Day 6 - What Is Happening!
It's day 6 of our clutter clean out, attempting to have less mess and less stress. This morning I actually watched the garbage truck roll up and take all my trash away today, coffee in hand and all, like a scene from a movie. I don't know about your movie but my movie is getting a bit scary!
With every closet door I open I seem to find random treasures that make me think, "What's wrong with me?" Why in the world is this stuck in this closet in this random spot. For example, I cleaned out a linen closet where I also store my bags and purses. Evidently, the last time I cleaned off the top of my dresser I must have been in a rush, because I took everything, threw it in a reusable shopping bag, and tossed it in the closet. Imagine hearing a big buzzer X going off in my head when I discovered this! Have you ever done this? Have you had a surface you couldn't stand to look at so you practically swept it under the rug? Like me?
As I dumped the contents of the bag onto my bed, I started finding objects I was excited to find, like a jar of Advil, but then there were other objects that I wanted to put back into the bag to avoid making decisions such as papers, pens, and miscellaneous items. I then found a diaper bag that I had chosen to retire three years ago! But I still had it! Why!
While I was happy to find missing silverware, I also found expired baby food and some unidentifiable gross goop! Going through my bags, I also discovered I was a very prepared person, unearthing at least a two month supply of tampons! GO ME! I also found a bag of pennies! A BIG bag. This bag had to weigh at least five pounds! Somewhere in the corner of my brain I remember seeing it when we moved into our home seven years ago, but the bottom of a dresser drawer was not the spot for it!
What have you found while cleaning out that's made you laugh out loud? While going through a stack of books, I found numerous books on dating and it made me roll with laughter that I apparently needed to read a book on how to date and talk to boys! Maybe for you it's bins and bins of receipts, papers, and documents. Maybe it's bins of baby clothing you've been holding onto... that aren't even yours, it's a bag of hand me down clothes your kids never wore but you still have it!
Here are 3 ways to avoid future "what in heck" moments:
1. Make immediate decisions going forward.
When I bring in the mail I need to immediately decide what to toss and whats important. Even more than mail are my children's daily folders from school! I feel so guilty tossing anything they make, so I put the decision off, and off, and off and eventually find myself trying to see over a pile of art papers while we eat dinner.
How about this idea, when my kids run into the house, we should immediately put shoes and coats where they belong instead of allowing them to clutter the entry way. Perhaps when I change my kids from one set of clothing to another, we either put it right into the hamper or we put it away. Now, I know some of these things might sound like, "Duh, thats obvious," but when life gets busy, when parents are tired, and when patience wears thin after a long day of my baby screaming in my face, the first thing we let slide is the piece of clothing that falls down the side of the dresser thinking, "Oh, I'll get that later." Because guess what! At that point, "I don't care!" Go to bed I'll see your precious face again tomorrow and I'll deal with this mess in the morning. Come on, you know you've been there. How about when all of a sudden your baby blanket pile is so big it practically has a personality of its own?
An immediate decision is a conscious decision. You consciously decide to handle the problem right away and not put it off. While this seems so simple I've lived with multiple kids long enough to know it's not. And when you have dozens and dozens of these decisions tossed at you every hour of every day, don't think you're going to be perfect and make all the right ones. It's ok to sometimes just fall back into that pile of never ending laundry and cry, scream, or do whatever you have to do to get through yet another load.
2. Put Favor in Your Corner and Create Good Habits
Sometimes it seems like I make my life harder than it really needs to be. I'm quick to volunteer at church, school, and my business group; and I'll never say no to a mom's night out or coffee with a friend, but taking on more work than I can physically take leads to burn out. I crash hard and stop wanting to do any of it. I'm tired and there's only so much of me to go around. Just like your home has space constraints, and its compartments have space constraints (as discussed on setting limits, Day 3) so do you. Your daily life, your physical body, and your brain can only do so much, so it's imperative to come up with ways to help alleviate stress so that you can live that more engaged life.
I find that my office is a constant sore point. Papers are always stacking up. Work projects and stacks and stacks of random who knows what that would be thrown in there just because the other room (cough* dining room table) needed to be clean. Now, they do say the smartest, most successful people are messy, so who knows, maybe that means I'm a genius, but I'm still going to try and keep it organized because I know I can be more focused in a tidy environment. Instead of constantly fighting the giant, my amazing fixer husband, Brandon, invested in a document scanner! As a stylist and image consultant, one of the things I do a lot of is sell jewelry and services, a lot of it, and the receipts stack up fast....piles and piles and piles of them. Now we zip them through the scanner and are able to store them on our computer and can shred (yes have a shredder) the original. Here's a few other things we scan in: Tax documents, legal documents, important child information, kids art projects, receipts, the list goes on and one and our cabinets get smaller and smaller. It's been a total win!
Here are a few other ways you can set your day up for success by making these habits:
1. Run the dishwasher before you go to bed. It doesn't matter how little or much there is, run it!
2. Do a little laundry every day (blah I know). This will take you from being swallowed whole into feeing like you are in control of the situation.
3. Make lunches before you go to bed. Prepare what you'll be making for your work day or the kids school day.
4. Wake up BEFORE your kids! Ladies! This is huge! Give yourself some time to feel like a real human being and not automatically go into mom mode. Give your kids boundaries not allowing them to be out of their room till the alarm goes off. We use a child alarm clock that lights up. Set the boundaries that include not allowing kids to sleep with you because your rest (and theirs) is important. Give yourself time in the morning to get some coffee, do a devotional, read the news, get dressed...feel human!
5. Set your clothes out the night before. If you want to make working out and getting to the gym a habit, then put your exercise gear out before you go to bed to help follow through. Simply picking out your work clothes the night before will save you tuns of time in the morning!
3. Remember You're Never Alone
Remembering that you're not alone in this makes a huge difference. Negotiate chores between your husband, significant other, or housemate that spreads the load to everyone in the house. I know it's easy to just do it yourself but instill some responsibility into your children as well to help them make habits while they're young. Making the bed or cleaning off the table are some small ways they can contribute as well as cleaning up the toy area before bedtime.
Maybe you need to evaluate whats possible with your current life situations and be ok with not doing it all. Hire someone to clean your house! If you're working all day long you probably want to be with your kids when you're home. Choices need to be made to lead a more engaging life and to spend it with those who matter. If hiring someone to come clean every week or every other makes that happen, do it! I know women who have a laundry service! If that is what makes the difference in a happy home, and you can afford it, then do it! Your kids don't care who's folding their clothing or cleaning the sink. They want you, and they love you. If life feels like it's smothering you, remember that you hold the reigns of your life and you can direct it any way you please. Start taking your life back and focus on dreams you have for you, your future, your family's future!
You were not made to just survive the day, get through "this phase" or be ok with where you're at. If you don't like something, change it! If I don't like that I have too much stuff in my basement I'm not going to ignore it, I'm going to change it. If I don't like feeling rushed in the morning, I'm going to change it. If I don't find enjoyment from a job or relationship I'm going to make changes.