Order from CHAOS

Housekeeping

 

O ne of my most common worries as a young wife was that someone would come by our house unannounced. Why? Because I had no idea how to keep our house clean. If someone was going to come over, I wanted at least enough warning to throw all our laundry in the bathtub and our dirty dishes in our car trunk.

Yes, I did that on occasion.

There. I said it. No, that was not an April Fool’s Joke.

Gulp.

I definitely had times where I lived with C.H.A.O.S.
{as Fly lady would say, Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome}.

Was I a hoarder? No.

Was my house completely out of control? No.

Would the health department have condemned us? No.

But, our house did get pretty messy sometimes.

I  didn’t know about daily routines or keeping my house clean enough.

My two most difficult to manage cleaning challenges were probably similar to what we all face:

1) the dishes
2) our laundry.

Back then, we’d work or go to school all day, come home, fix dinner and then sit down late at night in front of our video recording of Days of Our Lives (um, ok, don’t judge. There weren’t that many options for good TV back in the day, right?).

Somehow, I missed the memo about my mom not being there after I was married to clean up the kitchen for me any more. Doh, I don’t know what I was thinking.

The next day when we headed off to work, the dinner dishes were still there on the counter. Annnnd, our laundry was piling up in the bathroom. I may or may not have been saving it for Saturday.

By Saturday, we were in C.H.A.O.S. Laundry piled high, dishes still waiting to go in the dishwasher (gah, we had a dishwasher and it didn’t occur to me to load it every night? I may not have had a fancy new dishwasher like I have now, but I HAD a dishwasher!). Saving my daily chores until Saturday was not working for me at all.

Thankfully I found Fly Lady and became a believer in daily house cleaning routines. When I finally started cleaning our hot spots like the kitchen DAILY instead of weekly, or doing our laundry every day or two instead of weekly … life was different. At first it felt like cleaning every day took a lot of time, until it became a regular part of our daily routine. Then it was second nature.

Suddenly we could have company at shorter notice, our housekeeping had a rhythm we could manage. And people could come over on short notice.

Do I still like people to call before they come over?
Yes. I do like some warning.

Is my house perfect?
No. Never.

Houses are for living!

Remember THIS scene in my family room turned playground?

And how could I forget THIS crazy but typical week in my life?

Time for a little CHAOS confession here.

Do you ever hide your dirty dishes when guests are on their way?

Don’t worry, we won’t laugh too hard. Confession is good for the soul.

PS. The above photo is my kitchen last summer, before my microwave handle broke off, the whole microwave stopped working and the freezer started making a mysterious clanging sound. Ha, so don’t be jealous of my new dishwasher. My other appliances might look pretty enough in the pictures, but they are dying before my eyes.

This post is part of a series sponsored by Electrolux as part of Homebuzz. I received an Electrolux appliance in exchange for my participation. The opinions stated in this post are my own. My old dishwasher is being donated to a worthy cause.

Want to know more about my principles for homemaking and creating an authentic life at home?

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Comments

  1. Ah yes – I suffer from the CHAOS … trying to get the hubby to help with the daily cleaning routines. Sometimes it is hard when you get so wiped out by the day – but you are right, it is better than spending half of your Saturday cleaning it all up! And yes my Chaos is all dishes and laundry! :)
    Jess recently posted..Gallery Walls–Symmetrical or AsymmetricalMy Profile

    • Hi Melissa,
      Wow, you are SUCH an amazing person! Talented, witty, fun, and funny! I am VERY impressed and inspired by your website! I am learning a WHOLE LOT; being as such that I have a natural inclination to lean towards home chaos, as opposed to order. I have been working at keeping my place cleaner, but it is still cluttered…but at least the health inspector hasn’t stopped by (again)…JUST KIDDING! I wish you a happy, health inspector free day Melissa:)
      Colette

  2. I needed this post! I’m a new mom and full-time student and my house is chaotic to say the least (so much so that where you wrote about laundry in the bathtub, my first reaction was ‘HEY! AWESOME idea! Why didn’t I think of that?’… that’s when I realised I had a problem). I don’t even know WHERE to start sorting it out. Just heading over to investigate Fly Lady…

    • Aw, I feel your pain! So you will love Fly Lady. I couldn’t keep up with all of her routines and ideas, but I took what I could and made it into my own system, something I could work with! Good luck and don’t be too hard on yourself! Having a new baby is tough!

  3. Paola Rarick says:

    Oh yes!!! I have hid things in my bathtub before. I also am a “reluctant entertainer” due to my house never being good enough. Thanks for your honesty!!! It is a blessing!! We all need to know that we aren’t the “worst” wife in the world.

  4. I sometimes hide things in the bedroom but that’s about it. Still, I feel with the size of our house, and very little storage area, we are in CHAOS all to often. We’re getting better as the years go by and the kids get older.

    I’ve heard of Fly Lady before. Guess it’s time to check her out! The other day my husband said I should have ‘laundry day’. I told him that would never work in our house!!!
    Sharon recently posted..Beach bluesMy Profile

  5. I thought I had my chaos under control until I had a kid. I just can’t seem to keep up with her messes ;)

  6. Tara G. says:

    Never in my car, but I’ve thrown them in the oven! Emilie Barnes has some great books out that helped me get organized.

  7. Dishes and laundry and the mail dump area have always been the hardest to keep under control. I finally have the mail down. It only took me 12 years! I once hid all our junk in my bedroom only to realize that one of our Bible study couples was still bringing their baby and needed to set up the pack n play for him to sleep in there. I was apologizing all over the place, and horrified that they saw my mess. It no longer fit into just the closet. Eeek!
    Angel/TaDa!Creations recently posted..Back in the Shop Raggedy AnnMy Profile

  8. You spoke to this concern very well. As we’ve discussed before, we both have a love of FlyLady’s methods. They make such good sense. I, too, still prefer a call rather than having drop-in visitors, but I can cope with the drop-ins much more easily now. I have enjoyed these peeks into your home. You’ve created such a welcoming place that I’m sure you have happy guests.
    Vee recently posted..Happy April Fools Day!My Profile

  9. I’ve never read Fly Lady, but I think it’s time I go check her out!
    Lynn from For Love or Funny recently posted..It’s only delusional if you’re wrongMy Profile

  10. I very nearly have a panic attack if ANYONE shows up unexpectedly, and that’s not to say what occurs if it just so happens to be my in-laws! Our home is only one level, and the bedrooms are off of the main room. In the event of unexpected callers, the spare room becomes one. giant. closet. The door remains closed, the bed and chair piled with a mountain of mail, laundry, books, and miscellany. If for any reason the hand of an unexpected guest reaches for that doorknob, look out! You’ll be sure to see me or my husband (who I have conditioned to have the same kinds of reactions to unexpected callers as me, despite his previously lackadaisical stance) dive to intercept that unknowing gesture.

    Your post gives me hope-we’ve only been married for eight months. Looks like we still have time to get our act together!

  11. I do hide laundry that needs to be folded or hung up in our bedroom, if someone stops by unannounced. And I hide stacks of newspaper and junk mail, that hasn’t been dealt with inside cabinets in the dining room.

    The funniest thing I’ve ever heard, was from my friend, who tells everyone this, so I’m not talking behind her back, she’s very upfront with her CHAOS issues. She laughs about her issues.

    She hides dirty dishes in her dryer. Yes you read that right, her dryer. I’m thinking, “how’s that dryer going to get clean when it comes time to use it???”lol
    Mrs. C recently posted..Woman of Adventure Returns!!!My Profile

  12. domestosgoddess says:

    When I was working full time and we had a cleaner coming in every week, things seemed to stay (largely) under control. But since I have been at home more, things can become more untidy and I have therefore made it a rule that (in line with Flylady) the sinks must be shiny, and the beds made, before I leave the house or have anyone over. Otherwise it is just too too depressing. Put the laundry in the machine (it’s not like you have to beat it with a rock on the riverside), stack the dishwasher, have the family put their own things away – and you are free to enjoy your home and have people drop by.

  13. I found Flylady months before my first baby was born. Thank the LORD! I don’t know what I would have done with a new baby, with the way I was so unorganized before! Now, even with 4 kids, my life is better organized and runs more smoothly than it ever has…

  14. Oh my gosh….do I ever identify!! Out of college…married…busy job…fortunately I was too busy for anyone to even think about dropping by.

    But…I had a real embarrassment many years later. I had just moved out of state from my dream house to a temporary tiny, but nice home withOUT a dishwasher. I was grieving my loss (not of the DW…my house/garden!) and didn’t have things too under control. A dear friend called to say she and her husband were in a nearby town…20 minutes away…and they’d like to come over. “Of course!” I said. Oh my…I had to get myself ready….and tidy my house and do dishes in the sink…yikes!! I did pretty well. But I did something I’d never done before…I put my dirty dishes on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven. I’d heard people say they did that. “Why not?” I thought.
    Hahahahahahahaha! My husband came home and we invited our friends to stay for dinner and I turned on the oven and went about dinner prep. As I opened the oven to place my food…guess what was staring me in the face. A tray full of very hot dishes. Oh my was I embarrassed. We had a good laugh. But, needless to say, I don’t ever hide my dirty deeds.

    Thanks Melissa for keeping it real!

  15. UGHGH – is the house ever clean enough when someone drops by unexpectedly? And on the flip side, does anyone ever come by on the day when I actually clean the whole house and it’s all sparkly?? Nope. Just last week my in-laws dropped by and my house was an an ALL-TIME crazy level. Mud tracked all through the house from the dog. Laundry piled on the bathroom floor. Dirty dishes on the counter. But I made tea and said to myself – WHATEVER! This is real life with kids and a dog and I’m almost 40 and I’m not stressing about this kind of stuff anymore! Love this topic, love it. Let’s all give ourselves a little break!
    Lisa recently posted..Youre Hilarious- Mother NatureMy Profile

    • I’m with you Lisa, I am WAY less stressed about messes now. Yes, I’ve gotten better at keeping up but a lot of it is growing tolerance of real life!! Love this topic too!!

  16. If my house is a mess I just don’t invite people over!
    Jen recently posted..Now Im the Substitute!My Profile

  17. One of the best things (housekeeping-wise) that my mom taught me was to completely clean up the kitchen after supper every evening. Right down to shining up the faucet (a dry, clean towel is usually all it takes) and drying the area around the sink.

    I confess there are some evenings when I go to bed with dishes in the sink, but even then, I wipe down the counters and clean up everything I possibly can. Waking up to a messy dirty kitchen is a seriously bad way to start the day. And since we all spend so much time there, I think it’s the best place to invest a little extra cleaning time each day…. that and the bathroom counter. :)

  18. This post cracks me up….because its so me. I’m a newlywed, and on top of that this year we moved right down the road from my in laws (mother father sister and brother in laws…all of them!) and they are all almost OCD with the cleanliness of their house, and i struggle with the fact that my house will NEVER be as organized and clean as theirs is. Not to mention our house is a rental…

    i’m queen of , hey, lets just put everything in this closet and i’ll deal with it after they leave, and our kitchen table typically looks more like a junk table, holding mail, shopping bags, coupons, everything.
    I’m slowly learning the process of picking up each day, doing SOMETHING each day so it doens’t get so out of control!

  19. Oh yes, I hide stuff too…the dirty dishes go in the oven and the laundry gets shoved in the closet…or just stays half-done in the washer/dryer. Usually my house is in an okay state when people drop by…it’s myself that I need to get in order! I am almost always frantically running to the back room to throw on a bra and a non-sleeping shirt when I see company come by unannounced! ;)

  20. Love your blog. Long time reader, first time commenter! Also an ex Pacific NW gal myself, but moved back to my country India, in 2006 after 23 years in Seattle. Would love for you to hop over to my blog sometime!

  21. I looooooooooooove FlyLady, but I work full time and can’t always keep up with her!

    • Oh, me either! I have come up with my own system that works for me. Flylady definitely inspired me, but even when I first found her I was unable to do it all. I take bits and pieces from a lot of things I learn and just make them into something I can deal with!

  22. I will confess my ways. I have taken all the dishes from my counter and put them in the garage. Wiped the counters down and voila! Clean kitchen.

    Thank you for this. Glad you are real too. You crack me up.

  23. Totally have this syndrome! Our washer/dryer (side-by-side) are in a closet off the kitchen/dining room. If people are coming over unexpectedly, I’ve been known to fill up empty laundry baskets with crap and stack them on top of the washer/dryer and then close the doors. Instant clean living room and dining room. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do sometimes! :)
    MK recently posted..Wee Bit of Me Wednesday 33011My Profile

  24. I am trying to get out of chaos but it is down right hard. I had read one time that your home is an extension of who you are and I don’t present myself in public in a crazy mess so why should I be doing that with my home. It is somewhat comforting to read that others have this same problem. My goal for the month of April is to work on our laundry problem. We have what we loving call Mount Washmore…It never seems to get any smaller. This month I am tackling that mountain.

    • Mount Washmore, I like it. I agree, it is really hard to get out of chaos but you deserve to have a home that gives you peace so I wish you all the best in your effort!

  25. OH, I’ve definitely hid dirty dishes before…usually under the sink behind the trash can. Once I had kids, though, I realized I had to stay on top of it or you will be drowning in kid stuff!!

    Love this post!!

    p.s. Is that a dash+albert rug in your kitchen? does it stay put?
    Sarah recently posted..Do You ChopMy Profile

  26. Thank you for this! I recently fessed up to a neighbor who stopped by with her daughter to sell girl scout cookies. Convo:
    Katie: I’m so embarrassed, our house isn’t usually this messy.
    Neighbor: Don’t worry its fune!
    Katie: You know what, that’s not true. Our house usually looks like this, except for an hour on the weekend right after I clean everything *sheepish smile*
    Neighbor: Don’t worry, everyone’s house is like that! Just wait till you have kids.
    She was so nice, I bought 8 boxes of cookies.

    It was very liberating actually, confessing to the kind neighbor. And its liberating again, confessing on your blog that my house is usually in disarray. Its nice to know I’m not alone! Thank you.

  27. I’ve never hidden my dishes or laundry (but most guests don’t see the bedrooms anyway), but maybe I should have – instead of leaving them out on the counters!

    I like FlyLady, too, and have adopted some of her ideas.

    One thing that works so well for me (can’t remember if this is flylady or not) is just to take five minutes and work on dishes or laundry or whatever. Usually I am happily surprised by how much I get done – and often am able to get 10 or minutes in and finish the task!

  28. That is wayyy to halarious!! I can honestly say I have never hidden dishes or clothes in the tub or my car trunk. LOL
    My house isnt always spotless and sometimes (like today) its chaos deluxe.. My bedroom is often in chaos.. as is my basement.. sigh.. someday…

    The 3 rooms I insist on keeping up on a daily basis bar none is the living room, kitchen, & bathroom, what I consider the public parts of the house.
    We live in a tiny cottage house and had 4 teenagers here at one time so I had to put my foot down or drown in “stuff” which my soul couldnt deal with.
    I still have way too many piles of stuff here & there but my life goal is to keep them moving..out!! ;)

  29. Gah, you’ve totally got me here. :) I go in spurts where I’m really good with routine pick-ups and cleaning and then life happens and gets nutty (5 kids, jobs, business on the side, yes, excuses, I know) and all of sudden it’s like a bomb went off. And what do I do? Sit and read blogs (!)… ok, now I gotta go clean.
    Have a blessed weekend…I’ve got company coming. :)
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  30. I put my dishes in the oven…the dishwasher was already full…then my dear friend happened to bring over a special treat that needed to be warmed up…busted..
    Dianne recently posted..April Fools…My Profile

  31. car trunk naturally ….

  32. Totally relevant blog post for me today… The weather in NC has been crappy this week, and I’ve been sooooo unmotivated to clean up the house. If someone came by, I would totally shove the dirty dishes into the dishwasher (as a nice holding place until I could get them in there correctly). Maybe this post will inspire me to actually do some cleaning today?!?! Maybe…

  33. I love it when you blog gals are honest. It just makes me feel like less of a failure. I haven’t stashed dishes, but girl, I have stashed piles… piles of paperwork. I still battle with it. But,I keep on keepin on..

  34. Jennifer says:

    I love the color on your kitchen wall! What is the color?

  35. I am still struggling in CHOAS. and for a pastor’s wife that is not good. I was never taught how to keep house and now for the first time in 18 years of marriage I am having to do it all. I can’t keep up with it all. Flylady just seems to be overwhelming to me. But I have kept my sink clean for a few days in a row now. (but now the upstairs closets seem to be throwing up!) ugh. Thanks for inspiring me to keep at it.
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  36. In my single days, my apartment had no dishwaher. I was very good about rinsing my dishes thoroughly, then putting them in the drain rack, so they looked clean, until I had enough to make it worth my while. Pots and anything else went into the oven. It had no window, so nobody knew except me!

  37. Yes! When I was a newlywed college student my cousin called to see if they could stop by on their way through town because the weather was bad. I had to quickly throw about a weeks worth of dirty dishes in the oven and everything else into the bedroom closet! Now we get a good laugh about it :)

  38. I don’t really hide my dishes… though without a dishwasher, it’s tempting often!

    I do hide lots of other things though. My poor bedroom!

  39. This post makes me giggle because tomorrow I am having about 20 people at our house for a surprise birthday party for my husband. I’m wondering what I’m going to end up hiding in our bedroom closet as a last minute resort before guests arrive, hopefully it’s not dishes, but you never know!
    City Chic – Jamie recently posted..Chair StealingMy Profile

  40. CHAOS? Yep!! With 4 kids, a big labrador retriever, and a too-small house, we regularly end up in chaos! I try to keep up with it, and the kids being past toddler stage (they range in age from 6-15) certainly helps. In the baby-days, it was nearly impossible! I don’t really have anywhere to hide dishes, other than occasionally sticking pans into the oven, which yes, I do admit to. More often than not, when guests show up (expected or not) the bedroom doors are often closed…for a reason!! :)
    Jessi recently posted..swingin into spring or- at least trying to!My Profile

  41. another great post Melissa!
    -{darlene}
    fieldstonehilldesign.com
    {darlene} recently posted..objects – dreaming of daffodilsMy Profile

  42. When I first got married, I saved everything for Saturday too, and it sucked! Not only did I waste half my weekend cleaning, but then the house would be sparkling for one day before it started to look ragged again. Then after I had my first child I made myself a cleaning schedule and it’s changed my life. Now I do like you are doing and clean a little bit every day. I even figured out how to work in the “spring cleaning” so that I don’t have to do it all at once. I love it!!
    Brooke recently posted..A new look with tissue paperMy Profile

  43. Right off the bat I can’t think of anything crazy I did back when I was younger and had kids at home (although I’m sure there were plenty of instances) but I did do the Saturday cleaning thing and laundry was NEVER finished!

    But I had an aunt that would hide her purse in the refrigerator for some reason…does that count as CHAOS?

    LOL!
    Judy

  44. I love Flylady! I would not be where I am today with out her.

    I used to hide the dishes- now if they are out, I just let them be out. I wash several times a day (family of 7) so it’s not like they are growing things (like they used too!).

    Once I hid a cast iron dutch oven under my sink (dirty) and a year later a lady was helping me move and thought she found a treasure. Ugh! Sadly, she took it home to clean it up and I gave it to her. I don’t remember if I admitted it was mine… or let her think it was a previous renter that had left it. It was back in an unseen crevice…
    Rachel recently posted..Date &amp Sage SconesMy Profile

  45. I’ve done some hiding methods at times. I’ve also learned to be strategic which is my last load of laundry. I try to make it towels or something that doesn’t have to be taken out right away to prevent wrinkling if I run out of time to deal with it. You can pull clean towels and laundry out of the dryer “holding pen” as needed until you have to deal with it for the next load a few days or a week later. :)

  46. Melissa, Thanks for reminding me about The Fly Lady. I believe one of her directives was to throw out 27 things. That really changed things for me, because those things were junk I’d didn’t need anyway. Leaving me with less to scramble around to put away when there was a an unexpected knock on the door. Not too worried about dirty dishes. I just position myself by the kitchen sink and wash away. Nobody has to know all those dishes didn’t just arrive in the sink.
    Mimi recently posted..Budget Wedding and Party Decor- Pretty in PinkMy Profile

  47. This is the struggle I have been having, especially since there are now teenagers at my house most afternoons!

    I used to hide dishes in the oven….lost a lot of plastic spatulas that way!

  48. Melissa,
    When we were first married I remember loading dirty dishes up into grocery bags and hiding them in the garage before the guests arrived for our party. :) Once in a while I will hide the 9×13 pan in the dishwasher if I don’t have time to wash it before guests arrive but that’s a rare occasion around here. I love flylady and now my mom is a flylady as well. I have always hated clutter and get a little high from throwing/donating things around the house. My children don’t even miss the stuff I get rid of while they are in school. ;) Thanks for posting to encourage other women out there, you rock!!!
    Ange recently posted..Welcome to the Blooming HydrangeaMy Profile

  49. Glad to know I’m not the only one who suffers from the every day life of chaos. ;) thanks for the kitchen shout outs! :) you’re too sweet! Have a wonderful weekend!

  50. Several years ago I too found Fly Lady! It was such a blessing! I was embarrassed to have anyone over! If they gave me some notice I had time to hide the messes!
    I don’t practice her routines exactly BUT I have developed habits and taken the basics to keep my household running! I think the biggest stumbling block I have and will continue to work on is that you cannot organize clutter!

  51. My mother-in-law likes to show up unannounced and she lives 500miles away…. after numerous occasions of her coming into my pig pen of a house I realized SOMETHING needed to change. Either my husband needed to tell his mom she needs to give some notice or I need to have a clean house all the time. I went with the first option… that didn’t work so now I am on the latter. I clean up a little every day rather than one big clean on Saturdays… She would usually pick Thursday or Friday which are the messiest rather than tidy Sunday.

  52. When my parents had their house reappraised about ten years back they couldn’t exactly keep the door to the master bedroom closed. So they filled the trunk of the car with all of the excess from the living room. They stashed a bunch of stuff in boxes and bins and tucked them into closets, basement, garage…. And then they took all the unfolded but clean clothes, spread them out on the bed, and laid the comforter over them so it just looked like a very fluffy bed. Needless to say I take after them and am fighting an uphill battle.
    Mixed Strategy Household recently posted..The Kinky Play PartyMy Profile

  53. I’m in love with the platter to the left of your oven! It’s similar to what I’ve been looking for to use in my kitchen.

  54. the one thing I have mastered is clean enough. Clothes go in pretty hampers and dishes go in the dishwasher. Having 4 kids means ALWAYS having someone handy to unload the clean dishwasher so the dirty ones have a place to go. SHUTTING cabinet and closet doors and drawers always makes a room look neater too!
    gina recently posted..i love geographyMy Profile

  55. I usually fill the sink with soapy water like I am in the middle of doing dishes even though I have a dishwasher, that too needs to be unloaded. I can give a quick spray on the countertops with simple green and all is good with the world.

  56. I love flylady! Kelly
    Kelly recently posted..packingMy Profile

  57. Love Flylady’s routines concept, but I can’t handle all the emails. I’m still struggling to get a handle on daily routines, after 8 years of marriage. Some weeks, I do really great, others, I’m horrible. I don’t think I’ve stashed dishes more than once or twice. Having a dishwasher helps with that. We run it every night, and I put nearly everything in it.
    Jo recently posted..Wool Circle SkirtMy Profile

  58. It’s the pile of mail that gets me down. I’ve got a husband who won’t file or through them away until the pile is high enough….I still stash mail in a cabinet when company comes.
    Jojo recently posted..March- On the MoveMy Profile

  59. Thank you for this gentle reminder Melissa…when I get busy it’s easy to forget how important it is to stick to my daily house routines! Time to get back to them now.
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  60. I try to straighten the house up every morning before I leave for work, but sometimes, I still have to throw all the dirty dishes haphazardly into the dishwasher just to get them out of sight and I still to all my laundry on Saturday. But, hey, I’ve been married less than a year, I’m still new to this.
    Rachel Lynn recently posted..BirthdaysMy Profile

  61. My home is more organized and cleaner than anyone’s I know, but I still love in CHAOS! I worry that I will have to answer the door with no makeup on or while wearing my comfy around-the-house clothes. I do read Flylady’s daily emails. I already have established cleaning habits, so it makes me feel great to read the daily chore and know that already did that. I like to clean more thoroughly than Flylady though. It drives me crazy when she says it doesnt have to be perfect. Why should I bother doing something half-way when I can do it correctly with very little additional time? It is nice to ne reminded of the non-daily habits though. I like Flylady’s rule of getting dressed to the shoes every morning, but it’s a habit I am still trying to form. Oh, and please dont think I am Mrs Perfectly Organized. You should see my car! We all have our areas of weakness.

  62. When I was a newlywed I also couldn’t get a handle on the dishes or laundry. We had a generously sized laundry room which unfortunately meant that I would shove laundry through the washer and dryer and then pile up clean clothes on the ground because hey, I could shut the door! But the dishes were a whole different story. We did not have a dishwasher and the dishes were out of control. One day the dishes were overflowing from both sides of the sink and were all over the counter. When I finally buckled down to tackle the mountain of dishes, I found that the sink was leaking into the cabinet below and water was quickly pooling. I called my landlord but then panicked. The dirty dishes! I shoved them all into the oven. I thought it was the perfect solution … but I completely forgot they were in there. A few days later I preheated the oven and melted all of my plastic mixing bowls and serving spoons.

    This was really a kick in the pants for me. Not only did I actually start doing dishes after the oven fiasco, but I never again lived in a place without a dishwasher. ;)

  63. I absolutely loved this blog! I guess growing up with a live-in Bulgarian grandmother who swept the floors several times a day, one goes on to adulthood 1)a neat freak of varying proportions or 2) one who completely ignores housekeeping….until others start to notice your messy/dirty house and tell you about it. LOL! I, for better or worse, became more of a neat freak.

    I learned how to “do a little every day” way back when. Even when our two boys were small I did a bit of housekeeping daily. Did stuff ever pile up? Of course…we are human after all :) But my “system” worked most of the time. In fact I’ve taught my “system” to people for housekeeping, record-keeping, organizing etc. Some people scoff, but hey, it’s worked for me for nearly 34 years of marriage and yes, for the most part, if someone calls to say they’ll be over in 5 minutes, or if they drop by totally unannounced, our home is usually ready for visitors. My favorite comment is from a lady who stopped by to pick up something at our house. She didn’t say anything while there but when she came back a couple days later she said, “I told my friend I’d been in your house and that it positively glowed!” Oooh…I loved that lady :)

    I can’t tell you everything about my “system” but one of the keys is music! Put on a CD that gets you happy and go to town cleaning, organizing, laundering, whatever. Life without music is hardly a life at all :)

  64. I’ve hesitated to do Fly Lady because the last time I checked her out I felt TERRIBLE when I didn’t do the stuff I was “supposed” to do. I’m wondering if that was just the phase of life I was in at the time as a newlywed… One would hope after 6 years of marriage and “homekeeping” while working full time that I’ve learned at least a couple of tricks.

    But I confess I never thought of putting laundry in the trunk of the car. That? Is brilliant.
    Mae recently posted..In the SpringMy Profile

  65. Stephanie says:

    Next time switch it out, dirty clothes in the car, dishes in the bathtub, with hot water run over them to let them soak while you have company. *Ahem. Not that I have ever done anything like that…. Once, I was at my sisters and found dishes in her dryer – lol!

  66. Solducky says:

    I had this exact same problem when we were newly married! There may or may not have been an instance where dh had to drag a small plastic laundry hamper or dishes out to the lawn so we could use the hose to spray them off…

    Now, I am so thankful for my bigger than a dinner plate sink, dishwasher, and I have learned that cleaning as you go really does actually save time and stress!

  67. Ok, I am poking and poking around here….I’ve been reading you for a long time cuz some old posts are very familiar!! Either way, I have a renewed interest in home caring (I finally have some TIME to devote to it and I refuse to do it in any way that doesn’t bring me JOY, plus we’ve moving soon and starting a new chapter!) so I’m loving reading your stuff….I am a Fly Lady fan, too. Thanks for the inspiration–I’ve gotta “get my Fly Lady back on” AND pick up my old Alexandra Stoddard books–maybe that’s what I’ll do for myself for Mother’s Day!! :)
    Tabitha recently posted..A Wake-Up CallMy Profile

  68. I too love FLYLADY! She’s most definitely a kindred spirit! In fact, one of the sections in one of my books (circa 1997-2000) has an “Order from Chaos” chapter which I’ve since turned into an series on our blog. Sooo, I guess this means you’re also a kindred spirit!
    Warmly,
    Tracey
    Tracey McBride~Frugal Luxuries ® recently posted..Garden of Earthly Delights- Planning and InspirationMy Profile

  69. Thank you for mentioning Flylady on your blog! I had never heard of her before and her simple routines and habits are changing my life!

  70. Oh, yes. Five years ago my mum died and I spiraled into depression. Although I was never super organized, my house was most of the time kept “good enough.” After her passing, I didn’t care. The laundry room grew into a clothes monster that threatened to spill through the first floor. The kitchen could’ve been easily condemned. And my bedroom… oh, dear. There usually was at least a good 5″ of clothes covering the whole carpeted floor, and this was a very large MB! As the mess grew, the motivation lessened. I started not inviting people over. The dinner parties became non existent and life became work and depressed living. Thank goodness I met a wonderful man who eventually needed to be invited in! His patience and under-standing, coupled with his extreme organizational skills, pulled me out of my funk. He actually helped me get everything under control, room by room, until the chaos my teenage son and I were living in became a distant memory. I still am somewhat disorganized and ADD, but anyone could stop by at a moment’s notice and, save for closing my son’s room door, I have hardly anything to hide. And my guests leave without an unfavourable impression! Now if anyone could help me keep my garden not looking like a haunted forest – *sigh* -

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