Then, well...the season changes and nobody wants to follow a schedule, we eat on paper plates and hope someone will remember to take out the trash, everything gets piled up, we pick up that shirt from the dirty clothes hamper and hope maybe it's not really dirty (does this smell?), and we pray that no one stops by unexpectedly because then we'd have to offer all the excuses as to why our house isn't clean. "I promise it was clean yesterday!"
Have you been there? I'd like to give you a glimpse into our past several weeks and offer some ideas for getting back on track during those seasons when you can't find your house for the mess.
We just recently remodeled our only bathroom (it was huge) in order to add a second one for our growing family. We stayed in my parents home for four weeks while my husband, with the help of friends, did all the remodeling each evening after work. The weekend we were trying to move back into our house, the girls and I came down with a virus that knocked us off our feet for about a week. I was so sick that I could hardly care for myself much less anyone or anything else. Somehow we managed to survive and come through it, but my house was a disaster. There were piles of stuff everywhere. Not only was the kitchen, laundry, and basic house cleaning needing attention, the clutter was magnified from the chaos surrounding the remodel.
Enter the solution. In just half a day, we managed to get our house back into a somewhat manageable order. We took one room at a time. I allowed a certain number of minutes for us to straighten that room, and I set a timer. If we finished straightening that room before the alarm sounded, we rewarded ourselves. The rewards consisted of a small snack or a stroll around the yard. When we finished the whole house, we loaded up items to donate and then ate lunch out. The kids had the rest of the afternoon to play.
Here's why I think this system worked so well:
- We transformed an overwhelming job into several small, manageable steps.
- We turned work into a fun game by trying to beat the clock.
- We had small celebrations often which helped to cheer us on.
- We worked together, so I could keep the kids focused and on track.
- We saw progress quickly.
I was one happy mama when I could see my house again. Hopefully we are coming out of the chaotic season and back into one that is a little calmer. I will definitely remember this method the next time I need to bring some major order back into the house though.
How about you? Do you have some tricks that you could share for regaining order in your home and overcoming the mess?