Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sweating the Small Stuff

You're not going to believe this... really, you're not. When I'm away from blogging it's usually been because I'm too ashamed to post pictures. Kind of like why an addict stops going to their classes, right?

Well, you want to know why I've been absent these past few days?

The entire downstairs of my house is clean! The kitchen is clean, the play room is clean, the bathroom is clean, the laundry room is clean, and the living room is clean. There is no junk stuffed in corners or baskets of toys waiting to g osomewhere. The Christmas decorations are put away, and the island in the kitchen has nothing but a candle and the soap dispensers.

I'm going to update this later with pictures once I find the camera cord :)

So, to the title of the post. Yes, I know that most people tell you not to sweat the small stuff. Well, today I'm telling you that you absolutely MUST sweat the small stuff! That is, if you're anything like me.

Do you want to know why my house becomes such an incredible mess? It's because I don't sweat the small stuff.

Oh, there's a load of laundry that needs folded... no big deal, I'll do it at some point.

NO! Do it NOW!

Man, I'm tired... I don't feel like washing up after dinner.

NO! You have a stinkin DVR, set your tv show to record and clean up NOW!

Ugh... there are toys everywhere and I just want to play on Farmville... I'll wake up early tomorrow and straighten up before work.

ABSOLUTELY NOT, AMBER! Get your butt off the computer and take 15 minutes to straighten up your home, the one you paid thousands of dollars for and loved the moment you stepped inside. Why have a nice home if you're not going to CLEAN IT?!

Those are some of the conversations I've been having with myself of late. This is how I'm teaching myself to sweat the small stuff, to make the small stuff matter. These "small" things are what build up into huge things for me, and by making them important, I'm keeping my house clean.

A defining moment recently for me was when I had a group of friends over (this was what we cleaned for), and everyone was talking about how they just can't let things be messy and love cleaning. Whaaatt??? Where do these women come from? When I admitted that I'm a lazy slob, they all looked at me like I was insane. I don't want to be that lazy slob anymore, so I'm going to fake it til I make it. I purposefully used real plates and real cups instead of paper (I hate disposable products... why throw something away and fill up a landfill when you can just wash it? Well, in the past, I wait forever to wash it so my husband insists on paper when he doesn't have time to clean! No more!). And after everyone left, I cleaned. I cleaned up everything and boy did it feel good!

The next day I had a cake order and made this cake without having to clean like crazy first. Then, when the woman picked it up the next day, it took my husband and I a total of ten minutes to straighten the toys and such to make the house neat. Ten minutes! It usually takes at least an hour or two to "straighten" if anyone is stopping by.

I like this new clean that I have, and I hope that it stays. Honestly, it's cleaner right now downstairs than it has been since I started this blog, and it's a great feeling!

So for now, I'm sweating the small stuff and going with the motto of DO IT NOW!

What do you do that helps you to stay on task?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm Back! For Real This Time :)

Okay, so the squalor is at a manageable level again to a point where we can function in the home. When I say "squalor" it really isn't *that* bad, but it's how I felt in the house. A few days of dedicated cleaning really helped to get things ready to be maintained. Now there are quite a few things that still need to be done, of course, but those will be my weekly projects. For example, my bedroom needs a deep, down-to-the-bones cleaning. So does the computer room. But at this point, things are, in fact, manageable. And let me tell you... I am psyched!

This is how my house looks right this second. No, it's not perfect. But it's getting there, which is the point of this project. I even semi-passed my "oh no someone just rang the doorbell unexpectedly!" test. No, the house wasn't ideal. Yes, I was embarassed a little. But you know what? It wasn't horrifyingly gross.

So as you can see, we got a new couch. If I had picked it out and paid more than nothing for it (it was free!), it definitely wouldn't be in this color. I'm currently searching for a couch cover but it will do for now. I am finally able to use my beloved brown chairs for something other than clothes, though you will notice that the yucky recliner is now holding a bunch of clothes. That's something that is very difficult for me to not sink back into the habit of doing! Anyway, my oldest tore down the big curtain rod the other day and we're working on getting it back up at some point. I do need to move them off of the other chair though.

So what did we do with the old couch? Well, it's been put to good use. It's now in the "play room." I feel like it gives the room a little more purpose, and the boys love having it in there! Plus, it's great for hiding toys. Their tents, swords, and a bunch of other toys fit nicely behind the couch. I have their art table set up now where they can actually use it, and then we have the toy storage thing in the other corner (still no curtain up there yet lol). See that big bin of toys? All the toys in it and around it are finding a new home, whether it's the church nursery or a donation box somewhere, they're out of here! AND I'm not even CLOSE to finished with the purging process.

Oh! I just found a semi-recent "before" picture of the playroom. It was a DISASTER!

Bottom line is that things are changing. I started off strong but then got depressed that I was doing this alone and stopped. My husband had been working very long shifts (holidays and inventory... yuck!) and coming home only to drop dead asleep in bed. I would get home from work and feel extremely overwhelmed with everything. I think this surprise week off for "snowmagedon" or "snopocalypse" really helped me to get motivated again!

Oh, and for kicks here are some snow pictures from the 50" of snow we got last week!

Storm 1:

Storm 2:

This is usually a steep (but not cliff-like dangerous) incline. It's a very gradual slope now lol!)

Do you see how the car is covered part way up the yellow part of it? It's one of those little tyke cars and, believe it or not, that's in the shallow-ish section of our back yard where the wind has blown a lot of the snow onto the other side!
(P.S. I hope to be posting at least every other day, so make sure to start checking back again for updates!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Getting Rid of the Clutter

So this past week I've been focusing on one question: "Do we need this?"

Right now I'm going through things to figure out what we need and what we don't need. Do the boys need to keep that toy that they never play with? No, they don't. Just because I remember exactly when we bought that tractor and how excited Levi was to have the tractor doesn't mean I need to keep that tractor when neither child has played with it in months. No, that doesn't sound very convincing right now, but honestly, I'm doing it. I'm doing it and it feels good to get rid of stuff. Not that I've actually been able to get rid of anything, but it's being packed away until I can have a giant yard sale in the spring or at the very least until the Snowmagedon thaws a bit and I can get out to a donation drop box!

I can't wait until I finish getting everything put away so that I can show you guys some pictures. You'll be so proud at how clean the play room is!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Question

What type of person are you?

If you have the next day off, do you say "hey, I have tomorrow off... I'll clean then!" or "hey, I have tomorrow off... let's get stuff done today and then I can relax tomorrow!"

Well I have today (Saturday, which is almost over) off and tomorrow there is no church because of the snow, so have I been busting tail today? No. I haven't. I did a few loads of dishes and a load of laundry and took the kids out in the snow for a bit to shovel, but that was it. Nothing else. ALL DAY LONG! What is wrong with me?? I can't even remember what I did all day. I didn't sit on the computer or watch a ton of television. I played with the kids a lot, cooked dinner, and really that's about it.

I looked at the clock at 5pm and had no idea where the time went!

Here's to a better tomorrow, filled with much needed cleaning. I'll go ahead and post my goals for tomorrow:
  1. Clean the computer room and then move the toys upstairs

  2. Straighten our bedroom

  3. Clean the downstairs

So, only three things, right? Yeah.... RIGHT! Those three things contain a whole lot of cleaning. Here's a picture of the computer room that will become the playroom... and it's not even a very good picture. I took it when I first started the blog to have to look back on if I ever decided to work on it. So, yeah, it's a bit worse now.

Well the vacuum isn't there anymore but replacing it is a bunch of Christmas decorations that need put away. You also can't see my desk, which is on the right side of the room. I need the desk brought downstairs and the elliptical rolled into our master bedroom, and everything else still needs a home.

So... here's to a productive tomorrow!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

And Another One Bites the Dust!

Another load of dishes down! The kitchen is finally starting to look nice. With being snowbound and all maybe we'll meka bunch of baked goods... of course, that would make the nice clean kitchen a mess lol!

You Know Your House is a Mess When...

  1. You do a load of dishes and can't figure out what that is at the bottom of the sink or how it got there.
  2. There are crusted over cereal bits glued to the table and you can't remember when the last time the kids had cereal was.
  3. Psh... you don't need a dresser! You have a perfectly good chair in the living room!
  4. Someone asks you if you're wearing a new shirt... you're not, but it's been so long since you've last worn it because it was lost in the deep abyss that is your home.
  5. You convince yourself that you really don't like socks anyway, so the fact that you can't find any really isn't a big deal.
  6. You're excited that your friends aren't coming over tomorrow because there's going to be a ton of snow... that means that you don't have to run around like a crazy person cleaning to make the house presentable! Nevermind the fact that it also means you won't get to see your friends...

Guess what I just did? A load of dishes. And I found some gunk in the drain that I have no idea what on earth it could possibly be. Maybe remenents of dinner from long ago? Who knows, but I'm glad that the sink was cleaned out a little bit. I've probably got two more loads before the dishes are finished, but at least my husband cleaned the counters off!

Now on to the playroom. We decided to move it to the bedroom next to the boys. I think it will help to keep the toys in a more central location and it will foster a better relationship between the boys and the upstairs lol! They don't even want to sleep in their own room... but if they get used to playing up there, maybe they will sleep there, too!

After my husband leaves for work, I'm going to straighten up our room (which is, surprisingly, not that bad at all), and then at least get the clothing mountain moved from the chair/floor to the rooms in which it belongs.

This weekend we're supposed to get a ton of snow. Maybe being snowbound will encourage me to clean because there won't be anything else to do! Maybe it will also encourage my husband to put the bunk beds we've had for a year together... who knows! lol

Anyway, if it doesn't get too late I'll post pictures tonight of my progress. It's really embarassing to just post the before pictures, so I feel the need to clean things up before posting pictures so you can see that it looks good lol!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Productivity and "I'm a Hoarder"

So today was my first day back in the cleaning mindset. I don't feel particularly well, so I didn't do a whole lot. We also had church in the AM, so I didn't get home until 1pm, and then in the evening at 6pm (it usually starts at 7), so time was really tight today.

Anyway, now that I'm done making excuses, let's talk about what I got done today. The house is overwhelmingly bad right now. It looks like a tornado and his cousin went through here! Instead of being overwhelmed, I tried to work on the little things. I picked up the bazillion colored pencils that are scattering the playroom floor. I ran a load of dishes through the dishwasher. I did a load of laundry. I straightened up the papers and wrapping paper trash that was all over the floor of the living room. Cups and plates finally left the living room. It's far from perfect, but it's a start. There is a whole lot to get finished in the coming days and though I didn't make but a miniscule dent in the nastiness that is my house, it did serve to put me in the mindset of cleaning.

I'm a Hoarder

In case you haven't already discovered this, were it not for my husband, I would be a rampant hoarder. I don't know why; it's the way my brain works. I don't WANT to throw away ANYTHING. I hate doing it! I keep papers, clothes, toys, etc. Some of you have mentioned that scaling down the play room would definitely help with the clutter... why have I defended all of the toys? Because it breaks my heart to get rid of anything! Levi just broke his first guitar the other day. I remember when he got it for his 2nd birthday and how happy he was. He opened his presents with scissors that year because, well, he wanted to! We went to Chilis and he got chicken and a giant volcano desert. See what memories are attached to these things?? Well, I didn't want to throw it away, despite the fact that it was broken. But I let my husband do it.

Recently one of those giant balls from walmart got trapped under the recliner and popped. Throw it away, right? Wrong! I wanted to cut a piece off for Levi's scrapbook. I didn't get around to it and hubby said he was going to throw it away if I didn't do it. I hid it in an end table! Why? I don't know... but he found it, I cut off a piece, and he threw the rest away.

Why did I want to keep it? Because a memory was attached to it. Levi picked out that ball one day at Wal Mart when he was about 18 months old. I remember him walking through the whole store with it in his arms. He never let go of it despite the fact that it was bigger than he was!

Anyway, this mindset is part of why my house is so daggone cluttered and gross. I can't throw anything away... it just breaks my heart to do so. I have so much crap that I just can't bear to trash. I know that the road to a clean house includes decluttering and getting rid of things. But sometimes it's very hard... and not just because I don't want to get rid of stuff.

One day I actually did bring up a ton of toys to list on craigslist. My mother-in-law stopped by and said something about all the toys in the living room. I told her that I was going to sell most of them. She said oh no! If you're doing that then I need to buy some of those!

Why? Because SHE'S a mini-hoarder! And she enables my hoarding! I love my mother-in-law, but my husband and I both agree that someday we're going to have a ton to go through and we'll have a lot of questions as to "why on earth is this here??" I don't want my children to have to go through that, so I'm recognizing this part of me and what I could become. I'm nipping it in the bud... or at least trying to!