Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Time Has Come

I have a confession to make. And if you know me really well, you already know that this statement is true.
I am a terrible housekeeper.
There. I said it. The first step towards improvement has been made. I admit that I have a problem.
After these past three months of feeling like crap and barely getting the bare essentials done, I'm ready to jump head first into turning this house inside out and getting it cleaned and organized. It needs it SO bad. I need it. Mike needs it. The kids need it. It's gotta get done.
For Christmas, I ordered my SIL a book on organization. Just the title of the book really called out to me. Houseworks: Cut the Clutter, Speed Your Cleaning and Calm the Chaos. Good one, huh? After she opened it on Christmas, I looked through it and at every page I turned to I said out loud, "I need to read about this." or
"This sounds just like my house." or
"Wow, what a great idea."
So, when we got home from all our Christmas traveling, I ordered a copy for myself. I know that just having the book is not going to chance the way I clean. But I figured if I have a tool to teach me what I'm doing wrong and how to do a my job more efficiently, then maybe I have a chance. I couldn't wait for the book to get here though. I needed to start NOW. So I'm venturing a little on my own.
The most obvious problem in my house right now, the thing that always stresses me out, always needs to be done, is never ending, is always on my mind and is everywhere I look: Laundry. Right when I needed to change the kids summer clothes to winter, I also needed to change my "skinny" clothes to maternity clothes. I never got to the changing of my clothes. So when it came time for me to wear maternity clothes, I'd look through the bags, find something to wear and wear it. But then when it was washed and time to put it away, I had no where to put it. So I slowly started bagging my "skinny" clothes and replacing the space with maternity clothes. But this process got lost somewhere along the way and now I just have a mixture of both all over my floor, spilling out of my dresser and a couple trash bags in my room as well. Mike just loves it. Kids trip over clothes trying to get into our bedroom bathroom where they brush their teeth. It's driving me crazy! I can't wait to get this organized. BUT FIRST, I figured I should finish organizing the kids clothes. No, I didn't get that done either. And yes, I pretty much used the same tactic as I did with my clothes, taking out winter clothes as needed and now with double clothes everywhere. On top of all that, I have fallen way behind on laundry. Ya'know how I mentioned that I was barely keeping up with the bare essentials? Well, we've been living out of laundry baskets. Need clean clothes? Go check the clean clothes baskets in the basement. Need socks? Check the sock basket and try to find a matching pair. Is this basket clean or dirty clothes? I don't know. Give it a whiff. Yes, this is the harsh reality of how my family was forced to live. There were times when I'd get some clothes folded and put away. That is, if the clothes even got washed. Most of the time, Mike was the one throwing clothes in the wash because he knew if he didn't do it himself they wouldn't get done. We hit rock bottom when there were no clean towels and we all used sheets to dry off after our showers and baths. That's how my brain works. I get overwhelmed and I start to ignore things. They don't exist anymore. It's the only way I keep my sanity. Until you start drying off with sheets and you can't ignore it anymore and then you becoming even more overwhelmed than before. Not a good way of doing things. So, eventually, I started doing more laundry. Mainly only the baskets in my bedroom and the bathroom were the ones getting washed. The baskets on the kids rooms continued to get ignored. The boys would run out of clothes so I'd do a quick load. But Little Miss Chatterbox never. ran. out. of. clothes. The realization of this finally hit me yesterday when some of her clothes had been washed from the bathroom basket and I went to put them away. I had to shove them in her drawer and push it closed with all my might. It was full to the brim. Then I looked next to her dresser and saw two overflowing laundry baskets full of dirty clothes. By overflowing I mean two huge mountains where you wonder if there's even a basket under them at all. I needed to go through her clothes. I'd tried before. I would start going through them and think, "Well, she doesn't really wear this but it's so cute and she might wear it at so and so time. I better keep it." or
"I know she hates turtle necks but this one is all sparkly and pretty and I know she'd love it. Chatterbox, isn't this pretty?"
"No, mom. I don't like turtlenecks. Give it away."
"You might change your mind. I'll keep it just in case."
You can imagine how small the give away pile would be when I was finished. This time I decided to try something else. I'm almost done washing those two mountains of dirty clothes. While I'm waiting for them to be all clean, I completely emptied her dresser. All of her clothes are sitting in the living room, sorted into piles. We've got skirts, tops, sweaters, pants, jeans, jumpers, Church dresses and jammies. After ALL the clothes are sorted I'm going to only keep what she NEEDS. Seeing it all laid out in front of me really made me realize how ridiculous the amount of clothes she has really is. And they're not even all there yet!

Okay, I started this post on December 30th. Now, it is January 3rd and I thought I'd share with you what I found among Little Miss Chatterbox's clothes:
7 pairs of Jeans
3 pairs of Jean Capris
17 pairs of pants that were not jeans
12 Skirts
13 Casual Dresses/Jumpers
31 Shirts/Tops
12 Sweaters
10 Jammies
8 Church Dresses
Do these numbers shock you? Because they certainly shocked me! I couldn't believe that she had this many clothes and it became no surprise why I didn't need to wash her clothes as often as the rest of us. I got rid of ALOT. And it felt good. I wish I personally knew a family who could use these clothes. I hate just donated them to Goodwill. If only there were a St. Vincent de Paul society around here.
Then I went through my clothes. I bagged my "skinny" clothes, and was able to stuff them under my bed. Then I sorted through my maternity clothes and kept the "XL" in the bags for the third trimester and found room for them in my closet. Now there are no more clothes on my floor! I also got rid of some of the maternity clothes that go in and out of storage but I never wear.
Next, I need to figure out where to keep all of Little Miss Chatterbox's clothes that she has grown out of which I keep because I'm still hoping that one day there will be another baby girl Shaffer. If I find out that this baby is a boy, I will be tempted to just give them away. But I've already been hanging on to them for 6 years... but each year adds more clothes. Maybe I'll just keep the cute little baby clothes and give away her big girl clothes. I don't know. What do you think? I mean, you can get clothes pretty cheap nowadays. And there are a few little girl cousins in Mike's family who we could possibly get hand me downs from. Maybe I should try to find girls in the family to give my girl clothes to. It would free up a lot of space in my house if I got rid of these clothes. I should probably just bite the bullet. But I'll wait until I find out if this baby is a girl or a boy.
Well, I'm still waiting for my book to come in. Until then, I'm going to clean up from the past long weekend which made the house a bit of a mess. And then who knows what I'll be inspired to do next. Oh, i even cleaned out the linens closet! It's nice and organized and more things were tossed in the "give away" pile. Oh, yeah. I still need to actually give away the "give away" pile. Do any of you get bit by the organizer bug after the start of the new year?

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jo. I laughed out loud at 'Give it a whiff'. hahahaha. I am proud of you for admitting your weakness. ;) I think procrastination is one of the hardest habits to break and it is SO easy to just block out what we don't want to see. I hope your book helps you get organized and feel better about things. You are off to an amazing start. I think this is a common thing to do in the new year. Out with the old! I also think your idea of keeping the clothes til you know the sex of the baby is a good idea. But if it IS a boy then you definitely have to let them go. I bet we could talk for hours and swap house-cleaning tips. I'm such a..nerd?? Virgo?? that this would actually be fun. lol Love you!