My Nemesis - Housework!

Posted by Lisa Stevens on

We are a big family....not as big as some, for sure, but right now there are 8 people living in this house, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 1 lizard and 5 fish. That is a lot of bodies AND a lot of stuff that goes along with those bodies. 
We have a good sized house , not huge but big enough. The way it is set up, people can get some alone time if they so choose, which is important to help everyone's sanity. 

The biggest issue we run in to is with the stuff. People using it (which is what we want...if we had a house full of stuff that no one used, that would just be stupid) but not putting it back. People not cleaning up after themselves and their pets (since pets cannot clean up after themselves but they still need stuff....leashes and toys and treats and food) is the biggest frustration of this house. 
We also go around every once in a while and organize rooms....and they seem to work for awhile, but as new things come into the house (I am thinking particular kitchen, toy room and workspace here) re-organization is necessary. Also, sometimes we organize a room, it looks good...but is just not functional. Yes, everything has a place/home...but when people try and use it, it either 1) is hard to get at or 2) is hard to put away. There are some rooms where functionality outweighs it looking good. lol 
I have tried many different approaches to keeping on top of the house cleaning/tiding over the years. Some worked better than others, but none have stuck around so they obviously did not work that well. I think a good chunk of the time, though, it was more because we added another family member, we switched jobs, or something changed that made it not make sense to continue using the system anymore. 
I remember when I first heard about Flylady. I thought it was a God send....I read the book (and the book it was based on Side Tracked Home Executives) read everything on the internet about it...I just could not get enough. I did the Flylady system for years. I even taught a class at a mom's group I went to at the time. Our house was never cleaner than when I was flying. Now, keep in mind, I had 2 children at the time, Ben was gone most of the day, Adrianna was at any messes made were usually my own...easy to keep my own in check. lol I honestly cannot remember why I ever stopped....but I know I did.
Then I started Flying again when we were up to 4 children...with one more on the way. The church we were a part of started a Flying Group, we met and encouraged each other, we had a Facebook group to share our struggles and our victories. It worked for awhile, but I think the main problem was that I was trying to do it all myself, when in fact there was a house full of people (all besides the baby) that could be a part of it. I don't know if I ever took the time to explain to them what to do, how to do and help them along the way. 

This is that time. Every.Single.Person living in this house right now is able bodied and capable of helping out with keeping the house tidy and clean. It does get messy, because it is lived in. On any given day, there are usually multiple people here, Adrianna is currently the only one with a job outside the house (Ben and I do craft fairs and markets but a good chunk of our job is from home), which means most of the time there are 7 of us here for breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks, evenings....all using the kitchen and the bathroom and the play why not have everyone on board with the system and make it work for us. 
I am not going to get into a lot of details about what Flylady is...(but I am totally open to answering any of your questions!) but it is really all about taking babysteps towards your goals. One of the mottos is "You can do anything for 15 minutes!" and it is true. The premise is to not get overloaded/burnt out trying to get your home in order, take it 15 minutes at a time. I like that...I can do that, and so can every other person living in this house. Even a 6 year old can focus on a task for 15 minutes (I am lucky, my 6 year old can usually focus for longer than that....but part of the system is to not do too much at once, so the next time you need to do it, you are not frustrated with how long it took the last time.) I think of a homeschooling philosophy Charlotte Mason method, she encouraged teachers (i.e. parents) to use short sessions with subjects, stop while the kids are still interested/attentive....leave them wanting more. Which can seem like a crazy idea...but if they want more, then the next time they will be ready and happy about doing that lesson 🙂  If you wait until they are tired and frustrated with it from going on too long....the next time it will not be so pleasant for either one of you. So, that is the same type of thing....even if you are not enjoying yourself cleaning the bathroom, you know it is only for 15 minutes and you can do anything for 15 minutes. 🙂 

There is so much more to Flying than was all about the decluttering long before anyone heard of Marie Kondo....and I personally like the Flylady method better, especially when you have this many people with this much stuff. You take 15 minutes of your day (if you have the time you can go back again during the same day for 15 more minutes....) and work slowly, rather than spending an entire day (exhausted at the end) going through all your books....or all your clothes....with this many people, it would take days...and we all know that 1, 2 or 3 months down the road you will have to do it all again....cause stuff accumulates, whether you are trying or not. lol With Flylady, you just do it a little at a time, all through the year. Sounds easy enough. 

All that to say, I am in the process of figuring out how to make the Flylady system work for us. With the system there are routines and we all need our own routines and I have to figure out how to make the zones work for us so everyone is contributing. But this is the beginning of something good. I can just feel it. Will it make our life stress free? HAHA I am not that naive BUT I do know and believe that a decluttered, tidy home helps everyone, everyone who lives here and everyone who comes to visit. Your home should be your sanctuary, the place you enjoy being....if that is not your home, what needs to change? For us, it is getting everyone to help with the keeping of the home. 
I have already talked with one friend, and we are going to try and encourage each other...get our kids together to make it fun when planning our routines, set up a small reward system for them (a low key party or a movie night together)....if anyone else is interested, we would love to go on this journey together! I can create a Facebook Group and we can share tips and can be a place to ask questions and get suggestions. Learning new things can seem daunting...but if we do it together maybe, just maybe, we can have fun 🙂 

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  • This house is the epitome of CHAOS.
    The only rooms that can be put to rights in 15 minutes are the bathroom (though it’s not quite done a reno) and MissB’s room. It’s brutal, and contributes significantly to both my depression a and anxiety.
    And I can’t do it alone.
    Hubby has done lots in areas I don’t control (his zones), but mine are horrible. And they make us all feel horrible. Sad thing is, even the ‘where’ of starting, beyond the kitchen sink, is too overwhelming for me. And I get more anxious and depressed.

    Pauline MacDonald on

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