Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Organization Week.

When Shane and I first started dating. I was nearly as type A as they come when it came to the house.. at least when it came to his house. My place was constantly disheveled, but his apartment was SPOTLESS.
When we bought our home together, that stopped.

There's plenty of things I can blame it on, but the gist of it is this: Our schedule got more hectic, and what little cleaning I could do became more and more futile.. the house was older and dustier, and much bigger.. we added two fluffy puppies to the mix (OMG FUR)... we started doing demolition on projects that we couldn't afford to finish.. and we inherited more furniture and stuff than you could ever imagine.

So when I lost my job last summer, I was just used to a messy house, and used to not dong anything about it. I didn't like it, it stressed me out.. but I didn't have clear direction on what to do about it. I was just overwhelmed and seriously unmotivated. I had gotten lazy.

But there's something about the warm spring sunshine that makes me want to declutter and reorganize. So FINALLY - I'm getting on the ball.

In addition to doing my Daily House Projects for Lent, and possibly even moreso BECAUSE of it, I need to work out a schedule for regular maintenance cleaning. Because otherwise I wander aimlessly through the house and give up to watch tv.. or at best, I pick up something in one room and take it to another room and completely forget to go back to the first room. But I need something that is actually manageable. If the list is too much, I'll get overwhelmed and be completely unmotivated. I need a motivating schedule.
The biggest battle in my house is the laundry.
Here's why:
I don't actually fold laundry in my laundry room, I fold it upstairs in the guest room, because that has become the catch-all for laundry that doesn't have a home..
Since Shane and I have different schedules, it keeps me from having to get dressed in the room while he's got to get some sleep before work, or while he's trying to catch up on lost sleep from the shift before. But the problem is that the guest room is otherwise untouched. I NEVER go in there, the dogs aren't allowed in there, the windows don't open, etc etc. This would be great if it were just a guest room... but instead it is a catch all for piles and piles of clean laundry that I don't want to fold, but need to keep the pets from sitting on and covering in fur.
So the solution, I suppose, would be to fold laundry in the actual laundry room on the day it gets done, and then fold and put it away immediately. This makes perfect sense. Why is it so impossible for me?

Well it's at least partly because the laundry room is a mess. So clearly, I need to fix that..
Then also, there's a pile of laundry already upstairs on the guest bed, so it seems silly to fold what's in front of me when there's so much upstairs to do.. so clearly, I need to fix that also.
So the laundry situation is going to be one of my Daily House Projects, and then I'm going to TRY to stop folding laundry upstairs, and see if MAYBE I can stick to it. 
Then I got an idea. Once I've gotten over the initial hurdle of catching up on all of that mess, if I do my maintenance cleaning of the laundry room the day of or the day before I plan on doing maintenance laundry, I'll be less inclined to take it upstairs and hide it! That makes sense, right?

So what needs to be done on Laundry Room Maintenance day?
  • change cat litter
  • sweep floor
  • wipe surfaces
That's it?! Why can't I keep up with that on a regular basis? Well it's simple, because I have other things going on, and there's never a "good time" to do this boring stuff.

So then I move on to other rooms...
Assuming I get the Laundry out of there, What needs to be done for Guest Room Maintenance day?
  • nothing.
It's a guest room.. I have no reason to go in there until I'm expecting guests.. except to get clothes out of the closet.
I'm starting to get excited. This is way easier on paper than it's ever been in my head.
So while I'm making lists, I start to make maintenance lists for other rooms in the house:

Kitchen:
  • Clean out Fridge
  • Wipe Countertops
  • Wipe Stovetop
  • Sweep Floors
  • Mop Floors
  • Straighten tupperware avalanche (yes, this needs to be done on the regular, even though all of my tupperware matches and stacks, it doesn't do so automatically)
  • Empty Trash
Obviously some of those things need to be done more often than others, but I'm just working on lists for now. We'll worry about schedule later.

Living Room
  • Vaccum Floors
  • Empty Trashcan
  • Wash Blankets & Put away
  • Clean up dog toys and bedding
Foyer

  • Throw out junkmail - There's a beautiful marble-top table in our foyer that I haven't seen in MONTHS because it's a catch-all for our mail.. I need a solution for this.
  • Go through bills and mark PAID
  • Sweep
  • Remove Coats and move to hall closet.
  • Empty Trash
Office/Craft Room
  • ??? I don't even know. I guess sweeping would be a good idea in there.. if I could get to the floor, but this room is a project in and of itself. I'm gonna leave this blank because clearly I need to do an overhaul before I can focus on daily maintenance. There's furniture in there that needs to be removed (Yard Sale in 3 weeks!!) and then I can rearrange and figure out some sort of shelving or something. I'll figure this out later.
Upstairs Hallway
  • Vaccum - This is a big job because the dogs sleep in the hallway and it's carpeted, so this area holds fur like you would not believe.. It is EXHAUSTING. so I put it off all the time.
Alright. I'm feeling better about this.. so I get moving on the Get-The-Laundry-Room-Under-Control Project.

SO I cleaned up the laundry room. Swept, Vaccumed, and wiped off all of the surfaces. Suddenly, my laundry room looked better than it had in years!
 Look at all those clean, flat surfaces! Imagine how much folding I can do!
That as technically my Lenten House Project for the day, but I decided to get a head start on folding the laundry in the guest room. At first, I was overwhelmed. But I started out just sorting the clothes into piles, and this is what those piles turned into after a hour:

That's right. It took an HOUR to get it just to look like THAT.
I told you it was a lot!
I told you I hated laundry! Granted, I was trying on some old clothes as I went through things, making a pile for the yard sale, and another pile to use for sewing practice whenever that sewing machine gets here... but still - it's a lot.
That's when I realised how much less stressful laundry is when it's sorted. I've never sorted laundry before washing it.. because honestly I'm just in a hurry to get it washed and over with.. and I wash everything in cold water to save energy unless it's something supergross, so it never really mattered before. So I made a mental note to somehow incorporate sorting into my laundry system.

Another thing: There were a couple of pillowcases and sheets in the pile, and so I decided to try out a simple idea that I had seen on Pinterest a couple weeks ago: To store sheets inside the matching pillowcase.
Now, being only recently married I don't have very many matching sets of linens.. and the ones I DO have are being used on the beds. But I do have some that coordinate.. kinda. So I gave it a shot. We'll see if that lasts.

Well that was Thursday.
Friday was FINISH THE LAUNDRY PILES WITHOUT MAKING A NEW PILE day, or FTLPWMANP day.
I started off with a cup of coffee and scrambled eggs. (I really want some cereal. This low carb thing sucks) then I pulled all of my dirty jeans out of the dirty pile in the bedroom. I decided to make a whole load of denims. It takes 20 minutes for my machine to wash a load.. during which time I updated this post, stared longingly into the botom of my coffee mug, and bagged up some trash. Fridays happen much too early in the morning.
So after the 20 minutes was up, It was time to move the laundry to the dryer. It takes a couple hours to dry things... I think. I'm not really sure, I never paid attention.
So I open up the dryer and find a load full of clean, dry, clothes inside.
crap.

My urge was to take the pile upstairs and throw it on the bed with the rest of the clean stuff that needed tackling. BUT I DIDN'T DO IT.
I stood there staring at it for a few seconds. It's a hodepodge of clothes, socks, washcloths, etc. Suddenly I began getting frustrated with the idea of carrying a pile of mismatched socks up the stairs to the pile of mismatched socks already residing in the guest room.. and then making another trip upstairs with a pile of shirts to be hung up.. and i found myself thinking "it's just easier to take this upstairs"

STOP IT, TRACY!

The reason it's easier is because my laundry-doing-stuff is up there. So I'm going to go upstairs, and I'm going to get the mismatched sock basket, and the avilable clothes hangers and I'm going to bring them all BACK DOWNSTAIRS. This is where they're going to belong from now on.
Hooray progress!

So I sorted through the clean stuff, folded everything, put the mismatched socks in the mismatched sock basket, and then stacked things neatly into an empty clothes hamper, and carried it upstairs to put it away, and hunted for more dirty laundry.
I found a whole load worth of delicate sweaters to wash, many of which were line-dry only, and while I was up there I filled up another hamper with tshirts and things of that nature.
carried them back down, washed the delicates, and had the tshirts on stand by. to wash afterwards since the sweaters weren't going in the dryer anyway. THIS IS WORKING OUT PERFECTLY!
Except the guest room is still covered in clean laundry.. which was SUPPOSED to be my focus for the day.
*sigh* I am not excited.
So I decide that maybe if I put away all of the stuff I folded yesterday, The taskwon't seem so daunting, and I can figure out a game plan for the rest afterwards.
I had already started a stack of kitchen/cleaning rags in the laundry room. That seemed like a good place for them, so I brought the ones from upstairs downstairs. Then I found a box to put them in and put it in a perfect place - out of the way, but easy to get to.

I should add that we had a guy here finishing the drywall around the stairs on this particular day.. so going up and down stairs was going to be irritating.. so I'm not sure how far we're gonna get.. but we'll see.

Back upstairs I went to put away some towels, and I hung up a few shirts. Then the drywall guy had a question for me downstairs so I went downstairs to answer it, and while I was there I decided now was a good time to do the dishes.. did I mention how much I hate laundry?
I can think of several reasons not to go back upstairs.
  • I dont have enough hangers (nevermind that I could probably find some very easily if I would look in the closets)
  • I might get stuck up there if the drywall guy is in the way of my coming back down.
  • It's almost 11am.. I'll need to do something for lunch soon...
  • ...?
Ugh. Fine. I'll go back upstairs.
And at that very moment, the buzzer on the dryer buzzed.
Crap.
So I went into the laundry room, pulled the denim load out of the dryer and folded it all. Then I took the non-dryable sweaters and laid them out to dry.. noticing in the process that I need something to facilitate this, because I have no safe drying place. and then I started washing the big load of tshirt things. I took my jeans upstairs, and put them away, and started again with the upstairs stuff

I got a lot done this time:
I put a lot of Shane's clothes on hangers AND PUT THEM AWAY! I put some of my clothes on hangers, but ran out of hangers.. so then
I sorted through the utility shelving (that cheap plastic ugly stuff) and consolidated a lot of that mess, but not enough to actually remove the ugly shelving... yet.
I also found several things for the yard sale, and added to my "things to sew" box.
I also decided that some of the things that I had been storing in this room really just needed to go into the attic.. I NEVER used them. So that means I need some attic-safe storage.
And then I brought the yard-sale stuff downstairs, at which point I began drying the tshirts.
It was now 12clock - yay lunchtime!

Then I got distracted and decided to REPAINT MY STOVE.

Eventually I got the laundry done and put away. The next day I cleaned rearranged, and decluttered the guest room and got it PERFECT - so now I can't mess it up with laundry piles. I removed everything that wasn't going to stay there - with the exception of one large chair that simply wouldn't fit in the space I was using for my yard sale pile.


Then - I left the laundry alone for a few days.. My theory is that I should be able to do laundry once a week, which I decided was going to be Thursday. For the maintenance of two people's laundry, that should be plenty.. I hope. If you're trying to get your life organized - I highly recommend The Oganized Parent.. They've got great products to get you and the family in gear for spring! Keep Your Family Organized. Shop Now

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