Post-Thanksgiving Pre-Christmas Nesting

Home is where the Heart is
Home is where the heart is” by Linda Yvonne on Flickr

It’s a weird time of year for me. Exhausting and exciting. Tiring and titillating. Wearisome and whimsical.

Lately, the condition of my home has really been rubbing me wrong. Every room in the house has a mess in it of varying size and degree. Some parts of the house don’t smell great. Walking through the house is somewhat of an adventure as you’re likely to either run into or step on something if not do both.

Cleaning out for the garage sale was a big help but it wasn’t the complete answer. So I’ve kept at it.

Sometimes, it’s been a very frustrating thing for me. When you have children especially, housekeeping is truly a Sisyphean task. And there have been moments where this sort of realization has smashed into me and left me frustrated and even depressed.

It’s something like I’m moving the fifth load of laundry into the dryer and am suddenly horribly coldly aware I’ve done this four times in one weekend already and I will likely do it again in another day or two. Horrible. Why. Am. I. Doing. This.

And yet there are moments of redemption too. Brief ones. But you have to clutch to those because the other ones will drive you mad.

Moments like this past weekend where I was busting my ass to get my kitchen beautiful again. I mean, I went to bed at 3 in the morning on Sunday, from cleaning the house ok? It’s still not done, not even close, but that’s not the point of the story.

The point is I was working on the kitchen and I was taking things down from the window sill to wipe it down and at first I thought, Why am I even bothering with the window sill? No one cares about the window sill. And then I suddenly sort of changed moods and switched gears. Suddenly I was doing something to give my loved ones a nice home, one similar to what I had growing up.

And that felt good. And that felt like a good motivator. And I rode it till 3 in the morning. And I’m still riding it because I know it’ll (most likely) eventually evaporate.

But I think to counter the eventual feel good vibe evaporation (quite the scientific term, believe you me) I need to ride it long enough to devise a system. Or maybe not even devise but re-implement.

Like (practically) every good female on the internet, I have been seduced by the FLYlady. I’ve toyed with her process and have had varying degrees of success. Mostly I have two big problems with it– it’s not compatible for a single full time working mother of three children and I really just can’t ever finally love housework. I know she says it’s about finally loving yourself but I beg to differ. I just won’t go into it all right now.

The thing is, whether I like her or not, whether I have the time and patience to put her system into effect completely at my house or not, there is one basic part of FLYlady’s system that works– routine maintenance.

My mom is a domestic diva. She is of the old school lineage that truly takes pride in a home’s appearance. I remember the house always being clean, or at least smelling that way. To this day, when my mom brings something she’s laundered at her house, it always smells a million times better than my laundry and it lasts way longer too. My mom has told me, in a million ways, that essentially FLYlady is right. Cleaning your house is something that has to be done every single day. Like brushing your teeth.

You know how you wouldn’t leave your house in the morning without brushing your teeth? My mom believes you shouldn’t go to bed at night without cleaning something in your house, preferably a lot of somethings.

Even though it’s still hard for me to admit it, Mom’s right. And that’s where the program comes into place. I actually had a house I was proud of a while ago. Which is funny because it was also the time I had a body I was proud of and lots of people out there would say it’s not a coincidence.

And the crazy part is this actually happened during a time in my life where I was a single mom.

I’m unhappy with my home and my body these days. They both feel dumpy and frumpy and neglected. But this post isn’t about my body, it’s about the house. So I’m going to start making up my lists of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. And I’m just going to keep riding the wave into a more standard program of routine maintenance. It worked so well for me once before, I know it can work again. And the kids are older and can join in more ways than they were able  to two years ago.

So that’s where my mind’s been these days. With my home and putting some heart into it. What about you?

By the way, random question but when should I open up Tinsel my Christmas Pig?

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18 thoughts on “Post-Thanksgiving Pre-Christmas Nesting

  1. Yep…I did the Flylady thing. I still use some of the ideas, but not all. I do still break things down into 15 min increments, and I try and have routine maintenance. But I am also a crisis cleaner too!!

    I am enjoying cleaning and putting up decorations. It does make me feel good about the house and myself.

    Tinsel…I say he meets his demise on either Dec 15 (so you have a few days before Christmas to spend him), or on Dec 22 (Winter Solstice…when the days start getting longer again).

    Reply
    • Major crisis cleaner too. As a matter of fact, when I spoke with my cousin I told her I’d been cleaning the house like crazy. She asked, “Oh my gosh, why? Is something wrong?” LOL

      Tinsel becoming a Winter Solstice pig sounds like a fun idea!!

      Reply
  2. I do up a little chart of each room every week but I don’t do 15 minute increments, I just try to hit each room once a day and just go check check check down the page. But it’s still not enough. Every once in awhile it requires the 3 hour getting down to business tactics. I use pomodoros ALL. THE. TIME. It’s the only way I can bear it. The app on my phone is called pomodroido and the one I use on the computer is called keepfocused. If I don’t use the phone or the computer, I do what I call “task sandwiches” – sucky task, fun task, sucky task, fun task…. That works for about 3-4 hours.

    It was a big realization to me to realize that it’s not that I hate housework – which I thought I did. I go to other people’s houses and I clean up all the time (say if I’m there for supper). People look at me funny – like “what are you doing”? If I go stay at someone’s house, I’m busy cleaning quite often. It’s only mine that I have a problem with and I think it’s – like you said – it never stops. If I clean someone else’s house, it’s done. Mine though? Not really. Plus there’s always all of these things I think I should be doing as well – not just cleaning what I see but going through closets etc. etc. I wonder sometimes if I escape in the summer in the RV just to get away from housework. 😉

    Reply
    • I like the little checklist idea. I might toy with that one. Oh I’ve totally done the task sandwich! It really helps too but I can’t do it when the kids are home.

      I have mixed feelings about housework. Seriously. The only time I do it voluntarily, gleefully even, is when I am pissed the hell off or stressed the hell out or a combination of the two.

      I truly plan on moving into a tiny little condo one day when the kids fly the coop. Like a studio. By the water. With a cleaning service.

      Reply
  3. Our window sills are dirty, but they don’t bother me. Also not crazy about flylady. Guess I suck as a female! Thankfully it doesn’t bother me. We clean when company is coming because that is polite, but otherwise, meh.

    Not to say it isn’t sexy when DH cleans, because it is. But I don’t really have a clean house tied to my identity in any way. I thank my mother for this. I got to watch her get over trying to have a clean house while supporting the family with her career and raising kids. Eventually something had to give and I think she made the right choice. Eventually it even stopped bothering her.

    Reply
    • LOL you don’t suck as a female because you’re not crazy about FLYlady. You know who she is and it seems every girl I know who’s online knows her. I don’t like her much either but she has a basic concept that makes sense.

      I always have company I guess you could say. Family members are always dropping in and friends stop by.

      I don’t think of a clean house as being tied to my identity BUT it does seem to have an effect on my mood to some degree. I honestly don’t know how my mom did it. She even went back to school to get her masters while we were kids and the house was always nice. We helped on the weekends but she did the bulk. My dad was not much of a helper when he was younger. That changed though. I wish I could get a cleaning lady. I think that’d be a huge help.

      Reply
  4. I can totally relate to this. My boys and I had a long weekend home and in that 5 days I did laundry 3 times and cleaned up tornado looking messes more times than I can even count. It’s tiring, but I’ve found that when we do our final clean at night and after the kids are put to bed….it sure feels nice to sit in my clean living room and not be frumped down by mess. It took me almost 8 years to realize that and I’m not always so good at keeping up on it, but once I finally got my house in order and dedicated time each night to clean up little messes, I’ve been much happier and peaceful. Hang in there…it will happen! Your doing fantastic so far! 🙂

    Reply
    • Yeah it makes me smile too when a space is at least not ransacked. I don’t know. I never in a million years thought this kind of thing would affect me but it does. I’m trying to do little things every night and it helps. But exhaustion is really kicking my ass too. Pooh!

      Reply
  5. I can super relate to this post! At all angles, including the body talk. I’ve never been “proud” of the homes I’ve occupied ever since I moved out of my childhood home. And point of fact, I wasn’t even proud of the house I grew up in. Why? Because I was the one whose chore it was (for allowance every Friday), to clean the house and change the litter box(es). So, I still absolutely freaking HATE cleaning homes because I did it my entire life growing up LOL. I look forward to the day when I can afford a cleaning service so that I never have to do it again. However, FLYLady has great ideas and so do you! I need to start doing the same…my house needs it, and apparently, so does my mind. 😉

    Reply
  6. I meant to mention too (and maybe this is an idea for Tinsel) – I have both the Mint and the roomba (on my second one). I got them both 50% off at Bed Bath & Beyond. I run the roomba almost every day and the mint every second day. They’re not perfect but they do a decent job. Even though the time factor with moving stuff etc. with the roomba is probably greater than if I just vacuumed, it does force you to pick up every little thing off the floor whereas with regular vacuuming, you could go around it. Plus it feels like I’m gaming the system somehow and it’s strangely motivating to do that. 😛

    It is kind of annoying how high I jump to do whatever roomba demands of me when she talks though – “Error 2 – move roomba to a new location” “Error 6 – clean roombas brush cage.” I’m essentially being bossed around by a robot.

    Reply
    • Oh my gosh I am blown away by Mint. I didn’t even know what that was before you mentioned it. That is majorly up my list of wanties now. My house is completely covered in this stuff called granito. It looks like granite but it’s not tiles, it’s poured. It’s crazy retro LOL That thing would be incredibly useful on all of that floor.

      Reply
  7. I’m sitting here reading blog posts when I should be getting rid of clutter in my home! So, this post was perfect. After I comment, I’m off to do just that!

    Flylady is a good starting point. I wish I had the energy to clean my house every day but I don’t. If I can just get rid of stuff, I think it will help. (By the way, there are parts of my home that don’t smell that great either…what is that?)

    Reply
  8. I once estimated that I had done approximately 5500 loads of laundry. Hmmm. That was 2 years ago, best I recall. And I suspect it’s low.

    You’re right – with kids – it’s (nearly?) hopeless. The problem is, by the time they finally clear out (to college), they don’t clear out. You’re just left with those messes everywhere, and no teenage muscle to help deal with them. This is when single/solo momdom seems truly (operationally) dismal.

    On an upbeat note – there are fabulous cinnamon-clove-smelling decorative brooms at the supermarket which only cost a couple of bucks and they make everything smell divine. (I just tuck one or two behind the assorted piles that one must navigate walking through my little house.) 🙂

    Reply
    • See that’s why I plan on moving into a tiny little studio by the water when they’re out. Much less space to mess up (and clean up).
      Oh I know exactly the little brooms you’re talking about. That is really not a bad idea at all. And it is perfect for this time of year too.

      Reply
  9. GET a MINT – no real moving parts like the Scooba (I went through one of those too). I only paid $125 or something for mine and I totally love it. It was supposed to be my “Christmas present to self” last year, but I ended up finding it on sale 2 months later – woot! When it “sweeps” it only pushes stuff to the edges of the wall but who cares? That’s easy to sweep up. Mostly though I just use it for washing after running the roomba quickly in the kitchen. But you don’t have to have the roomba part because the dust and whatnot sticks to the wet cloth of the Mint.

    Yeah, my steam mop does a better job. Yeah, on your hands and knees does an even better job. But then I only have to really wash the floor myself like once a month, if that. And just the edges. 😉

    Reply

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