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!

Hello Again!

I want to first say that I am NOT giving up! I've had a rough couple of weeks (my fault though!), but thanks to a comment on the last post, I've been given some new motivation to keep this going. It was my new year's resolution, after all, and I should be able to make it past the first few weeks!

I'm off to church now, but I'll post when I get home (for real!). The house is a disaster and I have people coming over on Friday evening. You can see how I transform my house from gross to... well, hopefully not gross! I even have steam cleaning the floors on my list of things to do this week!

So please, if you're reading this, keep checking back. I'll be keeping up with the blog, and thanks for keeping up with me!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Good Morning!

Due to an unexpected day off (gr...), I'm able to post and get some stuff done today. Yay for that at least!
Yesterday I was not as productive as I had hoped to be. However, I did get some cleaning done in the kitchen.



Now a debbie downer would say hey, that still looks like crap! But if you look carefully you'll see a cleaned off stove and that the back counters are cleared. My purse is on there, but it was put away later. Yes, the island still desperately needs de-cluttered, but it's a start. I did 3 loads of dishes in the dishwasher yesterday... 3 LOADS! And then I did another one this morning. That does include dinner dishes and breakfast though.

The reason the kitchen got so bad was because I had two cake orders this weekend. I usually only do one a weekend because I know how stressful it is to do two, but one was for my niece's baptism so I really couldn't turn that down :)

Now on to the playroom. The playroom was a disaster. Here's the before:

To be honest, the playroom never stresses me out or worries me. It's not too difficult to clean as everything has a spot where it's supposed to be. I think that's one reasno why it doesn't get as cleaned as I'd like it to though: I just let it go because I know it's the easiest room to straighten in a hurry! Oh, and you can probably tell how much of a slacker I am by the missing curtain... it's in the chair waiting to be put up!
Here's the after:

It's far from perfect, but it's a start!

And the last thing I'm going to show you now is my living room which is, by all means, still a minor disaster. Here's the before though, so you can see that I really did work on it!

The laundry chair has become a laundry chair again, much to my dismay. I want to post our chore list because I did divide things up nicely. However, my husband hasn't really been doing his "chores"... one of which is putting folded clothes away! So right now the chair thing is more on principle than me not having the time to put them away.

If you're wondering what all of the white papers are on the floor, wonder no more. It's toilet paper. In a moment of less than super supervision, the children got a roll of toilet paper out and tp'd the living room. Ugh!

Here's the after picture:

Once again, far from perfect but it certainly is an improvement!
Today's To-Do List:
  1. finish straightening downstairs
  2. clean bathrooms
  3. put away junk that's between kitchen and living room
  4. finish putting away CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS! AHHH!!
  5. clean upstairs loft

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Am A Failure

That's right, I am. Today I am going to go around and take pictures of every room and upload them. This house is filthy and it's my fault--I am a failure. I have been busy-but really not super busy and I have had down time-and have used that as an excuse to not clean. The internet is difficult to get on these days since it's been very easy to just let this whole accountability thing slide.

And I've also completely blown my diet, so there you go... two failures for the price of one!

Today needs to be different and I need to get my act together and get things done. I can't live like this, I can't have my kids living like this, and we all deserve better!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Sorry I haven't been posting... I'm afraid that I'm going to lose all of my readers, but my internet connection is shaky at best right now. I'm working today to fix it since it's a problem inside the house, not from the internet company.

Anyway, I have a four day weekend and intend to get a lot done today! This evening I will be posting a very picture full post with lots of stuff I've been doing the past week.

Today's To-Do:

1. Clean Levi and Luke's bedroom... it is covered in playdough.. everywhere!
2. Clean the bathrooms (all 3 of them.. ugh!)
3. Straighten living room and playroom
4. Finish putting away the Christmas decorations
5. Straighten our bedroom
6. Scrub down the kitchen

And in the non-cleaning related to-do lists, I have a cake order for tomorrow that I need to start and finish up. Cleaning up after this is, of course, is a necessity!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stupid Camera

Well, I won't be posting pictures tonight because my camera is not being recognized by the computer so the pictures won't upload. It's done it every other time, so I'm not sure what's up except that I've been meaning to do a virus scan so that might be it.

Anyway, I did get a lot done today! The toy room is finished, as is the living room. The kitchen is nice and clean and the foyer is partially cleared out. I can't remember what else I had on my to-do list, but I can tell you that I cleaned from the time I posted until dinner time, practically non-stop. So that's very exciting for me :)

Oh, I have a great tip for you all! Here's a great way to keep your refrigerator clean. Make sure it stops working and then store all of your food in the garage where it's nice and cold. lol! We had a repair man over about four weeks ago because it wasn't working right, he said us cleaning the underside did the trick, didn't check anything, and now it doesn't work. They'll be getting a nice phone call as soon as we have money to repair it. Man am I ticked!

Well y'all have a good night and a good tuesday :)

Monday To-Do List

Wow I can't believe I wasn't able to post for several days! My wireless internet router is not working properly, so I'm stuck upstairs with my laptop. I would post downstairs with the kids, but they have no interest of coming upstairs with me lol!

So the good news with that is that I've been getting a lot done and not spending as much time on the computer, which happens to be one of my biggest time sucks. The bad news is that I have not been able to document any of this progress!

Since I have the day off, I'm going to try to get quite a bit done. It's already 1pm here and we haven't done much, but I still have plenty of time to work.

  1. I've dissasembled the tree room and turned it back into the playroom. However, the toys are everywhere and it is a complete disaster area! My number one goal today is to get it organized and clean
  2. Tidy up the kitchen. I was good with keeping up with the dishes over the weekend, but junk has piled up on the counters that needs to be put away, especially before I start cooking dinner.
  3. Clean the foyer. I posted a picture a few days ago and it hasn't gotten any better!
  4. Spend 20 minutes cleaning off the dressers (this week's weekly project).
  5. Straighten up the living room, finish unpacking DVDs and books (you'd think we just moved in!)
  6. Put wall hangings up

I think that's it for now. With playing with the kids and preparing and cleaning up from dinner in there, I think I have my work cut out for me!

Friday, January 8, 2010

What I've Learned in a Week

It's been a week since I set up this blog. I was unable to update yesterday or earlier today because my wireless router is broken and I can't sneak away for 30 minutes to work on a post. So throughout the day I thought about everything I've learned in the week that I've been blogging. Here are some of the tidbits...

Cleaning is NOT Difficult

What?!?! This goes against everything I've ever held near and dear to my heart! Cleaning is sooo hard and time consuming... I just want to relax when I get home from work! But in all reality, cleaning is not a big deal. The little things that need done every day are not difficult. It's not hard to clean up in the kitchen while you cook or load the dishwasher after you're finished eating. My kids eat slow. The table is five feet from the dishwasher. I can still be interacting with them and enjoying a good time after I finish eating if I'm loading the dishwasher. There's no reason to NOT do it!

Cleaning Saves Money

This is extremely important as my husband and I are dead broke right now. And why are we dead broke? Because we've been financially irresponsible. I complain that I don't have anything to wear, he sends me to the store to buy new clothes, I go and do it. But in reality, I don't need any new clothes. I have a closet filled with clothing that I just couldn't get to or find. Now that my closet is accessible and my dresser drawers are organized, I can see just how many amazing pieces of clothing I have.

It's also true with my husband. Just the other day he was saying he needed to go buy some new shirts for work, to the tune of roughly $25.00 a piece. When cleaning out the closet, I found at least three nearly brand new work shirts that had been lost over the past few months in the deep, dark, abyss that was our closet.

We also save money on food when the kitchen is clean. A lot of our stupidity debt is from fast food. We'd be home thinking about what to make for dinner and my husband or I would say something along the lines of "hey, let's just get take-out... it's easier than trying to cook in here or making the mess worse!" How stupid and irresponsible!

I expect that this new, clean me will save use quite a few dollars.

It's Common Sense

The things that I am realizing that need to be done or ways to complete household tasks are basically common sensical. Readers have made amazing comments that make me say "oh my gosh... WHYYYYYY didn't I think of that before?!" These little things are really easy, common sensical things that can be incorporated into anyone's daily life and daily routine.

I Love Accountability

It's amazing! Today I've had the least amount of hits on here since I opened this blog, but even so it's still several dozen people. Several dozen people are out there reading this, watching to see if this will be a successful venture or a failure. At the end of the day, I know that I'll be taking pictures and showing the world (or at least a few dozen people), how my home looks. This is where I live, where my children crawl on the floor. I'm through with being embarassed about how my home looks. I'm finished with that.

There is no excuse, there is no reason for my home to be destroyed. Absolutely none. But for today, and for the next few weeks I am sure, the baby steps continue. Is my house spotless? No. It takes more than a week to deep clean a home on just an hour or so a day. Will my house be spotless? It will never be a show home because, let's face it, children make that impossible. But it will be presentable, and it will be clean.

Sorry there are no pictures today (I know, even after I wrote about accountability! lol!). My wireless router is not working properly (any suggestions? It just stopped working yesterday!), so I'm tied to the upstairs internet line and have absolutely no motivation to go downstairs and get the camera to load pictures. But tomorrow, being a saturday, will give me plenty of time to upload pictures and show you what I've been doing these past two days.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday Productivity Report/Thursday To-Do List

Good Morning!

I didn't get around to posting last night or responding to any comments yesterday, so I apologize for that! You'd think that getting off work early would equate to more time to do things like that but I guess not! Anyway, this is how my house looks right now. The kids aren't awake yet, and since my husband has them today while I work I'm not really sure what I'll come home to. But, for now, the main rooms are straightened and presentable.

What is not presentable is the foyer area. Right when you walk in the play room/tree room is to the left, and the kitchen is attached to that. On the right is the living room. Right in front of you, you would see this mess. However, this is, in a way, a happy mess .I received a gigantic bag of clothes for my oldest yesterday (right at a time when they were desperately needed!), and spent a good while sorting through them last night. But the red bag and the box below it are really inexcusable. I have a habit of piling things that need to go upstairs at the bottom of the stairs. I say I'll take them up when I go up or my husband can do the same. No, the things just sit there for weeks at a time. This is my major clean up project today... I need to get these clothes and the junk out of here!

The only thing I was disapointed in yesterday was that the kitchen stayed messy. Now don't get me wrong, this is a miniscule mess compared to what it usually is, but it is still quite messy.

On the bright side, the laundry chair is free from laundry and the matching chair is clean, too. I also finished up the weekly menu (I can share if anyone is interested!), and the chore list.
Since today is my 4 year wedding anniversary, I'm guessing that straightening the kitchen and picking up the bottom of the stair/foyer clutter will be all I'll get done today :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday To-Do

Good Morning!

Yesterday I did end up getting more things finished up after I posted. I cleaned up the kitchen (yay! This is a new record for me!), worked in the closet (I put four piles of my folded clothes away), straightened the living room, and did another load of laundry.

Today I only work a half day and I should be off work by 11:15. Half the time that means 11:30 or 11:45, so we'll see when I really get off. I was supposed to have that orthodontist appointment but our Wage Works cards haven't come to us yet and they won't bill me later for this, so I had to cancel it. So instead I'm getting the emissions done on the car, since the registration will be yanked as of the 8th because emossions were due the 2nd. That's another thing that an unorganized, cluttered house will do to you. We both could have sworn that the emissions were due on the 31st... nope! Good thing they sent a final notice before yanking the registration :)

Anyway, here's the rest of my to-do list:

  1. Clean up after the tree (My husband says he will be taking it outside when he gets home)
  2. Straighten toy room, sans tree
  3. Put away folded clothes (if my husband doesn't)
  4. Take toys from living room and put in playroom
  5. Work in the closet for 30 minutes after the boys go to bed
  6. Do 2 loads of laundry

Well I'm off to finish getting ready for work now! I hope everyone has a very blessed day and that you get TONS of things done around your home!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Okay, Wow...

I am exhausted. I couldn't get to sleep last night and ended up wide awake at 1am. I had to get up at 5:45 to be alert and focused at work. Boooyyy was that fun! lol Thank goodness for awesome special ed teachers and co-labs!

Anyway, this is definitely going to be an adjustment. I'm a little irritated that my husband got home from work at 9-10am (not sure when exactly as I was at work), and did nothing around the house. The tv was on the Sports Center channel, so I know exactly what he did.

So the focus for tonight has shifted to a chore list. I know it seems silly to make a chore list for me and my husband to follow, but I think that maybe if he knows what needs to be done on what days, he will actually get something done. I'm going to make it a "first come" type of deal. Maybe we'll have two or four things to get done per day and he can pick which one or two things he's going to do that day.
The batteries on my camera are dead so no new pictures today. However, I will show you the two projects I'm debating for next week. I'm either going to clean my baking cabinet and switch it with the cup cabinet or sort out the boxes and clean off the tops of our dressers. What do you think I should do first?

I will add that my baking cabinet is essential to my small business, but since I haven't been advertising and working much with it, I've let it go completely to the wayside.

The cups to the left on the long dresser, if you remember, are no longer there :)
I'm thinking that dressers will be next week's goal. Even though the cabinet is disgusting, I like the idea of finishing up the closet and then branching out to the rest of the bedroom.

Tuesday To-Do

I have to work today, so the to-do list will be noticeably shorter.

  1. Keep the kitchen clean after dinner
  2. Straighten up the toys before bed
  3. Wash, dry, fold 2 loads of laundry
  4. Work on the closet for 20 minutes

This is my first day back to work in two weeks! Wish me luck :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Feel Productive!

Okay, so I haven't finished everything on the to-do list. But I'm thrilled with what I've gotten finished so far and I know that this evening I can finish some other things like the chore list and the weekly menu.

So I worked on the closet today for quite a bit. It's not finished yet, but it's almost there. There are a few baskets that need cleaned out, a small pile of clothes left to hang, and a giant bin of socks to sort. The folded clothes still need to be put away, but they're folded! The hard part is finished :)

Here's a picture of how it looks now. I think I'm making pretty good progress!

So after I worked on the closet and got the kids down for a nap, I focused on the playroom/tree room. I did not get the tree down because my husband had to go to bed before I was ready. But I did get the room straightened. It's not ideal to have all of the Christmas things piled up on the fireplace, but it's better than all over the floor and they will be easier to bring upstairs, downstairs, or anywhere else they're going. Plus, I was able to get all of the stupid pine needles off the floor. There were SO many!

Here's the finished product. I'm very happy to be able to turn and see a nice, straightened room. Plus the living room was straightened up while the boys slept, so that's another bonus. It really feels good to be able to just sit in a clean house, to work in a clean kitchen, and get up and get dressed in an almost clean closet!

Oh, and I had a surprise project today that I worked on. When I cleaned out bedroom I found a million nasty sippy cups. I was pretty sure most were water, but who really knows. I emptied them all out and cleaned them. It was really gross, but now we won't have to search around for sippy cups anymore! There were more, but they were on a different part of my dresser and not in the picture.

And of course I got a lot of other things done today. I opened the coat closet and saw I couldn't put something away so I straightened that up. Someone on a forum I frequent said her New Year's Resolution is "Do it Now" and I thought of that as I straightened the closet! I also kept the kitchen clean, did a bunch of laundry, and put some more Christmas ornaments away. Overall, I don't feel like a lazy slob today at all :)

Monday To-Do List

I woke up this morning thinking that I had an orthodontist appointment. Part of being a messy slob is that I lose things, like my retainer. I found it after I had already gone through all of the preliminaries for a new and much better retainer. Want to know where it was? Underneath my son's bed. Crazy, I know lol!

Anyway, I don't have a doctor's appointment today but the good thing about getting up early, getting ready, and getting out of the house is that I'm already up and motivated to get things done. This is my last day before returning to work, so I'm really hoping to get quite a bit done.

To-Do List:
  1. Spend at least 30 minutes cleaning in the closet
  2. Finish getting the tree down (this will require my husband's help, so I'm not sure if it will happen today or not. This might just be wishful thinking!)
  3. Take down Christmas decorations
  4. Put regular wall hangings back up
  5. Wash, Dry, and Fold at least 3 loads of laundry (husband puts away)
  6. Clean play room/Christmas tree room
  7. Decide what toys will stay downstairs and what toys belong in the boy's room
  8. Make weekly menu
  9. Make weekly chore list (this is important!!)
  10. I feel like there should be an even 10 to round out the list... hmm... bathrooms sound good!

I know that there is a lot, but I didn't do very much yesterday and I know that I can get at least most of this finished today. I want to have one last cleaning hurrah before I head back to work!

Oh, and for my yearly to-do list, definitely add pay bills on time! We never get an internet bill, but I know it's due on the 23rd each month. I turned on my computer this morning to write up my to-do list before leaving and the internet didn't work. We owed 4 months on it... ack! And this month I don't get a paycheck because work was closed for two weeks. Thank goodness we stockpile food and can live out of the pantry and freezer this month. Having a grocery budget of next to nothing will really help!

Before I go, here's a picture of part of the laundry mess that I want to get cleaned today. Around the corner is another overflowing basket. We don't really have laundry room, more like a laundry closet, so it's very important to keep it clean. Not that I ever do, but that was the OLD me!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Not a Complete Failure!

Okay, this whole cleaning thing is really hard! I know it sounds stupid, but it is. Especially on days like this.

Today I woke up (after next to no sleep), got the kids breakfast, got ready for church, and left. We did not get home until close to 1. I sat around for a bit trying to get the kids to sleep. Levi fell asleep at around 1:30 and then Luke and I laid on the couch for the next two and a half hours. I was exhausted! Then at 4 we had to eat dinner and get ready for the Christmas Play. The play went great by the way. Here's a picture of Levi (my oldest), saying his line. He was the "T" in "Christmas".

Anyway, we got home at around 8:30. Once again, I was stuck cleaning late at night. I hate doing it, but it feels good to have a clean living room! This is as clean as my living room usually is, but I plan on finding some solutions to the clutter soon. Especially after the tree is down, because that's supposed to be the play room.

One problem area that I have in the living room is behind this table. The table is usually covered in crap, like in this picture. Well, much, much, much worse than this picture but I'm not going to make it dirty for a picture. Seriously, I don't know why I'm even posting this picture because it is so, so, so much worse than this on a regular basis. The day after I took this picture it was covered in Andes Candies wrappers, used tissues, bowls, etc. This picture really isn't even worth it, but here you go.

But today, and for the past few days, this table has been pretty clean. Right now it looks like this. And the white spotting is in the finish... I got the table for $2.00 at a yard sale and never refinished it. But I love the table anyway. It's one of my favorite yard sale finds, but I digress!

The real problem is behind this table though. It is the only spot that's out of reach from the kiddos in the living room, so things like half filled glasses, soda cans, used tissues, wrappers, etc. get thrown back there along with remotes, cds, dvds, and more. I'm sorry that I don't have a picture of it at its worst... well, nevermind, I'm not because that would be humiliating! What matters is that this is what it looks like now.

My solution for this reoccuring problem is to simply not let it happen. How lame is that? Every night I will check and make sure that nothing is back there. In fact, I won't even put anything down there. If it's only going to take me 30 seconds to pick something up and put it somewhere else, there is NO REASON to throw it down there!

Now on to the other part of my to-do list. I was supposed to finish taking the tree down today. That did not happen, but it's almost finished. The only thing left on the tree are some ornaments that are too high for me to reach. I can't get the ladder in here because it's too messy... how embarassing! I will share the picture with you though because I promised the good, the bad, and the ugly. So here's the ugly... this is usually the playroom, is actually the dining room, but all of the big toys are in the basement pending tree removal. I'll stop rambling now and let you see the disaster. See all the needles on the ground? That's because the tree is dead as a doornail!

So here's to a decent day and to a better day tomorrow. Oh, and my kitchen is still clean :)

Sunday To-Do

Today's to-do list is:

  • Straighten the living room
  • Finish taking down the Christmas tree

That's all I'm going to put on the list because honestly I don't know what I'm going to get done. My oldest was awake every 15 or so minutes last night crying and screaming about stuff that was actually nothing. Now he's up happy as a clam and I'm exhausted, so who knows what will get done today. The only guarantee is that the kitchen WILL STAY CLEANED.

Like Cassie Bee said in the comments... when you wake up to a clean kitchen, everything is right in the morning. So even though I'm exhausted and dreading what the day has to hold, the kitchen is clean and I can breathe a little easier.

And now we're off to church, the one part of the day that I will actually enjoy :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Good and the Bad

If I had to give myself a grade for today it would be a solid C. I could have done better, really there are a lot of things I could have done better today. I spend too much time on the computer when I'm home. Because of this, I'm going to limit my computer time to mornings when I wake up (it's a necessity with a cup of coffee!), and in the evening after the boys go to sleep. If I don't post my to-do list in the morning and I'm not working, I might post in the afternoon. Aside from that, I need to lock my laptop away upstairs where I can't easily access it!

Anyway, I did a bit today. I cooked breakfast and lunch and managed to clean everything up after. I even baked a "cake" with my oldest son today, and yet there is no trace of this event in my kitchen. Here's the "cake" in question... Big Top Cupcake FAIL!

So, back to my to-do list. I did not mop the kitchen floor. I did not finish straightening up the living room or the playroom, though I did put quite a bit away. I did not finish taking the Christmas tree down, but for good reason: the room is too messy to bring the ladder in to get the higher ornaments down! Embarassing, I know, but that's the point of this blog.

Now to my successes. I did clean in the closet, and for more than 20 minutes! I probably spent an hour in there today hanging up clothes, folding clothes, and sorting out his, mine, and the kiddos. It's difficult to tell how much progress has been made so I'm going to post the original picture along side of the one taken this evening. Whew, there's a lot of crap in there!

The second thing that I did was.... dun dun dun... clean off the laundry chair! I'm particularly proud of this because I did this after I came home this evening at 10pm. Usually I'm finished cleaning anything after 8pm, so this was a big deal. And before my husband left for work, he emptied out the dryer on the other recliner because the laundry chair was covered. But I cleaned that one off, too. The clothes are put away in their proper drawers. Except my husband's clothing because who knows which drawers he wants them in!

Third, the kitchen, as I stated earlier, is clean. In the foreground you'll see a strange black box. Don't worry, that's just a temperature gun. Our shiny, newish refrigerator is dying, so I had to check the temperature. Is 47 too high for a fridge? It feels warm. The milk, yogurt, and sour cream is on the back deck right now. In a few days my father in law will be bringing us a 20yr old fridge to stick in the basement for the time being. It's amazing that this 20yr old fridge is still running and our 6 year old fridge is not, but I digress!

So today was not all in all a failure. Did I do everything I wanted to get done? No. But I did make a significant dent in the weekly project of cleaning the closet, and I cleaned off the annoying laundry chair. My husband agreed to the new laundry arrangement (I'll fold, he'll put away), so hopefully the laundry chair will never again be the laundry chair. RIP Laundry Chair!

Oh, and I just noticed that my broken drawer is in the kitchen pictures. In case you're curious, there used to be gum and mints in that drawer. My youngest, a candy fiend, would constantly get in the drawer and try to steal the treats. One day I found him with six pieces of gum, still in the wrapper, shoved in his mouth. The treats were moved, but he never caught on. On Christmas Eve he pulled the front clean off. Hopefully a fix is in the near future!

The Laundry Chair

Good Morning!

Well, closer to afternoon. We stayed up very late watching some movies (The Proposal was hilarious by the way!), and so we slept in. However, even though I haven't been awake long I did cook breakfast for the kiddos and cleaned up from breakfast. As you all know I hate cleaning, the fact that breakfast is cleaned in the kitchen is huge! It's been said that if you do something long enough it becomes a habit that is near impossible to break. Hopefully this whole cleaning the kitchen thing becomes second nature very soon. I mean really, who leaves disgusting dishes and pans on the counter for days? I don't want to be that person anymore.

Today's To-Do List:
  • straighten living room and playroom

  • sweep and mop kitchen floor

  • finish taking the Christmas tree down

  • work for 20 minutes (straight) in the closet

  • clean clothes out of the "laundry chair"

Let me briefly describe the laundry chair to you. When we first moved into our beautiful new home (because it really is beautiful and I do love it, which is one reason why the mess has GOT to go!), we bought these amazing chairs at a local store. We got them for a great price. They're soft and they recline and the color matches the decor perfectly.

But what does it matter anyway? These chairs spend 90% of their time covered in clothes! The clothes come out of the dryer and immediately go on the chair. Both my husband and I are guilty of this. A commenter recently said that she could happily live out of the dryer... well, we could live out of this chair (and have for a long time!). Here's a recent picture of the chair in question. Keep in mind that this is after we cleaned everything for a Christmas Eve party, so this is really just one load of laundry and not the typical four or five loads:

We have two of these chairs, though one is in a different room. The other chair boasts of toys, a bunch of junk, and my husband's jacket. By the end of today I will have dated pictures of these chairs completely cleaned off, along with a list of other things that were finished.

See, it's little things, too. In this picture my jacket is sprawled across the chair. My husband's jacket is on the other chair. We have a coat closet ten steps away from where our jackets are. Why are the on the chairs? It's the little things that contribute to the giant mess!

Now I'm off. It's time to get crack-a-lackin!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Baby Steps

Today's theme is baby steps. Actually, that's really the theme for these next few weeks. You see, I despise cleaning. I hate it, I really do. I think one reason why I hate cleaning so much is because it was never ingrained into my mind as a necessity. We had chores off and on growing up but never anything substantial or set in stone. Instead it was implied that we should be doing things around the house, but it really only mattered when people were coming over and everyone rushed around to get things looking acceptable. That's exactly how I am now!

Well, how I was. I'm not that person anymore :)

Anyway, today was about baby steps. I did not get done as much as I wanted to get done today. I slept in late with my youngest son, and since my husband was off work we all lounged around quite a bit. I made a fantastic dinner that took over an hour to prepare (I'm a huge fan of 15 minute meals, not hour plus meals). It was delicious, but as you can expect, it absolutely trashed the kitchen.

The kitchen. The kitchen is the bane of my existance. This is how you might have found my kitchen sink on any given day, and this picture is on a relatively CLEAN day where I already did one load of dishes, believe it or not.

I hate cleaning it but I hate it being messy. I want all of my pans and pots to be easily accessible and clean, all the time, but I don't want to organize or clean anything. Something has to give here. Because of this I have instituted a new policy:

No Dish Left Behind

The ideal behind this new policy is that every dish deserves to be clean and in a cabinet where it belongs. Or, rather, that I need to make sure that every dish is clean and put away before I go to bed at night. It works better if I do this before I leave the kitchen after dinner.

So today I cooked, ate, then cleaned. Usually I cook, eat, and then relax because HELLO I just cooked and ate! I deserve to relax!


I've found that it is easier to stay motivated when you're already moving. After you eat, you get up and put your dishes in the sink anyway, right? So why not load the dishwasher (or start washing dishes) right after dinner? It's not a new concept; people have been doing it for ages and for some reason it has only just now started to sink in for me.

The bottom line is that if I say I'm going to do it later, I probably won't do it later. I want to wake up in the morning-every morning-to a clean kitchen. The only way to make sure that happens is to clean it properly every night.

And so I present to you my clean kitchen. There are a few dishes in the sink that will go in the dishwasher once it's finished running. The floors aren't scrubbed and there are a few things left to put away, but I'm counting this as a victory.

Oh, and before you ask... yes, that dish towel is dirty. It's drying and on it's way to the laundry bin :)