Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ten Day Turnaround

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but my house is a sty. Top to bottom. I'm cleaning everyday, but it's not getting clean. Why? Because it was messy and unorganized to start with.

I blame Christmas. And my kids. And working. And a tiny bit of laziness. But, what it all adds up to is a big, giant mess. And, it's quite overwhelming.

I can't even IMAGINE getting the time, energy or willpower to clean this house from attic to basement. The very thought of it makes me want to huddle in a corner with the dust bunnies and animal hair and cry and cry and cry. It makes me want to move and not take any of this crap with us. But, mostly, it makes me want to just live with it.

The solution to this mess, is to get caught up. But, how? It's SO MUCH CRAP. How can I do this without breaking down in the middle of the Walmart cleaning aisle screaming, "Why?! WHY ME?!! " How can I catch up with only 24 hours in a day, those of which are being shared with all of my other jobs as mom and wife and dollar store worker? How can I organize entire rooms when I am already struggling to keep up with regular cleaning?

Easy peasy, my friends. I have come up with a system. I always have a system. Always. A game plan. I spend far more time organizing my thoughts than I do my drawers. But, this system is working. And, I am sharing it here with y'all.

The trick is, to make it less overwhelming. So, we break the jobs down. Into little, tiny jobs. Stop thinking about cleaning your 'house'. Think smaller. No, not room by room. I don't know about y'all, but some rooms in my house look like they've been through a hurricane AND a tornado. Followed by a flood. It's a little daunting to think about cleaning a whole room. I would need to set aside a few days just to clean my office. No, think smaller. Smaller than a closet. Smaller than a bookshelf. Think one shelf at a time.

Now, make a list. One hundred things that need doing. Yes, one hundred. Walk around. See what hasn't been done in a while. Skip the every day jobs, like emptying the dishwasher or doing a load of regular laundry. A few samples on my list are cleaning the top of the fridge, organizing the bottom shelf in the office, sorting through a box in the basement, dusting the picture frames, organizing under the kitchen sink, sorting out my yarn, etc, etc.

Some items will take a few seconds, some will take a bit longer. That's OK. That's good. Now that you have your one hundred things to be done in the house, get to it. You HAVE TO do ten tasks on the list each day for ten days. And no changing the list. You wrote it, that's what you do. Don't do more than ten. The point is to go slow and steady. Don't have much time one day? Pick ten easy ones. Have a day off? Pick ten harder ones. But, don't go to bed until ten are done. For ten days.

Why ten days? I thought a week would be too cramped. And stressful. If you start your ten days on a Saturday, you will have two weekends to do the bigger things. Why not two weeks? Because, if you need to get organized, it doesn't help to stretch it out any longer thanyou have to.

Will this get your house totally clean? Of course not. There will be lots left to do. There is ALWAYS lots to do. But, you will make a dent. A very large dent. In only ten days. It's like putting your house on a crash diet. And then you can start from there. Even make another list. But, you should be able to keep up on some regular things without feeling like you live in a dump.

Today is day two for me, so far. It's going well. I have cleaned things that haven't been touched in a long time. And I can already see a difference. And, I have told my family that if they mess anything up behind me while I do this system, I will kill them slowly and painfully. Maybe with a feather duster.

If you want to follow along with your own list, let me know.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great strategy, Tara. I will start lists for my husband and kids right away. JK! I never thought of breaking the closet cleanout up into smaller parts like shelf, floor, etc. I just may get it done. Good luck with your list!

January 21, 2007 at 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Valbee said...

Let me know how threatening the family goes. At my house, the main source of disaster is The Boyfriend, who somehow manages to be worse than BOTH my sons when they lived here. There are days when I could just cry.

January 21, 2007 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

That a great idea! I've also been upset about how messy it is over here, so yesterday I went a little stir crazy and threw out a lot of stuff. I mean a lot. 15 trash bags worth. I only have two rooms! Needless to say, its pretty empty in here now.

Good luck!!

January 21, 2007 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

Great idea Tara! I'm on board for sure! Good luck!

January 21, 2007 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Lucy said...

I just heard about something like that on the TV this morning....look at the small picture....don't look at the over all thing! You go, girl!

January 21, 2007 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger noricum said...

Ooooo! Great idea. :) I *should* do this... but I'll procrastinate a bit first. ;) A bunch of what I need to do is simply THROW CRAP OUT. I don't need that walrus pillow I made in grade seven. Or the birks with the crumbling heels. (Even though I don't have replacement sandals... the birks are *dead*!) But, it's taking a bit to work up to it. I'll give myself a few more days to make sure I'm not going to change my mind. ;) Also, Tuesday night is the night trash goes out, so that's a good night to fill up some garbage bags. ;)

January 21, 2007 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Monet said...

Great Idea! I'm in. I was also thinking of putting the "little" things on index cards and when your done one you put it to the back of the stack because your probably going to need to do it again once they are all done. And you can have one stack of cards for each room! I'll let you know how this works!

January 22, 2007 at 4:26 AM  
Blogger utenzi said...

My house is horrid also, Tara. My strategy is to give each large room one week for me to de-junk it and then reorganize and clean it. Since I don't have kids this is realistic since there won't be any little holigans messing up rooms as soon as I leave. LOL Good luck to you and your cleaning, Tara.

January 22, 2007 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

That sounds like a great idea. I think I might try it, but cut it in half, so that I only have to do 5 things a day for 10 days. If I need to, I can always start over at the end of the 10 days!

January 22, 2007 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

Brilliant Tara. I suffer from the same dirty house syndrome as you. It does get overwhelming when you look at the whole thing, rather than little pieces. Thanks for the motivator!!

January 23, 2007 at 5:40 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Great idea and I shall try it!! And being the loving wife & Mom that I am, I shall allow my family to join in on the fun and merriment. We'll see.....

February 3, 2007 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Soulknitting said...

Excellent ideas. Very similiar to Flylady's "you can do anything for 15 minutes" system. I am sooooooo trying to keep up with my house too.

April 19, 2007 at 12:15 PM  

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