A Dirty Look at Cleaning House

Everyone has that room in their house. You know, the one that you make sure the door is closed to whenever company is coming over? The one where you put everything that doesn’t have anywhere else to go? I have one of those rooms. Ok, I have a few of those. Organization is not my friend; in fact she doesn’t even know I exist.

Do NOT go in there! (Hey there's the vaccum!)
Do NOT go in there!
(Hey there’s the vaccum!)

I try to keep up with the mess, I really do. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming though. In fact, last weekend I spent over an hour cleaning dishes in the sink, putting them away and clearing off the stove. The next morning when I went to make coffee, I saw that my husband had left me the sweetest note. It said “The kitchen looks awesome, thank you for your hard work! Love you.” I was beaming and so proud of myself. Then I realized he had written the note on the edge of a dirty pizza box which was resting on top of a pile of clutter on the counter, in front of a kitchen table so piled with crap that we can’t even sit at it. Oh, the irony.

Before kid (B.K.), I was just as disorganized as I am now. I let clutter get the best of me, whether it was in my junk room (a.k.a. my home office) or in my closet. Don’t even get me started on my junk drawer! The difference now is that my cluttered ways are seeping in to my daughter’s way of thinking. And I’m busier than I ever was.

Last night when we were having one of our marathon bedtime conversations, my girl was talking about her room and how messy it was. She said her “junk” (her words, not mine) was everywhere. That made me sad because I want her to be grateful for the things she has, not think of it as junk. I also don’t want her to be stressed out because our house is messy.

I know what you’re thinking. She needs to be accountable for taking care of and putting away her toys. I know that and that’s the plan. I’m not going to be the mom that follows behind a playing child and cleans up after them. (And besides, haven’t we already established that picking up isn’t my strength?)

If I want her to start taking better care of her things and appreciate what she has, then I must do the same. I’m very lucky to be able to afford the things that I have, so why not act like it? No more just making piles of things I don’t know what to do with. No more dirty dishes in the sink or piles of dirty (or are they clean?) laundry in the dining room. That’s a start. But I can’t just do what I’ve always done. Buying more bins. Stacking bills on the desk (once I can physically find it). What I’m saying is that I need an intervention.  I have to approach this in a new way.

This journey has two paths.  First one of gratefulness, second one of organizing the chaos.  I just found this quote and feel that part of my solution lies within in it.  

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.-Melody Beady

Help a sister out.  How do you show the universe that you are grateful?  What cleaning, sorting or organizing tips work for you?  Or is this the truth of it all:


...said the person with the immaculate kitchen...
…said the person with the immaculate kitchen.


7 thoughts on “A Dirty Look at Cleaning House

  1. I struggle with the same thing – and always have. I now feel compelled to teach my little ones how to pick up after themselves and also give them the gift of living in a clean, organized home. I can’t teach them until I teach myself – which is ongoing. Several years ago I found Flylady (flylady.net), and although I am still struggling, I find that her encouragement and her following are a great support. She stresses babysteps, and just a little bit at a time so it’s not so overwhelming. Upon first glance, it may appear that her system is for SAHMs, but it’s for everyone. Checkout the section on Payroll SHE’s for tips from other working moms.
    Good Luck and you’re not alone!


  2. My 12 month old has way too many toys, and I was worried about him not appreciating them so I took two thirds of them, put them in bins, and put them in the basement. He has one bin of toys upstairs that he plays with and every month I switch them out for another bin of toys (making sure to keep some of the favorites so he doesn’t freak out when his favorite ball is missing). I also don’t worry about cleaning up until after he goes to bed (at least until he can learn how to put them away himself). I think playing with mommy is much more important than playing by yourself while mommy cleans. I try to get the house as clean as I can after he goes to bed and then usually have a longer cleaning day during the weekends when my husband can help out. Our laundry room is “that room” in our house, and I’ve come to accept that it will always be a mess and I’ve stopped adding it to my to-do list every week.


  3. Tackle one project at a time. I was feeling a little over cluttered earlier this year. I wrote on the calendar one thing I was going to do each day. Monday–Clean the pantry (the school food drive certainly light the fire under butt to do that one) Tuesday–Under the sink in bathroom etc. etc. don’t bite off more than you can chew or you will never get through it all. I think I read somewhere no more than half an hour a day, and give yourself 1 day a week off.

    Good luck!


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