Housework Tips for Messies

tired housewife sweeping floor vintageHere are a few small things I’ve heard over years that were a huge help to me- when I actually used them, that is:

The Messies manual advice that you start in one corner and work your way around the room, don’t run off to do ten other things.  Quit when you need to quit, and when you come back to that room, pick up where you left off. Some advise instead that you begin with the biggest thing/mess in the room, but this would be so counterproductive for me. I would totally fail at this method. In fact, I know this because I have tried it. It feeds my hither, thither, and yon, caffeinated squirrel with the attention span of a lobotomized butterfly attention span and I never get any forrader.  In fact, I make the room ten times messier if I try any other logistical attack than the start in one corner and work around the room method.

Don’t put it down, put it away.

No flat surfaces near the entry points of rooms.  For once, I am not the worst offender here, and I won’t say who is, but since it isn’t a child, I find my house easier to keep tidy if there are no flat surfaces to put things on near any room entrances.  I can’t do away with all of them in my house, because we have a few that are built in, but I have found that I have less cleaning to do if the flat surfaces near entry points are covered in annoying knick knacks.

Proximity- Splurge and get a toilet brush and separate cleaners for each bathroom and the kitchen. If you have to hunt down the cleaning supplies, you’re less like to use them regularly. Put a broom and dust-pan on each floor. Put the iron and ironing board where you are most likely to use them (in my case, this is in my bathroom, NOT my laundry room).

Prevention- put contact paper on the wall behind the trash-can. Choose a smaller laundry basket so you cannot let laundry build up to much. Put the oil bottles in your kitchen cabinets on plastic lids. Don’t own things that have to be dusted with q-tips.

The one piece of advice the Fly Lady has that did work for me is the reminder that housework done imperfectly still blesses your family. Messies tend to be perfectionists and find it paralyzing to clean imperfectly. ( I have also been known to have my kids pin a sheet up in the laundry room to hide the clean washer, dryer, and shelf of tidy cleaning supplies from guests who were filing in a line that went through the laundry room and into the kitchen. My husband told me I was nuts- did I want them to think we don’t do laundry here? No. I didn’t want them to think about laundry _at all_. )
Set the timer and work for fifteen minutes. You can do anything for 15 minutes.
It’s okay to watch a movie while folding laundry.
Learn what works for you and don’t let others tell you this is wrong, and don’t let others- no matter how clean they are- bully you into doing things their way if their way doesn’t work for you (the Fly lady and shoes, for instance, is a huge fail for me as I would rather that NOBODY wore shoes in our house)-

For me- when the stuff gets overwhelming- I find it a huge help to clear everything off my desk and stuff it in a box and then look at and put away one thing at a time. However, my oldest cannot function that way, it drives her nuts. I don’t understand that at all.  But she should not try to clean my way, and I shouldn’t try hers.
It’s okay to throw out unmatched socks- it’s not only okay, it’s imperative. Do this at least once a year, probably more is better.
The crockpot is your friend, ally, and faithful servant.
Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good enough.

What has worked for you?

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6 Comments

  1. Posted March 29, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    when I actually use them, that is a very true point.

  2. Posted March 29, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I try to do the first point about sticking with the job. Another I try to do is to make keep the entry room of the house tidy. It is rarely perfectly so, but at least you are not greeted by a huge mess most of the time. I appreciated your reminder that we should not insist that our way of doing things is the only way. We people give each other too much grief over things like that.

  3. Posted March 30, 2013 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Essentially the only time I listen to music is when I tidy my bedroom. (As I am a university student, that’s all I have!) I find an album, and then the rule is that I can’t do anything but tidy until the album is over!

  4. Terri Boykin
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I desperley need house cleaning tips to get my house in order

  5. Posted March 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    The easier it is to put things away, the more likely it is that they will get put away. We applied that in our bathroom and it made a huge difference.

    If the sink stays empty, the kitchen will stay cleaner. I got tired of having to remove all the dirty dishes etc. from the sink in order to put a pan in the sink and wash the dishes (no dishwasher here). But I didn’t have room under my sink to put the pan if we put the dirty dishes in the pan. So I set the empty dishpan on the counter beside the double sink and people actually rinse the dishes and put them in the pan during the day. With the sink empty and clean, fixing dinner is much easier. And then I can put the pan in the sink and finish all the dishes after supper and put the empty pan on the counter again. I thought having the pan on the counter would bother me, but it doesn’t and the empty sinks stay empty most of the time this way.

    I keep all the empty hangers in the laundry room and I have a rod in there so I can hang things to dry or hang them straight from the dryer. The closets stay neater and the clothes get put away and there are always hangers to put the freshly washed or dried clothes on.

    I like the idea of working around room. I’m gonna try that :-)

    Ruth

  6. Hadley
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks! These are great tips for me (a messy for sure!).

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