Friday, May 15, 2009

A Better Life. Is It Really Possible?

There are lots of things I would like to change about myself. Am I alone in this feeling? I hope not, and I think not. I'd like to lose these last 10 pounds of baby weight, I'd like clearer skin, I'd like a larger chest (TMI!). But I think what I'd like to change the most is my complete, chronic, lifelong inability to get and stay organized. I've tried FlyLady, I've tried Sidetracked Home Executives, I've tried my own plan, but nothing has ever stuck. I basically hate housework, but it has to be done, and I know (or at least I believe) that I would be happier if it were done more often. Maybe someday I'll be able to hire someone to do it for me, but until then, I need to improve. Also, my lack of knowing how to do this may have come from my mother hiring someone to do it, and I want my kids to be better at this than I am. I'm honestly not trying to blame someone else; I'm just trying to understand this problem, learn how to fix it, and hopefully not pass it on to my children.

So what would my "ideal" look like in this area of my life?

1. Laundry: Ideally, laundry would never get piled up and would always be put away the day it is done. No more searching through giant piles, and no more hearing David ask, "is this pile clean or dirty?"

2. Clutter: There have actually been moments when I have thought that, with the exception of pictures, it would be easier if the whole house was just destroyed and we could start over from scratch. Every time we move, a lot of stuff gets thrown away either while packing or unpacking. I can only imagine what the house/apartment would look like if we had never moved. There are so many things that just do not need to go with us to Arkansas.

3. Cleaning: I would like to have a reasonable schedule for doing the basic cleaning chores. I have tried this many times before, but life always gets in the way. Maybe I have too many things on my list. Anything is better than nothing, and as FlyLady says, "housework done incorrectly still blesses my family." Of course, this flies in the face of my upbringing (anything worth doing is worth doing well).

Now before I get too overwhelmed again, I should mention that I have made a lot of progress in a couple of areas, although there is always room for improvement:

1. Calendar: I use a calendar faithfully which has all but eliminated missing appointments and deadlines. I really can't imagine life without it anymore.

2. Meal planning: The calendar I use has a column to list meals for each day of the week. (I don't worry about assigning a day to them. I just check them off as I use them, and then I know what I haven't used yet when planning for the next week.) It also has a perforated column for a grocery list. This is wonderful for listing things that I use up as we go through the week. No more wondering, "now what was it I wanted to be sure to replace?" I cannot recommend strongly enough Amy Knapp's Family Organizer.

3. Checkbook and bill-paying: Much of the last year has been very tight, money-wise (more on that in another post). Although I've been fairly diligent about bill-paying and such for the past several years, it became especially critical recently, and I've become much better at planning for upcoming bills rather than just dealing with them as they arrive in the mail.

So how am I going to make these changes? I have no idea. But I'm not going to stop trying. First up, end this post, cook supper, and start putting away the laundry....

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