Thursday, September 29, 2011

Routines

Anyone who knows me could tell you that cleaning, organizing, and routines don't come naturally to me.  No, that is an understatement.  It's like I have "anti-organization" as the very basis of my DNA.  I don't know why (Mom, I'm not blaming you.  You really did try.), it wasn't inherited from my parents.  But just because these things are not easy for me does not mean that they won't make my life easier. 



I have had little spurts of keeping up with a routine to keep things in order and when I did, things were great.  It's amazing to think about really, but those times when the house was in order happen to be the same times when my life felt "in order".   Maybe, I'm looking at it backwards though.  Maybe it was easier for me to keep the house in order when my life was in order.  Maybe the chaos of life made chaos in the house creep up easily.  Or maybe the other way around.  Hmmmm, is this what they would call a paradox?  Maybe the only real cause of my messiness (in the house and in life) is that I just don't do what needs to be done.  That logic I can deal with.  That, I can do something about.

The first routine that I am working on revolves around meal times.  I learned this idea of "anchoring" from a blog I follow.  Anchoring is just attaching things that are important to times of day that happen automatically everyday.  My first anchor is one for keeping the kitchen area clean.  After each meal I do a few simple things to keep the place clean and make the rest of the day run smoother.  --- A little side note:  This may seem very elementary and "duh" to most people but like I said, I have "anti-organization" at my core and these little things do not come naturally to me.  There are others like me out there and I have learned from reading what they have done that no matter how small something seems, if it is difficult for you then work on it intentionally.  One small step at a time. --- So, after each meal (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner) I make sure the kids clear the table of dishes and put them in the sink full of soapy water.  Then I wipe down the dining room table and chairs.  Next I clear the counters of anything left out and wipe them clean.  Then sweep the floor in the kitchen and dining room.  And last I spot wipe any spills or anywhere that needs it.  I make sure not to go overboard and decide that I need to scrub the entire floor and baseboards.  I leave all the dishes until after dinner when I wash them and "close" the kitchen for the night.  This cleaning up takes me about 10 minutes (minus washing dishes which takes me about 30 min.) but makes me feel great during the day when I can walk through this area and not step on crunchy stuff or have my flip flop get stuck to the floor and come off my foot while I'm walking (yes, has actually happened to me, lol)


I have been working on this small routine for about a week and have done very well.  I am always so tired after I get the kids to bed and used to use that as an excuse to not clean up the kitchen at night.  I would leave it for the morning which started my day off terribly.  I would have the kids whining that they where hungry but would make them wait another 30 minutes before I could even start making breakfast because I needed to clean up the mess from the night before first.  This is a very bad way to start the day.  Now, I make sure the kitchen is cleaned BEFORE I put them to bed.  No exceptions.  Last night they went to bed almost an hour later than their bedtime because of this.  Brian and I were playing with the kids after dinner.  We were all having fun dancing and listening to music on YouTube so I sort of forgot about the time. (Okay, really I didn't forget about the time, I was just exhausted and didn't feel like cleaning.  I just wanted to play)  But I cleaned the kitchen before I put them to bed.  This one little rule has helped so much. 

Next routine to work on?  Probably laundry.  Laundry is my Nemesis.  But I'll give myself a little longer with this one first.  I would rather have one thing that I do really well and feel proud of than try to do too much, get frustrated at failing, and give up.