Adulting: Housework

Ever since Christmas, I’ve been on a mission to have a clean house. I read the Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up. I joined some organization groups on Facebook and revived my Pinterest boards dedicated to improving my home. I read lots of blog posts. I looked at dozens of house cleaning schedules and charts. And then I threw myself into it.

It’s been going pretty well. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • Cleaned and organized the coat closet
  • Bought a shoe rack to solve the pile of shoes by the back door problem
  • Cleaned out most of the kitchen cabinets and got rid of TONS of things I didn’t use or love
  • Cleaned out the banquette storage
  • Cleaned and organized the file cabinet
  • Moved the cereal/snacks/crackers/misc food stuff to a cabinet so my countertop is mostly clean
  • Cleaned and organized the fridge
  • Bought new pillows for all the beds
  • Created a laundry system* with multiple baskets
  • Started emptying the sink every night before bed
  • Started unloading the dishwasher every morning after the kids go to school
  • Prioritized an evening clean up every night before bed
  • Started making my bed, complete with throw pillows

Now, weeks later, I wouldn’t be ashamed to have surprise company show up at my door. (I mean, I will probably be in pajamas and no bra, but my house will be in pretty good shape.) I’m not saying things are spotless or that you could eat off my floors – I have a dog, a cat, and four kids – but if you wanted to come in for coffee I wouldn’t be mad. I still don’t live in a Pottery Barn catalog or a blank white box, so those toys on the coffee table are actually supposed to be there, as is the downstairs laundry basket, the art supplies on the dining room table and the bins of small plastic things. The look I am going for is “well-loved and lived-in family home not occupied by hoarders”.

Are you dying to know the secret to my success? Do you want the link to my eBook on how to solve your messy house once and for all? Am I so smug you can’t wait to poke holes in my system? Let me tell you how I have accomplished this 180 turn around from trash heap to nice home. Here it is, my secret to a clean house:

You just have to f**king do it.

There aren’t any tricks. There isn’t a magic organizational chart or schedule or Pinterest board that made my house clean. I have to do all those stupid, repetitive chores every single day to stay on top of the mess. Even my laundry system boils down to “Oh you put away three loads of laundry yesterday? DO IT AGAIN.” I sit down less. I see something that needs put away and I get up and put it away. I don’t let things “soak” in the sink for five days. I pick up the same toys five times a day and then one more time after the kids go to bed…then I do the same thing the next day. It is never-ending. It is stupid. It is necessary.

It sucks.

The peaceful sleep of a child who isn’t living in chaos, made possible by the fact that I made my bed. And then I had to make it again because he slept in it.

But it is starting to get easier. It’s become a habit to clean the sink and clear off surfaces as soon as I can. Same thing with the laundry – I finally remember to throw in a load/switch to the dryer/empty the dryer several times a day. I’m learning to value how 20 minutes of work can help me stay on top of the housework instead of constantly playing catch up. I mean, I am ALWAYS playing catch up. Always. I have four children. I am very tired. But by constantly climbing towards the top of housework mountain I don’t end up buried under it.

It would be foolish of me to say this is a permanent change. I doubt I will ever be someone who finds it easy to stay organized. But by changing my attitude from “I need a strategy” to “Just f**king do it” I’ve made definite progress. You too can have a sort of clean home if you sleep fewer hours, relax less often, and follow your children around cleaning up their messes as they make them.

*I ordered medium sized laundry baskets for every member of the family at the advice of a friend. That way when I’m throwing clean clothes out of the dryer I can throw them into the baskets and putting away each person’s laundry takes a lot less time than sorting from one giant pile. These baskets are the perfect size:

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9 Responses to “Adulting: Housework”

  1. Janet says:

    All excellent moves. I just saw someone on one of the morning shows say about organizing : There is no “later”. Which is basically your point. The mess doesn’t go away…it just gets worse.

    I always make my bed! It’s funny how that one thing makes me feel better.

  2. Krsiti says:

    I am crazy about keeping our house cleaned. Interesting on the bins… I might try it for sorting purposes.

    I do all of our laundry (family of 4) on Sundays. Literally from wake to bed, I do laundry. It comes out to at least 8 loads that day but I go to bed on Sunday knowing everything is clean. (Sometimes to get ahead or if we need a jersey etc… I will do one load on Friday night after work).

    It makes the other tasks in the week manageable.

    We clean the kitchen after every meal with a wipe down and sweep after any meal.

    In our area, I sell so much stuff on virtual yard sales so that when clothes don’t fit they don’t take up space in our closets. My issue is the junk mail piles… I just want to read it all, don’t have time and it piles up.

    • bebehblog says:

      I hate opening mail. I also HATE selling stuff online, but I do consign at a couple local places. Unfortunately, it’s one of the tasks I let pile up and then I end up overwhelmed. I actually prefer the dishes, because they can be DONE.

  3. Kate says:

    This made me laugh (and also cringe, because if I had an unplanned visitor to my flat I’d have to blindfold them for their own good. It’s very tidy when I know I have guests coming, though!)

  4. “You too can have a sort of clean home if you sleep fewer hours, relax less often, and follow your children around cleaning up their messes as they make them.” /dead Haha!

    But for real…I think we were duped into thinking once clean up is complete the mess will not return by being responsible adults with no children for a time.

    Instead of giving up something for Lent this year, I’ve decided to take on the task of doing at least one thing around the house everyday and not complain about it. Do the kids gets crumbs everywhere after every meal? Yes, but at least we have the food to give them. Does my husband somehow bathe himself, the coffee mug, and the counter in coffee and grounds every morning? Yes, but at least he has a job to go to. Having a tidier house and having stopped playing the Mexican standoff of who’s going to clean up that mess…I feel like a calmer person. Also I tossed or donated sooooo much stuff when we PCS’d in January and he was at school. Less crap makes me feel better as well.
    Jennifer @ WrittenByJennifer recently posted… What I’ve Read Lately – January & February 2017

  5. Suzanne says:

    I feel like I could have written this post! Well, except for most of the parts about the cleaning and organizing you’ve accomplished. To date I have figured out how to a) unload the dishwasher each day (first thing, while my daughter is eating breakfast0 and b) make my bed. But those two things HELP. And I am working toward the rest of it! The laundry kills me though. It’s not the DOING so much as the FOLDING and the PUTTING AWAY. So. Hard.

    Anyway, I really would like to know more about your shoe rack. We have a shoe shelf that has outlived its usefulness and I am looking to upgrade but have no idea where to start. Where did you get yours?
    Suzanne recently posted… Gift Aftermath: One of Us Is Wrong, and the Other Is Right

    • bebehblog says:

      This is the shoe rack I bought, but Amazon has it listed as unavailable: Honestly, it’s already looking a little rough because Linc keeps climbing on it and it’s just made out of plastic tubing. But it fits perfectly in our closet space and holds a lot of shoes, which is what I needed because 6 people x 3 pairs of shoes each currently in rotation = SO MANY SHOES.

  6. Jett says:

    That make-up storage idea just rocked my freaking face off. Literally just skipped the rest of the pics to comment and let you know.
    Love the blog.

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