13 November 2008


I'm a messy person. Sometimes I blame it on the kids (and they do contribute to the mess) but if I didn't have them my house would still be a mess. I've been frustrated about it for a while now and found a temporary solution when I hired a neighbor girl to come over once a week and do a big job for me (bathroom, mop all the floors, some job I never get to). As I said it was temporary because we decided it was too expensive.

I've been monitoring myself and realized that I rarely clean up a mess I've just made. I'm always too busy and onto the next thing, usually a project. I hate cleaning up the dinner after I've just made it, even if it's macaroni and cheese. My dining room is usually full of project pieces, sewing scraps, homework, mail, random legos, etc, etc, etc. It's not just my dining table, it's my whole house.

I'm sure I have too much junk, because organizing it is taking too much time, so I've been dejunking lately. But it doesn't really seem to help much. I tried to pare down the jeans in the kids drawers and now they're running out of clean clothes every other day!

Sometimes I just resign myself to the fact that I have to clean and I spend a few hours on it. It doesn't matter what room I've cleaned or how well it's been done, but 30 minutes later it's got something spilled on the floor, or little pieces everywhere, or whatever.

There is a good side to this. Not cleaning allows me to have time to do lots of projects. But I'm starting to go crazy right now and I need some advice from you clean friends out there. How do you keep your house clean? And how much time do you spend doing it? And do you ever have time for anything else? How do you get your kids to help?

ps - some of you have asked me before if there's anything I'm not good at. Here you go. I'm a terrible housekeeper. (There are lots of other things too, but I won't list them all now.)


emily and logan said...

i have no advice for you. i'm very messy myself. it's because you became a hansen. hansen's are messy.

molly said...

I really like flylady [flylady.net]. She also has a book called Sink Reflections. I have incorporated some of her concepts but am by no means a hard core follower. I am by nature a neat freak, type A, gotta have it all organized person. Just ask Matt. Although I don't really enjoy cleaning I LOVE to organize. It is very calming to me. Anyways, Mondays are my cleaning days. I don't ever plan anything on Mondays and make that my stay at home day. I have never time myself since I don't get to do everything straight through. With little ones I am always stopping and starting. I start first thing in the morning and this is usually what I try to accomplish. Mop all floors, vacuum, laundry, clean bathrooms [ i clean the boys bathroom when they are in the bath, so i kill two birds with one stone, really works great], sometimes dust [ i HATE dusting], wipe down kitchen counters. Then sometimes I will pick a big thing to try and do through out the week. [ie, clean baseboards, dust fans, windex inside windows] and almost all the big stuff gets done downstairs but somehow I never make it upstairs, ha. Some weeks are much better than others. Hope that helps! Sorry, i was a bit longwinded.

sara said...

sorry my dear; I have no answers. flylady is great if you stick to it but if you're like me it's like going on a diet; a temporary change I don't end up sticking with. Zoe and Lucy unload the dishwasher for me lately; that's been really helpful because I hate doing it. Also I get the kids to mop the floor & vacuum sometimes; they like to do it (mostly) and even though they don't do the best job it's better than nothing.

I'm okay about the bathrooms not becoming atrocious; my probably is clutter & messiness. Pretty much the only reason our house is ever in any kind of decent shape is because Aaron doesn't like clutter, so he's ALWAYS getting after the kids about cleaning up their stuff. And while I'm listening to him rant about it, I end up picking up a few things myself (he knows better than to tell me directly but I'm pretty sure he's hoping I'm listening when he tells the kids to clean up!)

I do the same thing (that you mentioned) where if I feel in the mood to clean, I MUST take advantage of it because that feeling comes so seldomly.

I have decided that it's okay that I'm a terrible housekeeper, because I am good at other things... which is not to say that I won't try, but at least I don't beat myself up over it :)

orangeemily said...

my clean freak roommate always told me it's easier to put things in the right place the first time instead of putting them whereever is convenient and then taking the extra effort to move them later. for some reason, that has helped me put things away immediately which has helped a little with not being so messy.

Carl and Mel said...

So funny Leigh!! I usually clean in the mornings for an hour after the kids leave for school. Then I will just kind of pick up throughout the day and before I go to bed pick up again. Somedays I spend more than others depending on how messy it is. I think the key is just decluttering. If you have a place for EVERYTHING it helps. I don't have projects like you though except painting or whatever. With 4 kids it seems impossible to have my house clean at all times. I generally am anal about it but have to be realistic. Have your kids help you and Dan :) It will make your life easier! I wish I had all your talents :)

Kate said...

I like flylady too... but like Molly, I'm not a hardcore follower. I just have taken some of the concepts and applied them.
I have a list of housecleaning jobs to do each day. Like Mondays are Master bathroom, vacuum downstairs, and mop kitchen. Tuesdays it's dust the whole house, change the sheets and towels, and guest bathroom. Wednesday it's laundry day. Etc. By Friday all of the housecleaning is done... and it hasn't taken THAT long to do a few jobs each day.
The key for me is keeping the house straightened and cleaning up the kitchen every day. Then it's easy to do the more heavy-duty jobs.

Stephanie said...

My advice is don't get a dog. Outside of that I just don't think I am qualified to comment. I really need help organizing. I've read all the books. Paper and pictures kill me.

Ashley said...

dinner suggestion: Clean as you go!!! I try to wash all the dishes and i can before dinner is even served, that way i only have plates and silverware to wash.

Before i go to bed i try to walk around the house and tidy up and put things away.

I deep clean once a week (or every other week): vacuum, bathroom, mop.

I think the best advice is to try and keep it udner control or you won't know where to start! TAke one corner and start there! Get the kids involved! =)

cleaning does suck!!! good luck leigh!

ginny said...

My problem is feeling overwhelmed by a big cleaning project (i.e., when I've let things go too long without deep-cleaning, which I've gotten better at not doing as an adult, but there is always room for improvement). Then I have to break it down into doable jobs just like my mom did for me when I was a kid, like "put all shoes away" or "sort mail." Also, I find a timer really helpful. After a long day at work, church meetings, etc., I think I don't have the energy to clean before bed, and I DON'T have the energy to clean for an hour, but I can usually muster 15 or 30 minutes. If a set a timer and work as hard as I can for that timeframe, I'm usually amazed at what I accomplished in so short a time.

Jamie said...

It reminds me of Jordan's comment a few years when he said, "I'm going to have 100 kids so they can do all the work." So there's my advice-lol. You only have 96 more to go right? But seriously, kids can do so much work.

I say clean for at least 30 minutes each morning and then clean as you go the rest of the time. But I'm quite the piler and obviously don't have it all figured out.

Meredith said...

Leigh, you are speaking my language!! I am de-junking and de-cluttering and am up to my ebyballs in stuff and am filling my van as I go. OK, I don't know you (but we both know Sara so we must have good taste) I would totally come and help you go thru crap if you come and help me!!!

Oh, and I have 3 daughters sure to follow in their creative mama's footsteps. Projects galore. I hear boys don't keep as much little crud around as girls do. I am doomed.

Ellie S. said...

Leigh, misery loves company, so come over to my house and you'll feel much better about your own! I tried FlyLady too, but I have my top ten list of why I can't follow her program, though I do like several of her suggestions. Just know you have kindred spirit in me...you are not alone in this struggle.

Kristin said...

My advice is to invite people over more often. That always gives me more incentive to clean up (though I do really like the house to be clean deep down). Good luck with all your projects.

Jennifer M. said...

So now the truth comes out, there is something normal among all of your "super mom powers" I never seem to be able to keep a clean house either. My littlest, Aleah is very high maintenance. She wants me to hold her at all costs so it does't leave me a lot of time to clean.
I used to get really stressed out about it. But I have come to the conclusion that in the end God doesn't care if we had a clean or a dirty house. If I am wrong, then I don't stand a chance.