Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why home disorganization is a lot like debt

The past 15 months of being pregnant and nursing babies nearly constantly has taken a toll on my home. There are piled-up projects and other things that need attention all over. I am finally feeling as though I'm able to come up for air and am beginning to sort through the chaos. As I do this I am struck with how similar it feels to when J. and I went through the process of getting out of debt.

Like living with debt, living in a disorganized home leaves me feeling anxious. There is so much to do, I don't quite know where to begin. Just as debt robs a person of financial resources because of high interest, living with disorganization robs a person of time. Instead of being able to take care of something small right away, too many small things pile up into a monumental task. And neither are a quick fix, it took a while to build up both debt and chaos, it takes time and hard work to make both go away.

So how am I going about the process of digging out? The first thing I'm doing is being vigilant about sticking to my weekly housework schedule:

Monday -- extra laundry and ironing
Tuesday -- sewing and mending
Wednesday -- desk work
Thursday -- cooking (it's when I prepare things for breakfast, do bulk cooking, etc.)
Friday -- grocery shopping
Saturday -- cleaning and supervising the children's cleaning
Sunday -- day of worship and rest (we don't do household chores...not even laundry)

With the ironing and mending, I've been trying to take care of the small things which come up over the course of the week and then do a little of the backlog. My idea is that I want to see the piles slowly going down. Some of the jobs are just too big to tackle in small bits and need some concentrated time to get them back to management phase. Some of these include filing all of last year's paperwork; sorting through and cleaning the room in which we keep all the outgrown clothes; and deep cleaning and organizing (again!) the little boys' room. These we will need to save as big weekend projects. I'm not looking forward to actually doing these jobs, but I am excited to have them done.

Sometimes I just don't feel like doing what I know needs to be done...and sometimes I don't. But I've learned that I usually end up feeling rotten about it by the end of the day and the memory of that feeling is often enough to give me the kick in the pants that I need. I've also learned that many of the daily jobs I do just don't take that long when I actually do them. There were some days that I thought I didn't have time to make my bed. But one day I decided to time myself to see how long it actually took. Three minutes. Every time I'm tempted to skip it, I remind myself that surely I can spare three minutes to make myself happy about the state of my room for the rest of the day.

When my house feels organized and I don't feel out of control, I think I'm a better parent and wife. I can focus on the people in my home and not the chaos I'm seeing around me. I am more hospitable because I can happily invite people over without being embarrassed about letting them see my house. And it saves me money. I know what we own because it's not shoved in a closet so I don't buy duplicates of something. And I am far more picky about what I do bring into my house. Is it something we really need and will add to our quality of life or is it something that I will just end up getting rid of the next time I have to conquer the chaos. Funny how bringing order to a home often involves getting rid of stuff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is such a helpful perspective, I appreciate that you have put into words some things that I have intuited in the past. I think I am going to borrow your schedule idea too - though I may adapt it to be my "digging out from under a bit at a time" schedule. Thanks!!

-Eleanor

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