Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Week 10

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind.  Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little Secrets  By Dana K. White, creator of the blog A Slob Comes Clean.

I don’t remember now how this book was brought to my attention, it might have been mentioned in a blog or suggested by someone on a social media channel, but I reserved it at the library and read it in a day.  She is funny and definitely not a BO – born organized person.  In fact she warns you straight out that she is not organized and still isn’t, but that is what makes her book different from all the other get organized books out there.  They are all written by people who can’t truly comprehend disorderly people. 

She comes at the issue with a “takes one to know one” attitude and shares how she is working through the process of succeeding.  Not how she crossed the finish line to organized, but how she keeps working towards progress.

I like to read organizing books, decluttering books, books on how to manage your stuff, your schedule and your time.  I usually feel like I’m two steps behind and so disorganized.  I don’t know if what I feel like is reflected in my actual reality, but I definitely find myself staring at a task discouraged because it didn’t stay done.  Give me a mess of art supplies, clothes, paper, hardware or terra cotta pots, and I can tidy, organize and categorize my way out of anything and it usually will stay neat because when I’m done, everything has a home.  I like that very much.

However, I have many times when I walk into the kitchen and almost cry because it seems like all the counter space is filled with dirty pots and pans and it feels like I just spent hours cleaning yesterday.  I did actually but Sir T wants to eat multiple times a day and if you don’t wash every dish immediately after using it, they pile up…. AGAIN.  Thus, I have been so frustrated when I can’t keep my act together and this leads to reading many, many books on how to be better at well…. Everything.

Working my way through the book which was very entertaining in a slightly horrifying way to my attention to every detail perfectionistic way, I found that I did have a common thought process as Dana.  While we may be on opposite sides of the spectrum in what we notice around us – she does not SEE clutter as it disappears into the background for her, while it will drive me buggy every time I see it even though I may not make the time or effort to tidy it – we are both project people.  We want the finish line, breaking of the tape and the cheers of the crowd and then the ability to walk away feeling accomplished.

This ah ha moment was pretty big for me although my husband and best friend didn’t seem surprised by this revelation.  A project person is someone who loves to tackle a problem, creatively solve it and then is finished.  Done, as in I do not have to do that again kind of thing.  Dishes and feeding people, sweeping the floor and laundry are not projects that stay DONE.  Even gardens don’t stay done which has also contributed to much despair on my part.

Pot bound and hot, I had trouble keeping this primrose happy.

Dana’s solution to the downside of this shared aspect of our personality is self-discipline.  She doesn’t come right out and say it, but her admonishment that you can only get the dishes done by doing them.  Reading a book, searching Pinterest for the best way to wash dishes, looking up 25 ways to keep your kitchen clean and watching videos about it will not solve the problem.  You just gotta wash the dishes after every meal until it becomes a non-negotiable habit. 

Ugh.  There is no finish line with cheering people here.  I do not have a great deal of self-control.  It is one of the fruits of the spirit and a very important character trait.  I wish I had more of it and it were easy to see the mess and just get it done but I don’t.  I now understand that being a project oriented person often gives the illusion that I have a lot of self-discipline but the truth of the matter is I often slack off on needed chores until it turns into “project save the kitchen” or “project people are coming over”.   Enter cleaning frenzy stage left. 

Unlike Dana who literally doesn’t see messes as they just blend into the background, (I cannot fathom thinking like this) I SEE everything and it torments me while I do nothing.  I am beating myself up coming and going in this aspect.  This unnecessary stress is ridiculous but I never understood why it was so hard.  I would be so frustrated, thinking that this should be easy and what was wrong with me, a relatively intelligent individual who actually thrives in a tidy environment, unable to force myself to keep my home in my preferred state of company ready at all times.  I have no children, it shouldn’t be that hard.  For all of you who do have children, you are amazing.  I can’t imagine trying to keep a house neat with little tornados undoing everything.

I am grateful that I read this book.  A little self-awareness is a wonderful thing and the ability to laugh while learning it is a blessing.  So I have decided for this project of engaging differently with house chores (see what I did there?)  I’m going to just do it.  One choice at a time for better and if I can make it a mini project, well then, that’s even better!

Project water the primrose is successful!  The crowd (ok just me) goes wild!

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