I think you should skip the shock collars. I suspect one of these scattered on every flat area in your house would solve the problem:http://www.arcatapet.com/item.cfm?cat=8129It would probably keep the baby contained to one part of the house, too.Okay, for the record, I was crying through that whole video. CRYING with laughter. My office floor looks like 3M and its entire inventory of Post-Its exploded, and let's not even get into the post-vacation mess. I can blame the baby on the office floor, but usually it's my husband and his shit pile that puts me over the edge. I really think the answer isn't cleaning more. I think it's about separate living quarters. Just get your own place. That's my idea.
I think you said it yourself...you guys don't follow through...so, start following through...put the kleenex in the trash instead of laying it down...etc, etc. the motto "a place for everything and everything in its place" only works when people follow through...And when it comes to doing the work around the house...if husband won't help, and as long as he isn't creating huge messes, I'd just do it myself so I could have order...for me order is calming and doing the work to create it is worth the payoff . If you were a single mom, you'd have to do it all....You have to pick your battles...which means more to you--- order in your home or disorder?Also, I believe it takes less effort to keep order than to constantly have to restore order...getting in that habit takes some determination initially and then practice, practice, practice....I had my children put away what they were playing with before they got out other toys...they had a toy box for their things and learned early how to pick up their stuff...I think your first born is probably old enough to learn this, and generally children enjoy helping if they see mom modeling tidying up as a thing to be desired and not just miserable work.I think it's all about balance...and figuring out what works...
Deb," I think it's about separate living quarters. Just get your own place. "The thought has occurred to me. ;)In fact oddly enough when I was in highschool and thought about getting married in the future my fantasy was to have neighboring houses. If only we had a small carriage house out back!
Dinah,I know... this must get very annoying for you!Yes we don't follow through and we even know that... I just don't know how to turn it into consistent action. It is very much like exercise and while I have got that down it did take some thing big to motivate me. Maybe we haven't hit our rock bottom yet (God help us if that's true!).
You totally crack me yup. Oh Lord, that baby is the culprit! That was so funny.I truly get it when it comes to the resentment thing with the "fairness" of certain jobs around the home...more so when my kids were your kids' ages. It really will get easier when the kids are just a few more years older. There is still disorder and stuff everywhere, but not like when you have a one year old running around the house just arbitrarily getting into shit and moving stuff around. Storage is a problem for you so when even just a couple of things get left on a counter, it looks messy. Without being there, it is hard to say what you can do about it. Road trip to Ann Arbor anyone??Those big plastic tubs they have at Target are good for just throwing bunches of stuff in...you can always go through later (like in 3 years and by then, you could probably just put in a bag and throw away.)Maybe commit to getting everything off the floor each night...start fresh every morning. Really there is not much you can do with Baby until she is older. I used to try to make one room semi-mess-free for the most part...this is hard to do with babies though.In some ways you just got to surrender to it for now...at least on some level.
Julie,someone posted a link to my blog as in "look at these pics I couldn't live like this" and I am so pissed off! I think that is so rude!okay I've got to let it go...yup I was thinking of getting some big bins and putting stuff in them as an intermediate step before getting rid of them... more just to see if we can keep less stuff in order. If we can't then it is a deeper problem than not enough storage and we'll need an intervention from that organizer who goes on Oprah!
Ok, pox on the rude person who linked to your site with that comment. Love the videos! Mr F, you were totally caught in the act.My suggestion: Freecycle one thing every day. Check it out. You will love it, I promise. It's like the endorphins from the 60 min cardio.There is something about giving stuff away to actual, real people who want it and are happy to have it - vs putting in the landfill (which I am opposed to unless unavoidable) or just carting off to Goodwill. Which doesn't work, because guess what? I have a massive pile that's simply transferred from the basement to the trunk of my car, and is now living there.On Freecycle, I have truly gotten rid of the most random things, for example:1) Odd bits of Dept 56 Christmas stuff2) Dented, much jumped upon mattress from Ikea (I thought this would surely have to go to the landfill, but no! It has a home!)3) Rabbit ears TV antenna4) Bizarre aircraft carrier storage box left by previous owners...You get the idea. People will take nearly anything. It's so satisfying - purging and pleasing others at the same time!! Mr F, you could totally bag up those partly used cleaning supplies in one lot, post it, and I would almost guarantee you'd get a taker. The skating rink would go in a heartbeat.FreecycleAnnArborMichiganemail@example.com
Mrs. F, WTF?!! How rude of someone doing that! Plus, frankly, your house is not that bad. Really. Anyone with kids has a house like that either some of the time or all of the time. If not, they got something else crazy going on then. Either help or they have issues, ya know.You just don't have enough storage. I am blessed with a lot of closet space and a "mud room" where all of the jackets, boots, hats, bags of store returns (Mr F, I got the same thing going on here...sometimes I finally just put the bags in my car and then drive around with the returns until I finally return them.) Don't get me wrong, my closets and mudroom are not immaculate, but it is a place to put stuff.With out really knowing your space and storage, it seems like the basement would be a good spot to try to organize Oprah-style. Also, looking at all of the kid stuff everywhere on the floor reminded me of the reality of little kids and their millions and millions of little toys. My suggestion of getting all stuff off the floor is still good, but shove in bin...eventually you can "organize" the toy bins if you want, but it is almost fruitless when you have a one year old. Why give yourself one more thing to not be able to do?How did you know someone linked your page? I am shocked. Geez, your house is not that messy...it's not like you had photos of mice eating leftover food on the floor and dirty diapers strewn about. It's just cluttered (and I know clutter...I fight it daily here.) And you are just keeping it real here. By the way, Mr F, that was a great little video. Also, I like Katieos plan how she does a 10 minute tidy each day and a 45 minute cleaning on the weekend. Very cool and doable.
I have a massive pile that's simply transferred from the basement to the trunk of my car, and is now living there.Kidart..LOL, I do, too!! Plus those store returns that I mentioned to Mr F!Yes, I second Freecycle. I did something like out here where I live. It felt so good to get rid of stuff without throwing it out.
Okay, I just watched Mr. F's video and nearly wet myself when I saw the same flower box on the floor that was in your video. You need to put someone in charge of returns. In our house, that's Hubby's job. If it has to go back to the store, he has to take it back, even if I bought it. If it has to be returned by mail, that's my job, and I swear I go to the effing UPS store once a week. I hate that place, but things constantly have to be sent back. I vote for immediate returns as your one-year commitment. Divvy it up so that someone does in-store and someone else does mail, that way you aren't shouldering 100% of the task and can't resent Mr. F for it. If you can do that for a year, then move on to something else. But the returns are not only cluttering your life, but they're sucking up your cash. Financial bonus.My only other suggestion would be to fly me in for a week. That linen closet nearly sent me to the hospital. Me and a box of Hefty bags, and you'll have room for more towels than you can possibly own. (I'm big on closet organization, not so much anything else.)
BTW, I'm cracking up over the idea of someone linking to your blog with that comment. My message to that poor soul: PLEASE, people. The woman MAKES HER OWN BREAD. You do that and then come back here with your own photos of your house. I dare you.
Peeps,I hate the haters ... I might have to post a video for the haters ;)I check my stats every once in awhile and I can see if people came to me from a link... I like to check those out so I can visit their blog or thank them... I was shocked to find I was not actually getting love!Yes this weekend I will definitely post a Freecycle for the 100 bottles of cleaner we have lying around.We do get rid of stuff fairly regularly at the Salvation Army since you don't even have to get out of the car just pull up front! Can't beat that!Returns: I'm actually very good about returning things... Mr F had returns to go back to the Gap for over a year in his trunk!!!I really need a significant chunk of time without the kids here to really make headway and that is a lot of the problem... it is impossible to try and purge with those two clutter mongers tooling around!
Deb,I've been meaning to have the bathroom closet purge for some time. I'm doing it this weekend... that is one space with a door and a lock and I can get it done without interference!Read the above regarding returns. I need a bigger task since I do actually do them... and leaving it to Mr F would be a freaking disaster! Plus he can't make a return without coming home with more stuff... hence the bag of ON socks (not the right size which is why they are really still in there!)
Okay, then how about this one... Mr. F is in charge of ridding the house of the clutter mongers (of which he is one, but we won't tell him that) for a minimum of X hours a week so you can declutter. Believe it or not, I actually consider decluttering "me time" at this point. Sad, I know, but I'm so much more relaxed when crap isn't piled up everywhere that it's worth it to send Hubby and Kiddo out of the house for a few hours every Saturday just so I can clean.
The problem with putting Mr. F in charge of something new, I suspect, is the same problem we would have. It has taken 5 years of living together for my husband to do the things that are in his domain 50% of the time (or 50% completed most of the time). Trying to add a new task to match with a new task I was undertaking would make me resent him immensely because UNDOUBTEDLY he would not do it the vast majority of the time.I think the idea of picking all the crap up off the floor every night is a good one. I do this several times a week (mostly because our dog is a giant shedding beast and I have to vacuum twice a week at least) and it helps to not be tripping over things. Though, like baby, the bubs here can re-litter the floor with 100 items in mere seconds.It's a start and it wouldn't take a whole lot of time, and you might be able to get kid in the act (I suspect you could get baby to bring you things and "help" but I bet the net result would be more stuff pulled out than put away if she were involved.)OR you could take 10-15 minutes each day to go through the house and just throw out trash that is laying around! I know this would make a big difference in our house (and I know that my husband doesn't even SEE trash lying around, so it really is on me).
Nutmeg,Surprisingly everything does get picked up off the floor every night (most days.. not weekends) it just looks like this every day anyway.but YES I am going to do the 10 minutes of trash pick up that might be the winner.Deb,Yes I would love for Mr F to take the kids every Saturday (Please take them!!).
Cleaning the toys off the floor everyday even with the "help" of kids is like working hard on a goal or some project, but never getting that satisfied feeling of "it's done" like you may get at a job. There's no real sense of accomplishment with finishing the laundry because there's always more to do. It does not end. It's kind of like that Groundhog Day movie where Bill Murray kept replaying the same day over and over again. That's how it is now. Your babies are still so young. Before you know it, they will both be in school full time and you'll miss them. You'll have a more organized tidy house, but you will miss the little ones being there all the time. Trust me. It's a special little world being the mom of a baby and preschooler. There's much of it that is so demanding, draining, mundane, but also so sweet, silly and wonderful. You'll miss Baby waddling around the house pulling stuff out of cabinets and Kid just being there quietly looking at books and wanting to play "runaway Appalachian kid and momma."I say surrender to it, do what you can to help yourself feel in control, but then let go knowing that a messy house=happy kids.
Julie,and this is why I love you.
Mrs F, I love you, too;)
I keep checking back on this one, because I am looking for tips, too. Julie just said what I tell everyone when they see my messy house, but she said it so eloquently that I actually believed it this time. I think that's a pretty worthy goal -- just getting over it. I may try that.
I've been trying to clean up this house for 16 years. I still don't have the hang of it. Unless everybody helps out, it's hopeless. I used to yell and scream and cry but it's pointless. I've been driving around for months with about 5 boxes of books in the back of my car, meaning to donate them to the library and I just can't remember to do it....AND I WORK AT THE FREAKING LIBRARY. Trust me...you are not the worst, nor are you alone. Sorry I can't be more hopeful. I like the idea of posting pictures on all our websites. I'm going to do that later.
Thanks, Deb...I almost believed it, too;)
Oh, your children are so young I know it seems like it will be forever . . . but let me share with you. My kids are 7 and 9. In a few years, they will be hanging out with friends and won't want me to stop doing the dishes to play a game with them. They won't want a precious stuffed animal for Valentine's Day. They won't want to draw me a picture of flowers and sunshine. They won't want to help me bake cookies and they won't want to mess up the bed for a pillow fight. So I'll have plenty of time to clean up toys and crayons and other messes then. And maybe that will be satisfying. Or maybe it will be so sad to realize that I just have myself and my stuff - orderly stuff, but still just stuff. Good for you for enjoying your children. If your mess isn't unhealthy then don't feel pressure to prioritize differently. Sure it drives you nuts sometimes, but if you're overall happy with your choices then let it be. So people may criticize your mess, but you do other things better than they do. That's just life. Enjoy it.
Thanks guys!You know sometimes I just want to let it go and not worry about it too. What would happen?! Maybe that is really what I should try for a year... oh wait that is what I've been doing the last 5.5 years!Deb (-orah?! think),LOL about the books and the library... I had to read that aloud for Mr F. We are kindred spirits and next time I'm traveling down South I will have to visit. (but don't clean first)Anon,"Sure it drives you nuts sometimes, but if you're overall happy with your choices then let it be. "Good point. Because 90% of the time I am happy with my choices.I think trying to adopt Katieo's 45 min Saturday clean up my be worth a try. It doesn't require too much and it would put us 45 min ahead of where we were. Of course that 45 min is of actually cleaning and doesn't count the 5 hours of procrastination and wallowing that will certainly proceed it. ;)
Ok, here is what I do. Or try to do. I pick one room to concentrate on every day for like 10 or 15 minutes. I literally just start picking shit up and putting it in the room it belongs. Not necessarily where it belongs in that room, but somewhere in the room it belongs. Then at least one room is straight. Then the next day I will hit another room, eventually it circles back. Then I am not overwhelmed, I can feel good about at least something. Somedays I am motivated enough to do two rooms, but I know that I have comitted to one room and it is done.
Hmmm .. I am very interested in why smooches came up as my name. It is I, Jennifer. I told you about the blog I started in November and only put in one post .. I told you I am not very computer savy. Oh well.
Jennifer,Blogger has it's mysterious powers ;)Good suggestion. I'm definitely needing something in the 10-15 min time range since I can do that while the kids are eating breakfast and relatively confined!
I have a cleaning schedule, but I swear to you, with 3 kids under 3, I can clean and they will leave a trail of stuff in my just-cleaned wake.I do two loads of laundry every day. I have one day for sheets (all of them) and a different day for towels (all of them.) Saturday morning I mop the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom floors.The husband's job is to vacuum while I'm not home. No amount of allergy medication can make me vacuum.Kids actually pick up their toys before nap and before bed. They all (with the exception of the 1 yr old) put their dirty laundry in the hamper. They use something and throw it in the garbage. In fact, putting something in the garbage is their favorite activity. The 2 yr old has just decided that she's going to help unpack groceries and put them away (yay!)That said, I have a neverending, rotating stack of paperwork on my desk. It never goes away. It gets thrown out every Saturday, and by the next Friday, it's back. Something to do with migration, I think.I had to take the dresser out of daughter 2 & 3's room due to the fact that 2 kept climbing up it and opening her windows, which would be certain death if she were to then fall out. They have a huge closet, but seriously, I don't have time to hang a million little Old Navy shirts. Pfeh. Their clothes are now stacked on top of MY dresser in my room. My room, therefore, looks like a perpetual yard sale.My husband and I watched both of the videos and laughed SO hard mostly because we have the exact same issues. We do the exact same things. I would divorce him as well due to built-up resentment for NOT having his own housecare chores. Since he's been out of work, his job is the dishes now as well. DISHES! I hate them. I don't mind cooking, but heck, I deserve the Julia Child Clean Up Crew.Oh, Sunday is the day to scrub the sinks, toilets, and bathtub. There. that's about it. I'm going to go fold towels.
Daniela,three kids under three?!?.... I just don't know how you do it! I'd need to be propelled by at least a pot of coffee in the morning!In Kid's room I have her clothes in clear bins stacked on top of the counter (yes counter it was a kitchen at one point) that is her closet... one for each type of item. That works okay. But we just brought a dresser down into the living room and are going to see if that works... they get dressed in here anyway why not just skip the flight of stairs and keep their clothes here!?!I know some people think "single moms have to do it all" and to that I say "if I'm doing it all... then I actually be a single mom!" ;)You do a lot of cleaning and I am impressed!
I personally don't think it matters how much I clean, because they just mess it up right behind me. For the most part, my house is clean. Each room has its own clutter issue. The entry has the shoe issue (four kids plus two adults times two feet each is more shoes than any Payless.) Seven, the oldest (that's not her name, but her age... I call her 7 though, because of the Seinfeld episode) does an excellent job corralling children to play while I clean, and she puts her own clothes away etc. The living room has the toy issue. The kitchen has the "forbidden zone" of things I have taken away for whatever reason and stuck it on the counter because they cannot reach it there, and they're not allowed in the kitchen unless it is business-related (ie. garbage, getting to the laundry room, going to the bathroom that is off of the kitchen, or generalized Q&A.) Most mornings, I drink an entire pot of coffee. You hit that nail on the head. Everyone has the same naptime whether they're tired or not. As I tell them, I don't care if you sleep, but you have to stay in bed. They nap for 2 hours; sometimes 3. I usually nap or get work done or veg completely out. I'm usually up at 4:30 am to work, and I don't get to bed most nights until 11 pm, as I usually start working again at 8 pm (hardcore) until the medical language no longer makes any sense to me... or I cannot type; whichever comes first.That's usually my day. I really want to invest in my own elliptical trainer so that I can have serious "me" time while they're asleep. I think the workout would be infinitely energizing. It is virtually impossible to power walk with a kid strapped to your back and two in a double stroller (that weighs upward of 70 lb.) You can get a good clip going, but someone will inevitably chuck a sippy cup streetward and ruin all of my effort. There's your visual for the day.I like the idea of the dresser in the living room. My mom just offered me a claw-foot antique dresser that the lid flips up on; it'd be a great idea for the kids' clothes now and later on for blanket and general living room storage. I'm going to have to taker her up on that. Thanks!
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