Is housework the bane of your life? Do you feel like no matter how much time you spend on getting your home organised, there will always be more to do? It’s like a treadmill you can’t jump off of. Housework is still a dragon I’m struggling to tame, but here’s what’s working for me right now.
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Is your house a twilight zone where the stuff multiplies faster than you can throw it out? Me too!
There are a lot of us living here, but it’s a big house, plenty big enough for the seven of us, if only I could get a handle on all the STUFF!
I’m fighting to remind myself that this is not how things are, this isn’t the normal state of my home. My youngest is almost four, and it’s taken this long for the pregnancy fog to lift a little. I’ve been looking around in despair at the ever-growing piles of clutter, the unvacuumed floors, the overflowing laundry baskets, and willing myself to do something about it.
It’s fair to say that tidiness is not in my genes, or my husband’s. The children have no hope of developing a natural dislike for clutter, or a burning desire to scrub skirting boards and sort paperwork. It needs doing though, especially in a house where we actively live so much of the time – home educating generates more than a little of the clutter around here (and my various crafty efforts probably account for most of the rest of it).
It’s Not That I Haven’t Tried…
I’ve tried so many different ways of managing our home over the years. There was a brief period where I did all the laundry from start to finish in one day each week. I can’t remember why I thought that was a good idea – FYI it’s really not.
I’ve tried lists and apps aplenty. Everything works for a while. I start out with enthusiasm, I do everything, every day, and it works. The house gets clean. The house stays clean.
It works for as long as I can keep up the standards I’ve set for myself. Invariably, though, everything falls apart after a while. It might be a week, it might last months, but it always falls apart.
Now I’m trying for something different.
I’m after sustainable success.
I want a house that is easy to keep tidy.
I want to be able to invite people over without spending a week working like crazy to make things vaguely presentable.
One big goal is for my children to be able to have friends over without feeling like I want to curl up and die at the thought of them going home and telling their parents what our home looks like.
Really, I just want a home where I can relax and feel comfortable.
Reducing The Stuff!
At the start of this year, I started a massive decluttering effort. In January stuff was leaving our house day after day, mountains and mountains of crap. It’s slowed somewhat now, but I’m still working on it. Room by room, fifteen minute here and there, the volume of stuff in our home is reducing.
Gradually I’m feeling the benefits.
I’m able to open and close all my kitchen cabinets now without things overflowing, and I don’t have to play Tetris to get everything back in again. I know where things are, and I can get at them easily. This stuff works!
We’re gradually eating our way through the random food in the cupboards. I’m working on getting the corner carousel cupboard completely empty so that I can start afresh with a more organised store cupboard.
Today I wanted to share with you my favourite housework system of the moment. It’s been a couple of months now, and I am still very much in love with this way of doing things. We’ve been here before, with Flylady, but this feels different. This feels easy.
It feels ‘always easy’ rather than just ‘easy when everything’s going well & I’m feeling good about stuff’.
If you’re really struggling with keeping the basics in order, especially if depression and anxiety are issues as well, you might want to take a look at my post on depression and cleaning.
The Organised Mum Method.
I first saw The Organised Mum Method mentioned in a home ed support group on Facebook, a few months ago. Periodically people posts threads in these groups that go along the lines of, ‘How does anyone ever get their house even a little bit clean when they’re home educating?’ Invariably these threads spawn lengthy lists of replies that range from, ‘My house is always immaculate, you just need to try harder,’ to, ‘I never do any housework, life’s too short, you just need to be more relaxed.’ I would be happy if I fell happily into either of those camps. I don’t though.
I definitely function better with a basic level of tidiness and order in my home, but I’m very aware that it doesn’t come naturally to me.
Everyone I know that has a clean and tidy home, just seems to do it. Everyone just seems to know what to do, how to do it, and when. It’s like some kind of secret society where I don’t qualify for membership.
This housework plan has changed that for me.
It makes sense, it’s easy to follow, and it’s getting fast results in my house. I’ve even been able to give my husband a list and leave him to get on with it on Saturdays while I’m working. That’s never happened before.
How Does It Work?
In a nutshell, I’m spending up to an hour a day on housework.
Gem suggests half an hour. We’re a large family in a big house, and we don’t own a tumble drier. Those things make a big difference to how much time I need to spend to keep things the way I like them.
The Organised Mum Method has different levels of jobs.
- Level 1 Jobs – you do these every day.
- Level 2 Jobs – a different focus each day from Monday to Thursday.
- Level 3 Jobs – a different focus each Friday, rotating for eight weeks.
How Long Does it Really Take To Tackle The Housework?
For me, the Level 1 Jobs take up to half an hour. It depends very much on how much laundry there is, and whether I’m able to hang it outside.
Then I spend half an hour on the Level 2 or 3 Jobs.
I’m digging out from under a clutter mountain. For my first month following the method, I used the Level 2/3 time to declutter. Now I mix it up and do a bit of cleaning and a bit of decluttering. Some rooms are almost clutter free now, and I can get through the full Level 2 list easily in half an hour. If I don’t do everything, I don’t stress about it. My goal is to for things to be better than they were yesterday, and that’s very achievable. I know that all those tasks will come around again soon enough.
There’s a One-Week Boot Camp on the site, to help you out when you’ve lost control of the housework, and that would be a great place to start. I didn’t start there because I came across TOMM (The Organised Mum Method) in the midst of a really busy time, and I just wanted to start NOW.
I bet at least some of you find it challenging to keep on top of housework. I bet you’ve bought at least a few books on the subject, or been lured into clicking a Pinterest link to a blog post promising an immaculate home if you’ll just…
This isn’t like that.
How do you keep on top of your housework?