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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coming full circle

When I was a kid, I used to babysit for a family who lived down the street. This family's house was always a mess. Dirty dishes, laundry piled up. Once I found cut up hot dog on the floor by the fireplace.

I remember being disgusted and thinking "I can't believe they live like this! How gross!"

This morning, as I was looking for a single black sandal, I looked behind the couch in the family room. No cut up hot dogs, but a bunch of ants were feasting on a breakfast of graham crackers, empty juice boxes and an old Gogurt wrapper.

Looking around at the dishes waiting to be done in the kitchen, the mountains of laundry in varying stages of cleanliness and the dirty ring in the bathroom sink, I thought to myself, "Oh my gosh! We are THAT family!" And I tried to figure out how that happened.

Working full-time doesn't leave me with lots of time to clean. Though, my house was never spotless when I was a stay-at-home mom either.

It pretty much comes down to laziness. I get home from work and I'm tired and just want to park it on the couch. I don't want to do laundry, dishes, clean the bathroom. That laziness then transfers to the kids who don't see Mom (I won't speak for Dad, but...) doing much of anything besides sitting behind the laptop and in front of the TV.

We got a postcard in the mail last week from a realtor who has a buyer looking for a 4-bedroom house with a basement on a cul de sac in our neighborhood. I'm so intrigued by the opportunity, but the condition of my house leaves me paralyzed. I think if we were ever to try to sell this house, we would need to move out and sell it empty.

My inability to permanently declutter my house falls right in line with my inability to make other lasting changes, like weight loss. How do you summon the drive to make changes in your life? I'm beginning to think my transformation will have to come about as an unplugged effort -- a week or so of no TV, video games or computer.

That thought scares the hot dogs out of me.


Momza said...

lol "scares the hot dogs out of me"--too funny!
Best tip for keeping house:
1) Toss stuff out like junk mail the moment you get it.
2) Don't buy more clothing than you need or want to take care of, no matter how cute it is or if it's on sale.
3) Set a time for allot yourself 20 minutes for your bathroom, 10 minutes for the livingroom, etc. You'd be amazed at how much you can get done in 10 focused minutes a day.
Do the same for your a time limit helps keep them motivated. Use the timer on the stove too...they love that "DING!" when it's over with.

Thanks for the laugh!

varangianguard said...

Man, I hope somebody has the motivational solution for you (and me).

The plugged in thing is just a symptom. Going cold turkey won't fix the underlying problem. Unplugging might make it worse, actually.

I sit and stare at the piles of clutter in my home office and have made a path from the door to the desk. I want to clear it all up, but just don't seem to be motivated at the right times.

The thing is, if I did clean it all up, I would be much happier, yet I don't. Hmm.

Melissa said...

If you haven't already tried give it a shot. The force behind that webiste, Marla Cilley, has a great book called Body Clutter. She has a knack for cutting through to the core of the issue.

She actually started her system based on the book, Sidetracked Home Executives, by Pam Young and Peggy Jones. I think you would really enjoy their book, given the way you write with humor. Their book is laugh out loud funny and gives some good tips along the way. They also have a website,

Now that I've given you enough material to stay busy (not getting the dishes done), I hope some of it is helpful.

Annie said...

I agree 100% with Melissa, above, that Flylady is the way to go!! I'm a messy person at heart, but my house doesn't reflect that (well, maybe a little here and there ,but nothing like it used to be!). Check it out!!

Joanne said...

I only wish you could use my solution. I have cleaners come every other week. What that does is forces me to keep the house neat and tidy - yes I am that silly bitch that cleans up for her cleaners. Actually I pick up the crap because I don't want to pay them to pick up I pay them to do the deep yucky cleaning.

Its a never ending battle and I understand - its also easy for us because its just two adults. When I was taking care of the grandpuppy the other week she added to the mess.

Hang in there and remember only boring women have immaculate homes.

Amy said...

Thanks everyone for not ridiculing me for my messy ways. I have done FlyLady b4 when I was a SAHM. Guess I should get to shining my sink.

And we did have a cleaning lady coming every week. When Mike's business slowed, we cut her to every other week. Then this summer, funds have been so tight that we "loaned" her to another family for the summer. She's set to come back to us soon. Of course, she'll probably only be here once -- because she'll have a stroke when she sees the place!

Things always look so much better when Jane has been here. But we really have to cut down the clutter. She can kind of work around it, but its the stacks/piles that we have to deal with.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

I'm SOOOOOOOO right there with you. As soon as the kids go back to school my house WILL change. Dangit. LOL

Nate's Mom said...

OMG! We are SO "that family" too! I'm afraid to look behind my couch, lol. Life is just to busy for a clean house. Enjoy life; enjoy your kids. The mess will be there later, lol. If you find a solution (that doesn't require major effort/time/money for a maid service) please share!

Have a great weekend.
Sheri in CA

MaSnowCA said...

When you find the solution can you please let me in on it? This senario seems all too familiar!

Amy said...

Boy -- this post resonated w/lots of folks. 8 comments here and probably an equal amount on Facebook. Sign of the times, perhaps? Who do we talk to about hitting the "pause" button in our world?