My sis made a post about getting your life in control. Her answer was a clean car. There is something to this, you know. I find that I feel more in control when the house is clean. I had a friend who always knew that his life would suddenly fall into place once he went through and read the stack of newspapers he’d been keeping.
As someone who isn’t naturally organized I have lived with clutter a good chunk of my life. My mom wasn’t a natural housekeeper either though my brothers seem to be better, but is it their partners who help with that? My sister was always better at keeping up with the cleaning. Me, living alone, would often get very, very, very…well…um, sloppy. I once played the role of the Oscar character in the female version of “The Odd Couple.” With my slob skills I was able to help the set designer “decorate” appropriately.
New Year’s weekend I was at Barnes & Noble and saw the book “Sink Reflections” on a display. With a bright pink cover with an image of a stainless steel sink, I picked up the book and scanned through the first section. Ah, I knew the content! Sometime in 2000 or 2001 I had found out about this web site called FlyLady.net. The focus was to become a better housekeeper and to do that you had to clean your sink every day. I remember that I tried for a few weeks, but the whole process didn’t take. FlyLady was asking too much of me. Not only did I have to clean my sink, but I had to:
Get up, get showered and dress, making sure to wear shoes.
Make my bed.
Clean the toilets every day.
Get my clothes ready to wear for the next day.
And tons of other stuff that just seemed impossible.
This time when reading the book I think I was more receptive. I’d moved into a smaller place and had been having problems getting the place set up, even after two years. Of all things, getting a cable modem installed helped me. I had to clean the uncleanable before the cable guy showed up. I made some progress. Donating some furniture and bags of clothes helped, plus buying a new vacuum cleaner that worked well. So, when I read again about cleaning the sink, I thought I’d give it a try.
Starting on New Year’s Day I cleaned out the sink, and yes, I had to move dishes out of it. By making that my only goal for January I shined my sink every night. Somehow I also started making my bed, though that wasn’t a goal. I also started doing the daily decluttering activities, cleaning the toilet. I don’t know who this mystery person was that was doing all this stuff. It couldn’t have been me. Shoot, on weekends I was even getting out of bed in the morning and getting showered and dressed right away and always putting on my shoes.
I made a Control Journal that listed my various routines. I not only made this, I used it daily.
You know, this stuff works. I’m on my fourth month, and this place I used to hate, I’ve become rather fond of. The kitchen is clean. All the dishes are done. The furniture dusted and polished. The floor vacuumed. The bed made. It feels great. My life is in control. At work I’ve even cleaned off my desk. Quite shocking it is too.
Today was my weekly “house blessing.” The day when I spend ten minutes each on several tasks:
Empty all trash
Change the sheets on the bed
Dust and polish
Clean the mirrors and glass
Sweep and mop
Throw out old magazines
As my place is tiny, I can get this all done quickly. Just doing this every week makes a difference. Sunday afternoons feel relaxed and lovely. I can sit back and know that my week won’t be as stressed. I used to hate coming home, but now I look forward to it.
My cat, Lulu, likes the place like this too. She’s more inclined to hang out inside. None of the animals like the vacuum though.
Anyway, if you also find yourself a slob like I’ve been, check out FlyLady. Just do one step at a time and things might just improve. Today I invited my neighbors into my place. As someone who lived with CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) this is a big life change for me. Yeah, I’m feeling in control.