It is so easy to let the clutter take over - thank you Kari for pointing out the essential energy of homekeeping (see her post on "The Heart of the Matter" here). I started making a comment on Kari's blog, but it got long so I decided it belongs over here.
I got overwhelmed with homekeeping when I wasn't feeling well (and as usual, things slipped the week before because I wasn't feeling right but wasn't exactly ill). For me there comes a point where I know that the mess and clutter are affecting me emotionally, but when I still can't seem to do much about it.
Then, often when I am overwhelmed I tackle exactly the wrong thing. The living spaces were a mess last week, and I spent my time cleaning out and decluttering the art/crafts closet (truth be told I should have spent my time in bed resting!). Not that it didn't need to be done, but it is funny how all of of sudden that project, which I had put off for months, seemed most important. (Of course, I found that leak, so it was fortunate that I got in there when I did.)
Luckily, Papa made the effort this past weekend to tidy and clean the dining room, living room, and bathrooms. This greatly alleviated my overwhelm, providing a very nice space to relax Saturday and Sunday evening. By the time I was feeling better yesterday I could see several areas I could tackle. I mostly worked on cleaning and organizing the pantry, which meant I could get several things off the kitchen floor and in the pantry where they belonged. This morning I wiped the stove (Papa and I have different levels of wiping it after meals), wiped the counters, scrubbed the sink, and mopped the floors in the kitchen and breakfast nook. Now the kitchen is a welcoming place to make meals, without searching through the pantry for ingredients or tripping over the appliances on the floor. The nook is clean and invites us in to sit and enjoy our meals together. It is pretty frustrating to me when the nook doesn't get restored to order and cleanliness after meals, because then I am scrambling to wipe the table just as I am ready to put dinner on the table.
Three weekends ago Papa did a major Lego clean up and sort in the boys' room, and we changed the way we handle Legos. Now there are many bins that the boys can "check out" one at a time (stored in my room for now), which limits the amount of mess the boys can make with the Legos (have you ever cleaned up over 10,000 Legos off the floor? I have.). The weekend after that I took the room to the next level of clean, decluttered, and organized, and since then we have made an effort every single night to put the room back to perfection.
Other than pockets of clutter here and there in various corners (our camping stuff always ends up in the dining room, and with an old bungalow we have no entry area so Goodwill items also stack up in the dining room) all we have left is our bedroom and the school room. The school room is pretty good, but it falls apart regularly which tells me we could use more decluttering and organization (or perhaps we just need to make the daily effort to return it to order). Our room ends up being the catch-all when we declutter all of the other rooms, as it is the way-station for items that need to be taken to the bonus room (off the garage).
I feel pulled in so many directions, and I know that I can't do it all without experiencing teacher/parent/human burnout. So my goal is to get homekeeping to a place where it is easy to do (but not necessarily mindless). I think that means we still need to get rid of about half of our stuff!