Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don't You Judge Me

You might say I had a bit of a meltdown last weekend as I sat on my couch, taking in the mess surrounding me.

Me: “This…this…this is no way to live!”
Cor: “Huh?” [Looking up from his nerd show, with a look of surprised confusion on his face.]
Me: “Look. Just look. There are piles of chaos and disaster at every turn! This is not how people should live.”
Cor: “Calm down. We’re doing the best we can. Maybe you’re just extra emotional at the moment.”
Me: “Oh no you don’t. Don’t go and blame this on PMS. This is a problem and it’s time we take control of it!”
Cor: “We’ll be fine. Everything will be fine. Try and relax.”
Me: *Huff* *Puff* *Pout*
Cor: [Reengages with nerd programming.]

Okay, so maybe my reaction to the mess that is our house was a little drama queen, but it really is overwhelming. It’s gotten SO out of hand that it’s hard to even find a starting point. Check out Exhibits A, B, C and D.

WARNING: Viewing these photos may be hazardous to your health. (And don’t you dare judge me.) ;)

Exhibit A: Our Family Room/Home Theater—the place where we spend most of our time. It definitely has that “lived in” look, don't ya think? Yeah, if it were in a barn where the pigs slopped and wallowed, perhaps.

Exhibit B: Our Bedroom—Yes, we actually sleep in this filth. I'm lucky there's even a clear path to get to my resting place. By the looks of things, I'm doing a little more resting and a little less cleaning. And don't you just love my half-assed attempt at a made bed? Yes, that's the bed when it's "made." Don’t you dare judge me.

Exhibit C: My Craft Room—Believe or not, I do get things accomplished in here, and I'm not just talking about the accomplishment of filling every square inch with stuff.

Exhibit D: Our Kitchen—This is actually on a clean(er) day for the kitchen. Only a few dishes flooding the sink. Only a few boxes of food on the counter. And my sewing machine on the table. Since when did my kitchen turn into a sewing room? Maybe if "Exhibit C" were in a bit more order I could actually use it to, I don't know, craft!

Are you judging me? You better not be.

Sure, most of the…ahem, “clutter” is mine. I’m a girl. I shop. I have things. It’s what I do, who I am. But what the photos don’t show are little dog-hair balls the size of prairie dogs roaming the floor. Dust blanketing every flat surface. Candy wrappers and bottles overflowing. It’s a wreck, I tell ya. A wreck!

The Problem: Cor and I live at work. We’re both gone for most of the day. When we’re home, we’re either eating, unwinding or sleeping. This doesn’t bode well for our abode.

The Solution: I made a chore chart. I know this is very “mom” of me, but it was this or let the chaos consume me. I choose this. To make it feel a little less motherly, I titled the chart “Back to Balance” and the items on it are tasks. But it’s really a chore chart (though, I'll never admit that to Cor).

The Chart: We each have one manageable task to do when we get home at night. Ideally, this is done before the television is turned on, before the laptop is opened and before our heads hit pillows. If we can’t do a night, we know that means two tasks the next night. Plus, we each have one weekend project to attend to. Call me psychic, but I see many busy weekends in our future.

The Result: Well, I’m three days in and I won’t lie; this task stuff is hard work. It makes me tired. BUT, it’s working. I now have a clean bathroom, clean laundry, clean floors, clean sheets, paid bills and dusted rooms. Not too shabby for three days, eh?

The Catch: I’ve been doing double duty. Cor is literally working 17-hour days right now, which doesn’t leave him much time for chores. Rather than let them pile up on him, I’ve been stepping in and doing his. I know he’d do the same for me.

Why am I sharing this dirty laundry (pun clearly intended) with you? Well, I thought my confession might inspire you if you find you're running into "piles of chaos and disaster at every turn." Or, if order and cleanliness are more your things, I thought you could share some tips for how you manage the madness. Advice and help are always appreciated.

You’re not judging me now, are you?


Holly said...

I wish I had some great advice, but I struggle in this area as well. Best of luck to you.

wemdy said...

hire some help. You'll be helping a poor starving college student and saving your sanity at the same time... I'm sure there's a point of happy medium of what you can afford and what someone is willing to take.

Emily Call said...

My motto: "excuse this mess, we're living here today!"

It really doesn't look that bad. When my house gets out of control I watch "how clean is your house" on the BBC channel and I always feel SO much better.

Good luck!

rae said...

looks very, very familiar!!!
I try my best to keep up, but end up spending an entire day in a mad cleaning marathon... usually right before company arrives :)

btw... LOVE my new polka dottie apron... thank you SOOOO much!!!! that was a fun surprise to see amongst my Idol schtuff :)
and your card is dahling, dahling!!!

noel joy said...

i feel so much better about myself!!! not because i'm any cleaner, but just knowing there are others out there like me! my husband is sure i'm the only one! lol.

wish i had some good advice for you. but my only cleaning tips is marrying mr. clean... but it's too late for that one! lol

AprilA said...

SO, we're more alike than we already thought!! :) Looks like my house on any given day. BUT, I do have slaves (I mean kids) that use the very same system you devised. One (or two) manageable chores every day after school, then homework, THEN play. It has worked well since they were little and they even do their own laundry now.

I am amazed that I can say this about keeping clutter at bay, but I have advice!! I really, really do!

My advice...get rid of stuff...weekly. We've been preparing to move and have been taking weekly trips to DI. It's amazing how much you can do without and how CLEAN rooms stay when there's nothing to clutter them up. Kids rooms, living rooms, even bathrooms! De-junkified and clean! I'm amazed at myself.

Of course, my title also changed to Vice president of Operations of the Anderton Group a few months back so that helps.

You CAN DO it!! :) But if you don't just know that there is ROOM and NEED for people like you in the world, to whom creativity and compassion are hundreds of times more important than clutter free spaces.

Emilie Ahern said...

Judge you??!
I'm ready to split a Best Friends necklace with you!

Sara said...

I feel your pain!! I had a meltdown like this in July....things are s-l-o-w-l-y coming around....GOOD LUCK!!!

Flagstaff said...

I totally know how you feel - sadly my mess is, well, all mine. I live by myself, but spend most of my time at my boyfriend's house. (And he is Neat. With the capital N.) This means I come home, dump all my stuff on the floor, grab what I need for the night, and head to his place. Repeat. After a couple weeks - I have to use the garage because I can't open the front door. I'm embarrassed if my boyfriend comes over because I feel like he's going to think I'm really that messy.

What works for me: invite people over - throw a party to celebrate something or just have a few friends over for dinner. Then, I have an incentive to get everything spiffed up other than, "I should". And a deadline. I even get a little excited about cleaning up because it's part of the planning. Sure, some stuff gets shoved in a closet "for later" but the majority of the clutter gets cleaned up, thrown out, donated or whatever.

Good luck! And p.s. messy is not disgusting. Messy is life. :)

Shaunte Wadley said...

You have a popcorn machine???!!

Nothing else matters. ;)

Jake said...

I've been working really hard over the past few months on a website called called PowrHouse ( I made it for EXACTLY this situation: helping people your (and my) age, living with at least one other person, keep a clean household.

It's currently in beta, but it works well (we're using it in our household). You add everyone you live with (kids, spouses, roommates, etc.), add your chores (names and how often they should be done), and PowrHouse keeps track of whose turn it is to do each chore (and sends email reminders every night, with links to click to signal that you've done the chores).

If you do end up using it, please contact me (my info is on the site) and let me know what you think, as I'm trying to make it as useful to as many types of households as possible. If not, thanks at least for reading this far :)

Tara said...

OMG!!!! this is totally MY HOUSE right now, it's like i'm looking in my own window, and i LOVE that you put it out there for all to see, because it's reality!! With twins and an 11 yo and both of us working full time, I feel like as soon as i clean someting, it gets back tot he way it was right behind me!!! it's insane! Thanks for the inspiration and also for making me realize i AM HUMAN and not alone!

Kim J. said...


That's all I've got. :) This is all way too familiar.

ronee said...

oh i am judging you..cause my house is perfect..yea right..three girls with three hours at the pool..make for piles of clean laundry floors to be done!
i love you megan!

diane said...

Absolutely NOT judging!!! I have been there (raised FOUR sons); and am still there in some rooms!
I think you are doing the right thing by tackling a little at a time. That's the best advice I have...and to get everyone to pick up AFTER THEMSELVES! Mine didn't(and still don't) and it's so helpful if they DO...
Good luck to you! There are more important things in life than a perfect house (although I realize tidiness does make us feel good). Either way, don't sweat it. If it's clean, good; if it's not, enjoy your life because it's not going to matter in the long run! :D

tccba said...

I went around my house one day and took photos of every room's disaster (I have 3 boys and a dog, so you've got nothing on me!). Then I put them all in a mini album I made titled, "My house on Any Given Day." Years from now when I have time to keep a clean house, I will have that memory of what was! Turn your mess into a creative opportunity too.

julie said...

Thank you for sharing. This reminds me so much of my own life, it's just scary! It's comforting to know we're not alone...and hey, I'm sure one of these days, we'll all succeed at keeping up with everything (ha!).