Today, I basically spent picking up and putting away because tomorrow, the house gets cleaned. Yes, we pay a lovely woman to come in and scrub everything down every four weeks. Ever since my cancer (and the resulting seven surgeries) if I use my arms and shoulders too much, I get a pain between my shoulder blades so sharp it can take my breath away. I discovered fairly quickly that I simply couldn’t keep up with the physical aspects of housekeeping anymore – mainly scrubbing the showers, cleaning the floors, and running the vacuum. And this is fine by me!! I hate cleaning, and I’m more than happy to have the excuse to let someone else do it. (I realize I don’t actually need an excuse – it’s perfectly acceptable to choose whatever help one can afford when it comes to keeping a home together).
There is, however, a downside to all this. It’s called The Day Before. The stress I feel trying to run around getting the house ready to clean is truly amazing. And today, as I did it for the umpteenth time, I kept saying, “Never again. Never again.” I hope to eventually have a system running so smoothly that The Day Before is just a casual picking up of a few things, not the crunch time it currently is. I know I have a lot of nitty-gritty “ickiness” ahead of me to get there. And by ickiness, I mean “organizing.” And by organizing, I mean “getting rid of stuff.” I’ve already started this process, and have filled a huge box for charity. But I have miles to go – one step at a time.
However, since the house is totally picked-up, I figure now is as good a time as ever to institute the 10-minute tidy. This idea is not original with me, and I can’t remember where I ran across it. But basically it’s this – ten minutes each night, we run around putting away as much as we can in that ten minutes – folding afghans, putting books on the shelf, putting toys in the box, dealing with mail, etc. I’ve tried this before with abysmal results. But this time is different. This time I have my notebook. This time I’ve already successfully added some things to my daily routine. This time I have the daily discipline of this blog, and a track record several weeks long. This time, I will succeed.
Although the list will certainly grow, right now my daily task list looks like this:
Feng-shui the dining room table;
Keep the sink and stovetop clean;
Do one load of laundry;
These are, of course, in addition to the myriad responsibilities that land in my lap as a wife, mother, homeschooler, and self-employed writer. But these belong to my “system,” and when they are running smoothly, I’ll add more. I want to get to my destination. Don’t we all? But I’m working hard at balancing that with enjoying the journey.