Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ten Tips for Tidy

Oh I feel sick...

For once, the least of my worries is the money and, after paying the rates yesterday, the amount we have available through to the end of the month is so little anyone in the same situation would be curled up in a little ball of fear, dread and terror. Not that anything has been going down the drain on frivolities, anything and everything is going on debt and the dent seems to be showing! We haven't bought chocolate for so long, and I am hankering a block of Caramello or a few Cadbury Creme Eggs.

As much as possible I've tried to be positive and recognise we have sufficient food in the pantry, a full tank of petrol, feed for all the animals and the opportunity to get another $20-$30 if more fresh free range googie eggs are sold. I know no additional payments are due until the end of the month, all medications are at hand and the therapy costs have been budgeted and available for the coming fortnight. Regardless - it doesn't stop that churning in the guts with the realisation of how 'broke' really is the feeling as well as the status of the bank accounts.

The main part of feeling sick today is the side effects of withdrawing from a five year relationship with opiate pain medication coupled with the other night's glass of champagne, glass of red wine and an intensely bright sunny day this morning. My rose-coloured glasses help by assuring me the partaking of alcohol is to blame but the sad reality is this is the start of my narcotics withdrawal. My head wants to explode, my eyes want black-coloured glasses to block the light (not that helpful for seeing tho'), my tummy is turning and basically I feel like I am moving about 3cm above the ground in a hazy cloud of psychedelic sparkles. Some might think this sounds like fun ~ be assured, it is not!! 

The things we do!!  OK ~ Onward and upward. Can't fall down now ~ I've got too much to do. I hope those sparkly bits will catch me...

Getting Organised to avoid CHAOS

Being out of action the past few years is a great explanation as to why the household is cluttered, disorganised and rather messy. Sadly, its not the sole reason because we've always been hoarders living in clutter, disorganisation and untidiness. While using the brilliance of Simple Savings steered us in the right direction with saving ~ I discovered we suffer from a disorder called CHAOS "Cant Have Anyone Over Syndrome".

Can you see the desk?
CHAOS affects lots of people and for various reasons. Ours is the embarrassment of the constant state of shambles. It's not unhygienic or putrid ~ there is just crap and clutter everywhere. So one aspect of Our Mission has been to find a semblance of order and maintain it. Being such a daunting task, I established a few methods to get this under way without being overwhelmed every day.

For me the word 'Chores' translates as hard work ~ I prefer to use 'Goals' and these are the 5 Golden Rules for my 'Cleaning Goals' list:

1. Identify the trouble areas
2. Write a weekly cleaning goals for the house
3. Write a daily daily goals list at night for the next day
4. Establish a "Room of the Week" list
5. If you see a piece of paper/rubbish ~ pick it up and throw it out

I am not one for having a huge attention span amount of energy or strength and possess excellent procrastinating skills. These skills seem to have me flit back and forth without a Daily Goal list to bring me back on track. The infamous "They" say don't plan too much to avoid failure. I say write what you hope to achieve, complete at least half and carry the rest over. If I don't, I forget what I'd planned ~ have I mentioned the medication makes me forget things this post yet??

As every area is a trouble area at the moment, the 'Room of the Week' is in play and, ideally, 15mins every hour or two is taken in the designated room to remove the stress of it being 'such a big task' and steadily pick away at the clutter. There are three boxes (choose what is wanted; throw this rubbish; sell or give to charity) and a basket (keeping this, its needed) which comes out at the end of the 15mins to find or return to its designated location.

All going in different directions

I've also stuck to the following Ten Tips for Tidy regime:

1. Lower my expectations for the house 
 ~ I want a tidy, lived-in home, not a structure where nothing is touched for fear of finger prints...

2. Fill the sink with hot soapy water in the morning for:
 ~ breakfast bowls
 ~ empty cups
 ~ other dirty dishes during the day
 ~ deterring ants

3. Doing a little housework often and one big tidy on Thursday in anticipation of weekend rest strikes visitors
 ~ pack the dishwasher from the sink, run when full
 ~ ensure every cook up makes at least another 'fast' dinner option
 ~ make school/work lunches over the weekend, wrap and freeze to get out each morning
 ~ do clothes laundry one day a week, linen and towels another
 ~ placing folded doonas and sheets inside a pillowcase avoids a messy search
 ~ put clothes away on the day

4. Menu plan for a week
 ~ freeze leftover roast for pie/pasta sauce
 ~ divide meat into meal portions before freezing
 ~ cut or portion fruit/veg into the crisper (FridgeSmarts) immediately

5. Grocery shop alone in the evening 
 ~ hubby can watch his TV shows stack the dishwasher
 ~ no interruptions means no impulse buys
 ~ its mark-down time
 ~ no chance to buy from other (closed) shops

6. Trying not to double handle things
 ~ rubbish goes straight in the bin
 ~ fold washing as it comes off the line - pair and fold socks there too
 ~ underwear does not need to be ironed or folded to go in the drawer
 ~ put clothes away on the day

7. Leave rooms better than seen on arrival - it takes less than 5 minutes to:
 ~ put laundry from the floor to the hamper
 ~ straighten a doona, make the bed
 ~ wipe a bench
 ~ change the toilet roll
 ~ say something is empty (- write it on the shopping list)
 ~ put clothes away on the day

8. Recruit the family to help 
 ~ everyone over the age of 3-4 can put dirty dishes in the sink, collect toys to away in their room, dirty clothes in a hamper
 ~ everyone over the age of 5-6 can pick up rubbish. have an exclusive chore, put their clothes away on the day
 ~ everyone understands the repercussions of remotes/power cords withheld until things are done
9. Writing the shopping list progressively through the week 
 ~ matched to the menu plan
 ~ when you notice an item is low or finished
 ~ try to include a reward for yourself occasionally

10. No beating myself up or calling myself a failure if I don't get 'everything' done.
 ~ I am only human
 ~ There is always tomorrow
 ~ Chocolate can ease the feeling of failure

Found it (and shelves)
This is, by no means, a complete list but as a general weekly guide to getting organised or reorganised as a household. Ideally the weekend is available for the family and friends. I like the idea of focussing on a big clean on Monday to start the week and another major whip-around on Thursday so there is a semblance of order for the weekend. 

Should Better Homes and Gardens ever wish to visit ~ I think I will steer the focus onto the garden and outdoor areas. If Vogue decides to come over ~ I'll be drawing the curtains and pretending no one is home. When friends or family drop in ~ finally I almost feel happy to have them waltz in without a three day advance warning... almost.

Supporting Our Mission

Simple Savings - If you use the link for Simple Savings ~ remember to mention you were referred by Mands because Simple Savings offer members either $10 or extra membership for sending new members over. It's a really helpful and beneficial website.

MandsMission on eBay - There one lonely little item up for sale at the moment. But there is plenty on its way since we started following the list above to declutter.

Well, time to tidy up in the kitchen and get that dishwasher stacked. Table is cleared, benches are wiped, rinsing done only stacking to go. Plus all the washing was put away. Even writing about it positively rubs off ~ see how you go and please report any successes.

No idea what is in store for tomorrow other than getting in the garden to weed the 'big garden bed' and move the little roosters ~ who aren't that little any more. We really must get them into the freezer because we are almost out of chook in the freezer and the prices don't seem to be going down any time soon.


  1. This looks like a daunting list. But with your family's help, it WILL be done!

  2. I am very inpsired by this list ...we have a garage full and a shed of clutter. Possibly things I could sell if I tried using ebay.
    Have you any ebay guide posts ?
    The best idea I grabbed "placing folded doonas and sheets inside a pillowcase avoids a messy search. GOLD

  3. Ps I meant to say I hope you sell some eggs and things aren't too hard till the end of the month.

  4. We could be twins, honestly. I don't have pain medication issues, but I have spent the past two years chronically anaemic. Energy levels = 0 and that's on a good day.

    Your list idea is great and just what I need. As for the budgeting, well, I need that too.

  5. wow! Fantastic post and i have taken a few well all really so i can start my tidy up for my place lol... Thanks

  6. Lowering my expectations is definitely the key for me... And I am doing the Thursday tidy-up tomorrow. Not because of weekend visitors (oh, no, it would be way too unrealistic to expect the house to stay tidy for this long), but because it is the only day when I have a bit of time to do it.

  7. Thank you every one!!

    It's great to know I am not the only disorganised housewife!!

    Trish ~ I love linen, but I'd open the door and everything would tumble out. It's the perfect lazy method when you've got single, double and queen sized beds to fit!

    Susan ~ I often say in jest I have five years of housework to catch up, but its never been my forte! The list has actually helped get organised. I'll share some more soon :D

    Boy you've made this the high light of my day!!

    Onward and upward

  8. Mands, this is a fantastic post. Your Ten Tips for Tidy regime is awesome and I will be printing it out to help me get a bit more organised at home. So many great ideas!

    I hope you sell your eggs too x

  9. You are not alone! This post drew me in and made me look around. I am a piler and drawer shover...I clean by putting everything in a drawer or a basket until the guests leave then I can't find anything. I went through a renovation this past summer - that helped because I had to make split second decisions to keep or throw. We also had a dumpster on our driveway - once I started I couldn't stop...

  10. OOooo ~ Barbara - a dumpster!!

    Actually Husband and I have considered getting a dumpster in once there is a few extra $$ available because they are not the cheapest thing to use! We've been filling the trailer but without a towball on the car, it seems to add to the clutter of the yard...

    Sign out for eggs ~ hoping to catch some drive bys :D

  11. Love your Ten Tips for Tidy regime. My biggest issue is my 12yo daughter. We have different definitions for "lived in". It seems the only thing that works for her is to let her have a friend stay over...then the CHAOS goes away :)

  12. Learncreatedo (love your name) ~ sometimes I am grateful to have boys. As one of five sisters, girls tend to have clothes, books and 'stuff' spread from wall to wall. Sadly boys seem to mishear 'lived in' as 'living' *shudders*

  13. Normally with a post that long I would probably skim but I was interested from beginning to end!
    Clutter clogs up my head. Once it gets to a certain point, I can't think what to do anymore. When I feel overwhelmed by it, I have to get someone to help me get started.
    Using your tips might keep me from getting to that point.