Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Homekeeping

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!

2 comments:

Blissfulbee said...

Oh indeed I do know the LEGO clean up dance. I have a very LEGO obsessed child who loves them dearly. I truly cant stand cleaning them up and finally learned to give GM a hand held mini broom and dust pan set. He now can make his way around the space in no time at all. He also knows that his crazy Mom has no issues with sucking them up in the vacuum (except specialty pieces) so when he hears me coming, he gets busy FAST!!!

I also find that having my husband just help a tiny bit really relieves me of a lot of pressure and I can really dig in to the rest. Even if it is just getting a pot to soak or clearing the dinner table.

I am really trying to carry the concept of having a home that nourishes us in my heart throughout the day. It is really helping me to get rid of more stuff (yet again). :-)

APKimberMama said...

No kidding! Not only do we have all of Mike's old Legos, but some from the nephews and MIL's classroom. Then I would say we have added no fewer that 50 sets over the past 3 years, between what we buy and gifts. I figured out that just last Christmas we added over 5000 individual Lego pieces; luckily 3104 of them are permanently (I hope!) assembled into a Star Wars Star Destroyer. Hmmm...just this week we brought in another 700 pieces, after having declared a Lego moratorium (but these were retired and a super deal). When I say we have 15K-20K Lego pieces I'm not exaggerating.

I couldn't possibly vacuum them up - it would kill the vacuum! I do sweep them into piles.

I love a clean, tidy home. For me, the toughest things are letting go of items that might have a later use (or have value) and not getting so caught up in maintaining a clean and tidy home that I do nothing else.