Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The first step

is admitting you have a problem right? Well, I have a problem. I'm a clean freak. Now I know those of you who have seen my house in its full glory are thinking "um, what? Does she even know what that means?" but hear me out. I'm not crazy, I promise.
I'm a clean freak. I like things to be clean and orderly. At the same time, I'm a perfectionist, as my mother so willingly can attest to, and tell embarrassing stories about. I want things to be just so. And above that, I am an "all or nothing" type person. (I suppose this is a facet of the perfectionism?) If I can't give it my all, I give it nothing. Can you see how this might be a problem? I have a really hard time dividing tasks into smaller chunks in order to get them done more easily. In school, I would work for hours and hours on end on a project, not because it was due the next day, but because I could see no easier way to chunk it up. For example- the rug in the bathroom desperately needs to be washed. I don't really want to step on it with my clean feet after a shower. But instead of just picking it up and rounding up enough other things to wash with it, thinking about cleaning the rug leads me to think about how the toilet needs to be scrubbed. And if I am going to get the Ajax out, I might as well scrub the tub too. And if I am scrubbing the tub, my hands will smell and I will have a washcloth out, so I might as well scrub the counter top too. And if I am going to clean the rest of the bathroom, I might as well get the Windex out and clean the mirror as well. Of course, once I have all of that stuff out, it's a waste of time to not clean my bathroom as well. Can you see how I can go from one thing to suddenly I have to clean two whole bathrooms, and I just don't have time for that! (Those of you thinking "she's home all day. What else does she do?" can keep your comments to yourself. You obviously have no idea how hard it is to take care of a house and baby.) I think I need a cleaning caddy and some rubber gloves. Maybe then I could do one little thing without making it into a big thing. Anyway, it isn't just the bathroom. I feel the same way about laundry. The hamper may be full, but if I sort it out, will I have enough to make two separate loads? (I wash all the dark colors together and all the lights together, because the lights are usually delicate and the darks are usually dirtier.) If I am going to sort the laundry anyway, I want to make sure it is worth my time. I don't want to do just one load. I want to do ALL the loads and be done with it. But if it doesn't seem to have enough, I just don't do it. For this problem, I need one of those three compartment hampers- so we can sort as we put things in. Then I could see if there is enough at a glance. If the bedroom carpet needs vacuuming, it seems like a waste to get the vacuum out for just that floor. So I should vacuum the other two rooms as well. And while I have the vacuum out, why don't I hit the front room carpets and couch as well? You see how one small task becomes overwhelming very quickly don't you? I've had a really hard time with dishes. I used to think "if I can't get them all done, what's the point?" Of course, you can never get ALL the dishes done, unless you stop eating, but you know what I mean. I've had to retrain myself to make the "all" in "all the dishes" equal one full dish drainer. Then I can stop and go do something else while they dry. This makes it a lot more manageable, but I still struggle with getting overwhelmed just thinking about all the dishes. Maybe someday I will get it all worked out. Those women who always have clean (at least to appearances) homes and children are an inspiration to me. (Shannon- that's you.)

Of course, half the problem in my house is pet hair. I suppose if I was willing to live without pets my home would be a lot easier to clean. That's just not a sacrifice I am willing to make. Our next mutt will definitely be short hair, and smaller than Tanner. That's for dang sure. But a life without a dog is just not that great for me.


Shannon said...

I get overwhelmed with cleaning tasks all the time. Some people have one cleaning day where they do the whole house, or as much as they can. I just can't quite get motivated for a whole day of cleaning, so I clean a little bit every day. Yesterday I vacuumed the whole house, today I swept and mopped the kitchen floor, tomorrow I will do laundry and try to clean the bathrooms. That way I don't feel like I spend my whole day cleaning. Some days I do nothing. Oh well. We all survive. You just need to find the system/schedule that works for you. My other big thing is tidying. My house is not always clean, but everything (almost) has a bin or a spot, so I tidy a couple times a day. That just makes me feel better. Every once in awhile I get fed up with the whole cyclic deal and just don't clean for a week. Really, truly it is not the end of the world. Good luck!
PS-If/when we get a dog, I'm sure I will stress more about the cleaning.

MomKAS said...

I have been told by more than one someone I highly respected that being unable to accomplish just one task without piling many others on, as you describe, is the sign of a very intelligent mind that is capable of thinking in multiple levels of multi-tasking aspects. It doesn't help get the house clean, but you should consider it a compliment.

Then again, perhaps we are just not as capable of fast organization like your oldest sister seems to be. :-)

Anonymous said...

i'm available for hire or help so to speak any time :) you should also check out crockpot lady's organization website.

Becca said...

Ok, who's the wise guy being anonymous?

MomKAS said...

That anonymous commenter is your older sister. :-)

Seriously, Shannon's right - when I was young, Grandma J used to have a specific weekly routine and, for that brief time in my life I could be a stay-at-home mom, I developed one too. (Monday was dusting day, Tuesday was vacuuming, Wednesday was laundry, etc.) If you develop a schedule for the big things, but tidy up every day, it's not so daunting.