minute cleanup right after all the kids go to bed. It helps SO, SO much getting ahead on the next day! Congrats!

princessmomma said...

Your house sounds just like mine. Is it bad to admit that I can't remember what was actually cooked in some of the dishes that currently reside in my sink?

Thanks for the inspiration today. I'm going to try using my timer over the next few days to get stuff done.

Mrs. Organic said...

Way to go! It feels so good to get so much done.

Kelsey said...

Way to go thats great!

Kara said...

Where did you get all these new people (new to me) to comment? Are you buying them somewhere? Where do I sign up?

You inspire me!

The Lazy Organizer said...

You are so inspiring! I am on a mission to clear the clutter around here. I worked on it a couple hours this morning but there is always more! I don't know where it comes from!

Candy Cook said...

Congratulations!! Hope it stays clean for you.

allhisblessings said...

Whoo hooo! I get all stressed out and cranky when my house is too messy and I start hauling things off to Good Will. Yep, I'm one of those people. Congrats on finding your inner neatness! Doesn't it feel refreshing?

Debbie said...

So, I miss a couple of days...er, weeks of reading your blog (Doesn't it seem like I should've had MORE time for blog reading while my kids were gone...) - and I come back to find you talking about me behind my bloggy back!
I will forgive you because you mentioned how pretty my counters are :)

Congratulations on your inspirational day! Just remember -
It's a lot easier if you do this a couple of times a week. You'll end up with a 20 minute work period and NO WORK TO DO. It's true! Try it :)

Your neatfreak friend with the great counters - PrincessDeb

mamajil said...

I am inspired....so after my next cup of coffee I am off to clean bathrooms! :)

Nikki said...

I love this idea. After I finish reading everyone else's contributions, I'm going to use it myself. I can Listen to the Olympics during my 20 minutes working and go rewind if I need to.