To my closest friends, they know that I have my moments. I seem to be super organised, with everything all prepared ahead of time. Unfortunately I'm not always like that. I constantly have plans and ideas for improvement going through my head, but it doesn't always happen, or takes forever for me to get it actioned. I fully admit that I have issues with motivation. I naturally sit on the borderline of depression, as most of us do, and when I'm having a low time I don't want to do anything. I'm just not in the mood, and I don't see the point.
Unfortunately, being disorganised on the outside, i.e. my house being a bombsite, doesn't help my mental organisation. It probably doesn't help yours, either. Not being able to find anything drives me crazy. Everything piled up on the dining table, and around it, makes me feel like everything is starting to close me in. When everything is tidy, I find myself more motivated for having people around to visit, for working on projects that have been in the pipeline, and for celebrating my deities with rituals and card readings. I've now hit the bottom of my low, and I'm ready to climb back up and get myself sorted out again. For me, a tidy home is a happy home. Or, at least it's a happier me...the Imp doesn't care as long as she can get to her cars, books, and drawing materials.
I have a plan, and I have help. I may not agree with a lot of her views or ideas, but I do have to admit that Time Warp Wife has an excellent housekeeping schedule that appeals to my levels of organisation. It breaks down everything into individual and bite-sized segments that make keeping on top of things easier. I'm getting ready to print it myself, but just to warn you, it's six to seven pages. I'm going to stick those pages on the back of the kitchen door, to keep myself motivated, and to double check what needs to be done daily. She also has printable monthly calendars, if that makes any difference to you. One of the things about housework that really puts me off is that it can seem like a huge and overwhelming task, and being a single mum, I'm the only one that can do it. Don't get me wrong, the Imp does have her tasks, but sometimes she can be a right little hindrance with creating a tornado behind what I've already completed. The last time that I hoovered, she had stuff all over the floor within ten minutes. At the moment, until the end of the school term in July, I have three hours while she's in nursery. So, that's about 2 1/2 hours of time at home that I can focus on getting sorted or working on projects.
But TWW breaks it down so it's not overwhelming. Her schedule is just focusing on basic housekeeping, not meal planning and personal care. There are specific tasks to be done every day...make your bed (seriously...this hardly takes any time), do at least one load of laundry, wash the dishes and make sure they're put away before you go to bed, tidy, dejunk, and have a journal.
For me, to make both mine and the Imp's beds takes about five minutes. That's not a big deal. Laundry, well, my biggest problem is that I need to fold and put things away. Laundry is regularly caught up, I'm just really bad about dumping it either in the dining room or my room. Dishes are another problem area for me, so I need to get that in hand. It maybe takes me twenty minutes, so when I view it that way I need to suck it up.
Tidying won't be an issue once I take the time to get it to rights in the first place. That's tied in with my dejunking. Before my parents visiting, I managed to get rid of a lot of things. I had to be quite harsh with myself. When was the last time that I fit in those trousers? Five years ago? Ok, in the lifetime that I'm that size again, they will be extremely out of fashion, so I need to get rid of them. Do I really need that item that I haven't touched in a year or two? Is it something that I really need to keep around? Does a friend have one that I might be able to briefly borrow when I actually do need it? I still have a lot that needs to be dejunked because I'm an admitted packrat. One item that I'm seriously contemplating about, at the moment, is my dining room table. I think I'm the only one of my friends that has one, and it hardly gets used. The only time that it is used is when everybody is around for a proper meal, and that doesn't happen often. I'm thinking about getting rid of the dining table because it takes up so much space and is a target for junk to pile up. The Imp and I use padded trays to eat off of in the living room, and I could feasibly get some more for when guests come around. The Imp has pretty good table manners, for a 3 1/2 year old, when we're out in public, and just the two of us sitting at a table that seats six just feels cold and impersonal. Getting rid of the table will give her more space to play, and maybe allow me to create an organised space for my craft supplies (which are currently stuffed and scattered all over the house, and I can never find what I want).
As for keeping a journal, that's why I've started this blog :P
I do try to encourage the Imp to help, but she sometimes has the attention span of a goldfish, as most three year olds do. But she has jobs that she's started on her own, and I encourage them strongly. She fills the cat food bowls when she gets home from nursery. When reminded, she puts her dirty washing in the basket in the bathroom. I have some of the clothes line strung at her height, so she pegs out all of our knickers, socks, and some of her clothes (I just don't look at it, because it's not like how I do it. She is trying, so I must keep my OCD to myself). When we've been shopping, she puts the fruit and veg away, and most of the items that go into the refrigerator. She helps me tidy her toys away. When it's time to make dinner, she helps by bringing onions, potatoes, and anything out of the fridge. It may be little things, but those little things can make a huge difference, and has helped with her communication and vocabulary skills. When she was going to speech therapy, they couldn't figure out why she wasn't using normal, kiddy basic words until they realised that she knew more cooking words than anything else...at two, she could point out mushrooms, garlic, onions, and lots of other veg. And those words were all clear. One of the speech therapists' thoughts were 'what child knows what garlic is?!?'. Well, that would happen to be my child. Being gluten free, having to cook everything from scratch, and having to have her in the kitchen so I can keep an eye on her, well, she's going to learn by example.
One of my personal tips is to make the time to plan your shopping. Most of the time, I do my main shopping for a month. Because I don't drive, I try to plan it in time to have it delivered...for the main shop that I use, Tuesday and Wednesday are their cheap delivery days, and the cost of delivery is the same as me buying a Dayrider bus ticket. I start off by making a written list of what I'm going to need for the month. I then input it into a price comparison site. My site of choice is mysupermarket.co.uk. Something that I've realised is that not all of the offers are on there, so, once it shows me which shop will be cheaper, I go to that shop's proper website to double check all of the offers and finalise my shop and delivery. It may seem convoluted and awkward, but I save anywhere from £10 to £30 by doing this. I try to do it so that over the remainder of the month I only really need to get fresh fruit and veg. Some people would say milk, but the Imp has goats milk, and we get it in the UHT boxes.
I know full well that I will feel much better once my house is back to rights, and now I've just about got the motivation to do it. Once my kitchen is back to rights, I'll be more motivated to get back to creative cooking, and making our own treats, which I haven't been in the mood for. Once I get everything else sorted, I won't feel so guilty when I stop to work on crafts or read my Kindle. I'll also be clearer to write the ritual that I desire to write for Lughnassahd, and maybe plan a feast for that and other upcoming celebrations.