Constantly "catching up" with housework -- and never succeeding! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 11-26-2011, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I'm finally admitting my housecleaning please....dishes.gif


I would like to do things like sort through my clothes and organize my closet, organize family photos, rearrange furniture, etc. but I constantly feel like I am catching up with housework that is so basic - like things lying on the floor, dishes in the sink - and then it's time to go somewhere or make breakfast or clean up the mess my toddler was making while I was cleaning the other mess. It's like I'm on defense and never get to play offense. I can only think of two ways to get out of this vicious cycle:


1) Have a whole day to myself in the house (no husband or kids) and catch up.

2) Have a better routine where housework is built in so things don't pile up as much.


Do those work? How can I get started?


Please advise, sympathize, commiserate, etc.



Mothering my sweet preschool boy luxlove.gif and my new arrival bfinfant.gif

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#2 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 12:44 AM
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I think try to focus on number 2 - making a workable routine for yourself & your partner in housekeeping.


I often start w/ lists

    - what needs doing

     - who can do it

    - when they can do it?


Then the biggeer projects can come in later.

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#3 of 10 Old 11-27-2011, 08:38 PM
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I can commiserate! I am making progress, though. I kept trying and struggling with routines. Routines are hard for me when I am behind. I realized for me, I need deadlines. I have to invite people over to give myself a deadline. I also had to get rid of stuff. I'm still working on it. I also have to take at least one or 2 days per week to declutter and work on reorganizing a room. find that having one perfectly organized room energizes me. I had been putting it off and putting it off, thinking I needed to just do laundry dishes, disinfect counters, etc., but one day, I decided to do a top to bottom in my family room where we spend most of our day. The girls had a ton of toys in there. I took a box and removed anything we weren't using/loving cleared each decorative shelf and added back what I love. I dusted top to bottom, vacuumed, etc. This really got the ball rolling. So I did the same for my living room and then the dining room over the course of a couple of weeks. Then there was still a bit of clutter building up, but I hosted Thanksgiving dinner, and so it forced me to clean and get everything mostly in order. I'm in the middle of painting my kitchen cabinets. I find new toss pillows or a paint job will motivate me to make the house look pretty. So our house was in order for Thanksgiving.Then we put our tree up. I made sure this time not to stop until the boxes and such were back in the basement. This morning, again, I was torn... maintain what I have done downstairs or tackle the girls rooms or the play room. It's amazing how quickly the kids can fill an empty surface! I decided to straighten up down stairs because I seem to have the most energy for it first thing in the am. I ended up getting things in enough order that I was able to work upstairs during my 26 MO's nap. I have one area in every bedroom to work on, mostly the tops of dressers and a few boxes in my room. It feels awesome to actually be able to see the progress! But my LO is finally sleeping better and at the point where we don't need to gate off certain rooms all day (just part of the day).

So my recommendation is to see how much stuff you can get out of your house. I also started making better use of my basement. We are fortunate to have a very dry basement, but it isn't finished. I started storing toys down there and rotating them.

Mom to: Honey (6/04) and Bunny (9/09)
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#4 of 10 Old 11-28-2011, 06:01 AM
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I can commiserate, too...


The clutter in my house is at a maintainable level, and our furniture/dishes/linens are pretty minimal. And as long as I'm home on a regular basis, things move pretty smoothly. But, I have five kids and am always on call. So if I go to a birth, I could literally be gone/sleeping for a day or two, and come home/wake up to a disaster! As soon as I get things back together or are least mildly caught up, I get another call, and it starts all over again. And I don't want to spend all of my time not working cleaning up! Even with minimal things and no clutter, it still takes me about three full days to get the house back to zero, because I need to do kids/meals/drop offs and pick ups/homework/etc. in between catching up on laundry, cooking ahead, etc. And its amazing how much MORE time it takes to clean when things stack up, instead of sweeping/mopping, dealing with mail/paperwork, bathrooms, etc. for a few minutes each day! I've tried lists of things that need to be done when I'm gone, I've tried everyone doing a specific chore when I'm not here, but they all have stuff happening, and while it helps, its not really DONE.


Rant over.


I hope you find something that works! If you do, let me know, ok? :)

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#5 of 10 Old 11-28-2011, 08:52 AM
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I struggle with the same issues... The daily dirt is such that I almost never get time to do something "extra" untill it's so needed we have to, for example I had to organize DS's dresser this week as I just couldn't find anything anymore! I am trying to do 1 big or 2-3 small or medium things when dh is available on the weekend Or evening, Especially during his class break right now. Last night, even though the sink was full and counters messy, I organized my fabric, folded, color, material and size stored. This will make me feel A. Motivated to keep it up B. Make projects quicker, C. Inspired to create! Today while DS had a snack I was able to do dishes and while he naps I will clean counters while I make lunch for me. I do take at least part of nap as personal time to do projects or nap or watch tv or something for me. I find this makes me FAR more productive overall.

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#6 of 10 Old 11-30-2011, 06:01 AM
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This is exactly how I feel. I have to be honest, I have moved to a place of acceptance and resigned myself to the fact that my home is probably not going to fit that "picture" I have in my mind. That simple, neat, uncluttered picture that is so visually restful. I have five children, an average sized home with very little storage space and an odd layout. When I see the clutter that I have come to accept, I remind myself it is evidence that I have a family, and that we actually live and play here. I have the desire to "get things done", like projects that you mentioned, but it's not realistic for me.

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#7 of 10 Old 11-30-2011, 04:32 PM
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I've tried to develop the habit of decluttering without sorting or reorganizing, so that I can do the decluttering in small moments. And my view is that decluttering is the key to many other things--IMO, all household tasks are easier when there's plenty of empty space. I would argue that for most people, the key to that better routine is ruthless decluttering.
As an example of quick decluttering: Rather than going to the linen closet or towel shelf, taking everything out, folding it, counting it, and so on, instead go there and stare at it, challenging yourself to find five items or ten items that can go, _without_ tearing it all up and reorganizing it. 
You may feel that you can't decide what can go without knowing exactly how many of everything you have, but is that true? If you're pretty sure that you have forty washcloths, for example, and you only need about ten, then you can start picking out and disposing of the ones that you see in there that are a little worn or a little stained or otherwise less desirable. If you get confused about what's in the wash, get yourself down to eight, and have to buy two... no big deal, I'd say.
The same can be done for a lot of other storage areas. When you walk by the bookshelf, once in a while stop and try to pick out a few books you can get rid of. When you're getting out ingredients for dinner, find one can or box of food to get rid of out of the pantry and one utensil to get rid of out of that drawer.
In general, the idea is to maintain a constant "what can I get rid of?" mindset, even when you haven't actively taken a chunk of time for decluttering.
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#8 of 10 Old 11-30-2011, 06:13 PM
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i like that decluttering idea crayfish.  the other thing i do is make a list--every time i think i need something, i write it down.  often i find a way to meet the need without buying more stuff.  also it helps me plan so i use less gas and make fewer trips to stores.  overall, i buy less this way.

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#9 of 10 Old 12-01-2011, 12:48 PM
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Crayfish, do you declutter as a living ?


every time I read your posts, I think "yes", "what a good idea!" ... "of course"....

but for me it's still more or less like taking baby steps in a foreign language


I very much like the concept of theconstant "what can I get rid of ?" mindset


you explain it so well (... to people who struggle with it like me ...)

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#10 of 10 Old 12-05-2011, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
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These are great ideas....I have found that having a place in the house where the "stuff to donate" goes helps you be a continual declutterer......

Mothering my sweet preschool boy luxlove.gif and my new arrival bfinfant.gif

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