The Housework Diet

It should be really simple. Easy.

Really, isn’t it easier to take care of housework and general things that have to be done as they come up, rather than spend time dealing with them gradually? File bills into their binder when they arrive, instead of letting them build up (paid automatically) into heaps around the house that have to be dealt with later. Wash dishes every night so I’m not sorting through a heap trying to find THE fork that Cameron wants to use at supper. Do laundry before the basket overflows, vacuum on a regular basis, put clothes away instead of on the floor, heck, make beds! It’s that office management thing, where to be efficient you only touch each piece of paper once. Any more than that and you’re wasting time. Get mail, deal with it, file it – takes far less time than get mail, drop it in a pile, find it later, sort it into another pile, open it, pile it, search for it, find it, post it on the fridge, look at it, deal with it, pile it. Right?

It seems to me that it should be so easy to just DO it. Wake up, get dressed, make bed, grab lunch made night before, get Cameron dressed and bed made, get breakfast, get out the door.  Get home, hang up coats/hats/mittens, start super, do a quick chore (sweep, or start laundry, or clean bathroom) while Cameron plays then join him, eat supper, wash dishes while he’s in the tub, put him to bed, do a chore, put dishes away, make lunch for tomorrow, have me-time, get ready for bed (putting dirty clothes in the basket), read, go to bed. Where’s the mess? Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

It’s happened before that I’ve started with a clean apartment, swearing up and down that I’m going to keep it that way. I do fine for a while. But then one thing starts to slip – instant gratification of flopping into a chair wins over doing work that minimizes other work. And before I know it I’ve got a pile of Cameron’s clean clothes in the living room, a pile of my clothes on my floor, a heap of dishes, and a mountain of laundry. Like now.

Really, it doesn’t matter that I don’t mop my floors every other day. It doesn’t matter that my house isn’t neat and tidy. Except that it does. Good enough is good enough, but this is not good enough.

So, a game plan. I’m very right, I could wash dishes instead of surfing the net while Cameron is in the tub. Sure, by that point I’m ready for a bit of braindead amusement, but do I really need it? I really should put the Christmas packing away. Cameron can cope with me doing a quick chore when we get home. It’s time for me to take the diet approach. You know, healthy steady weight loss by cutting back on calories and boosting activity, so calories out is greater than calories in? Same goes for housework. Just as a diet can slowly chip away at extra pounds, if my housework done is greater than my mess made on a steady basis, I should get to a better point.

Tonight I have already swept the kitchen floor. I need to do dishes. Coats and mittens and boots are tucked away, toys tidied. If I spend fifteen minutes on my bedroom floor mess I’ll be fifteen minutes closer to having a tidy me-space.

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7 responses to “The Housework Diet

  1. The flylady approach says you should never spend more than 15 minutes at one time. Yeah, it would take me 15 minutes just to fine the vacuum!

    They also say that as long as you kitchen sink sparkles every day, you can let other things go, but at least you have a clean kitchen sink.

    I have a clean kitchen sink right now, but there’s dirty dishes on the counters all around the sink!

  2. Ooh, Flylady. I’ve tried that but never really get much further than three or four days into it. Maybe I should start again.

    But at least tonight I did some stuff. Dishes. There are still a few soaking. Took care of the obvious surface clutter in the kitchen and gave all surfaces a wipe. Cleaned the tub, toilet, sink in the bathroom. Kitty litter is done. Tub is filling, last night’s Grey’s Anatomy is cued up and ready to play.

  3. Good post Melanie! Interesting way to look at it.

    Since my renos for the most part are complete upstairs, I take the time to really keep things picked up. After 3 years of not, let me tell you, it’s quite the bootcamp kinda training session I’m going through! Holey… is THIS what all those other people with clean homes do for a living?!?

    I use to get my floors done once a week after a car accident a couple years ago. You have no idea what a challenge it was to just ensure stuff was off the floor for her that one day a week back then. I am aghast at how many ‘nests’ accumulate over the course of a couple days if not taken care of!

    No doubt about it, housework is alot of hard work. The ultimate key for me is having a place for the crap to go back to. For if it doesn’t, that’s when you lose counterspace, sofa arms laddled with jackets, and whatnot.

    Purging constantly is a wonderful maintaining tool as well! And yeah, just another thing to do unfortunately…

    Keep on keepin’ on! Self discipline has a big effect on his one. I started turning off the laptop certain times of day and that has really helped me stay on track better. Lap top still remains in the kitchen though, can’t lose it from there quite yet, that would be the end of life as I know it!!!! LOL

    Donna

  4. Good luck with this – it’s something i really struggle with too. I don’t get the whole Flylady thing myself, but i do use the 15 minute thing. It’s actually amazing what you can get done in 15 minutes. So i make a deal with myself. Whenever i get a break (naptime or bedtime) i do 15 minutes of cleaning, then the rest of the time i can do whatever i feel like. Sometimes i feel so good about what i’m getting done that i just keep on cleaning. Other times i just park infront of the tv or computer.

  5. I hear you, and I don’t have a 3 year old… Flylady though… the principles are sound. I have my watch timer permanently set at 15min and when I need to (like this week’s prep for guest) I use it… helps at times.

    Miss you my dear friend.

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