Save us, Oh Lord, from the messes of our own making

Man, that’s an awesome title up there.  Like, just THINK of all the theological goodness I’m about to spew at you.

Just kidding. Let’s talk about my laundry room.

Right now, this is the view from the doorway of my nice, large, laundry room.

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Please excuse the glare coming from the window.

I LOVE this room.  It’s huge.  We have tons of storage space in there for all sorts of things, plus room for all the laundry type stuff, folding laundry in there and whatnot.

But if you can’t tell, it’s kind of a disaster.  Some things are fairly well organized, and just need some sprucing up.

For example, this is the shelf on the wall to the right when you come in.

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Some of those glassware things can be consolidated, some things better stacked, etc.  But the worst thing about it is that you might drop something if you are getting something off the top.  Not tooooo bad. (we won’t talk about UNDER the table, which is a file cabinet of no organization, boxes and containers for bottle returns.)

Or the shelves along the other wall.

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It’s kind of hard to tell from the pile in FRONT of the shelves, but these are actually fairly well organized.  There is a bunch of stuff that can probably go in the trash/donated, but it’s pretty minimal.

But the piles of boxes, the craft supplies and whatnot is the real problem.

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Those four three drawer carts are supposed to be craft supplies, puzzles and some various kids toys like blocks and a peg board set and such.  If you can’t tell, it’s a mess.  The pile in front of everything is ALSO a mess.  About half of the boxes are office supplies from when we moved things around a while back.  Other boxes are too small kids clothing, unused cloth diapers (need to be sold/donated/something).  And a bunch of other random stuff that needs to either find a home, or be gone.

We’re hosting Thanksgiving here this year.  Now, there is ZERO reason for anyone but Chris or I to go in the laundry room on that day.  There’s a door.  We could stuff it full of crap from the rest of the house and call it a day.  But when this room is bad like this, I can not function.  More specifically, I can’t do laundry.  I like to put the baskets for each person on the table under the shelf, sort clean laundry into those and then take them to each room to put away.  But if it’s a mess in there, and the table is covered in who knows what, I can’t do that.  And then we run out of clean underwear.  And that’s not good.

So my goal for the next couple days is to tackle this project.  If we can get it done quickly, all the better!  You can all look forward to pictures of a well organized room, hopefully in the near future!

Green Clean

This is the month of spring cleaning and blogs are really pushing out a ton of GREAT information on Going Green.  Personally, I’m not an “environmentalist”.  I think it’s important for us to be stewards of the Earth and I think it’s important to keep ourselves healthy and safe.  So what does this mean for me?  Well, I’m becoming very convicted on two big topics: natural cleaning and triclosan.  So in my home I’m moving “back in time” by using a LOT more vinegar and baking soda and getting rid of all my store bought cleansers and my Bath and Body Works antibacterial soap.

I’ll be posting a bit more about both of these topics during the rest of April.  I’ve had a lot of focus on the “Catholic” part of me lately (Lent does that to you!) but seasons come and go, and I’m starting a season of more “Mom” and “Homemaker”.  A lot of this is the “Young” part too.  I’ve noticed that the green movement is very much a young person’s movement.  My generation is starting to recognize that frugality and naturalness are better than convenience.  We might still have all our iPads and plasma tv’s, but we’re driving hybrids (or biking!) and using natural cleansers in our NYC lofts.

So today, besides my spring cleaning projects, I used a box that I got at the church garage sale (buying second-hand, what a great Green thing to do!) to finally pack up all the junk I’m getting out of my house.  A good chunk of this is the soap that I love.. but I love my health more and the dangers of triclosan are really starting to hit home with me.

Just look at all this stuff I’m getting rid of!  And MOST of it is being replaced with a box of baking soda and a big bottle of vinegar (which are both MUCH MUCH MUCH cheaper and last longer!).

If you are looking for some more info on this (although I will dedicate a few more posts to these topics) check out Kitchen Stewardships recent post on this topic.

What does it cost?

Yesterday when I was picking up my nephew to babysit, I was talking with my sister.  We both agreed that we could probably thouroughly clean our houses in about an hour if we put the time and effort into really getting it done.

So today, the experiment starts.  I’m not going to try and tackle the whole house at one go today, simply due to an extremely crabby, needy teething 9 month old who needs her mama when she’s up.  To this point though, I have cleaned my kitchen.  It’s not a totally thourgh cleaning (like, I didn’t clean my stove or any such nonsense).  It’s just a general look at how long it takes to do most of those everyday or weekly chores.  Here’s my breakdown in order completed:

– Putting away items on counters (surface cleaning, includes unloading full dishwasher, putting away pop/beer cans, etc)
Time spent: 6:01
– Dishes (there was a pretty large amount of stuff, including reloading the dishwasher)
Time spent: 18:09
– Wiping down counters and putting away just washed dishes
Time spent: 5:51
-Sweeping
Time spent: 2:12
– Mopping (huge scrub job, on hands on knees with a brush.  the floor REALLY needed this.  I’d shave about 6 minutes off total for it if not necessary.)
Time spent: 8:00

TOTAL TIME: 42:35

Less than 45 minutes to do a really good job on my kitchen?   What?!  That’s not that long!  And think of this, if those little jobs were kept up with then an overall “I need to clean the kitchen” could probably done in about 20 minutes.

Lesson: keep up on dishes.  This means unloading the dishwasher right away, putting dishes in the dishwasher immediately (helps if the dishwasher is empty) and washing dishes at least nightly, if not after every meal.  If that one thing (well, combo of things) is done, then cleaning the kitchen (wiping down, sweeping and mopping) will be a quick, painless chore.
On top of this, I burned around 200 calories!  What a bonus!

As wives, mothers, housewives (stay at home or working) we need to remember that our homes should be run well.  Lots of other sites talk about this concept and I’m really starting to embrace it.  If we were working at McDonald’s and our job was to keep that kitchen clean at all times, don’t you think we’d do it?  Our trouble that we face in our homes is that we are both the employee and the boss.  And it can be hard to stop reading a blog or eating chocolate and drinking margaritas (wait, you don’t do that?).  But our God given calling is to provide a pleasant, happy, clean home.  Our houses don’t have to look like the ones in Better Homes and Gardens.  It’s not going to happen if you have any kids!  But we can make sure that our homes are safe, there aren’t any bug infestations, there’s clean underwear and there’s fresh nutritious food for our families.  If we can do that we are well on our way to being successful home makers!

Organizational confession

I admit it: I love organization.  But I do not love organizing.

I’m a reader.  I taught myself to read when I was like, 4 or 5 or some young age like that.  Even now, if I’m not reading some sort of entertaining novel I feel like I’m incomplete.  I have to read while eating (even if it’s just the nutrition facts on the box of cereal).  So if you combine that with my love of “organization” you will easily see that I fall into the “reads everything about organization, tries it for 5 minutes, then reads something new!” category.

This month over at the Fly Lady the habit of the month is her base habit: shining your sink every night.  Now, I’ve attempted to follow the fly lady system for about the past six months.  She says it is all about simplicity, but frankly I can’t handle it.  31 days worth of babysteps?  Nope, I need to focus on small things.  15 minutes of decluttering?  Nice idea, babe, but how am I supposed to do that and spend time reading things on the internet?  However, this sink shining thing (which I’ve been trying to go at full force) has seen some success.  Most (not all) nights there are no dishes in the sink and it’s realitivly clean in the kitchen.  It IS a good feeling to wake up and not have to worry about doing dishes.

But frankly, her system is too much for me and it just doesn’t work. My schedule varies every week so I can’t always have a “weekly home blessing hour” on Mondays, have errand day be Thursdays and clean out my car on Fridays (heck, I’d be happy if that happened once a month, let alone once a week!).  Her system also relies heavily on her email system, with daily emails of her “flight plan” and testimonials that sound suspiciously cheesy and form written.  There’s no room to have both the support system with your own variation of the cleaning system.

So, of course, I’m looking for a new system.  But this time, I’m trying to take what is good and what works from the Fly system and combine it with whatever other new system I find.  Because being a clean, organized homemaker isn’t going to happen with anyone else’s system.  I need to find MY system.  And guess what, even if I come up with a great thing that works for me, it probably won’t work for you. I’m sorry, dear dear reader.  But this is not the point of my blog.  I’m not here to give you a magic formula.  Rather, I’m here to just tell you what I’m doing so maybe you can find one little thing that works for you.  And I’m here to support you as you journey in your vocation.  Cause your vocation is different than mine.   There is no “One Size Fits All” vocation.

I’m off to read some more tips and tricks.  There’s a pile of dishes too, waiting to be done after a night where I was at a wedding having a fantastic time.  And that’s what it’s all about.  When you die, NO ONE will care if you washed every dish as soon as you were done with it or had a shiny sink every morning.  No, they will not.  No one. I repeat, not one person will care about that.   But they’ll look back at that random wedding where you wore a hot dress, had make up on and were smiling, laughing, taking pictures and just having a great time dancing like you were 16 and in love (even though you’re 23/31/45/whatever and in love).

Procrastination

I’m procrastinating.  Grace is sleeping, I am wearing my apron, and my home needs to be cleaned.  But I’ve done laundry (it’s in the washer/dryer) and I’ve washed dishes and unloaded the dishwasher.  I just don’t want to take care of anything else.  I don’t want to do anything but sit on my butt!

I want to do things, but I don’t want to do the things I can do.  I want to start my cake decorating class, but I”ve got a month until then.  I want to learn how to make super cute aprons, but I have no money to buy aprons (or anywhere to work on it).  I want my apartment clean, I just don’t want to do the work.

The Blessed Mother is totally one of my usual heroes.   She helps me quite often with mothering issues.  I think now I need her intercession for housekeeping issues.  So here I go, “Hi Ho, Hi Ho”, it’s off to clean I go!

Make me angry.

I have a weird response to being angry: I clean.  For example, if Chris and I are in a heated discussion, I will likely calm down by scrubbing the bathroom, folding clothes, or washing dishes (typically the chores I least like to do!).  It’s surprising to me that Chris hasn’t figured this out and used it against me to get me to clean, cause that would probably work!

Today, although it is Sunday, I am accomplishing things!  Chris is working and we went to mass yesterday, so I have the house to myself this  morning.  While I didn’t get too much done earlier, I’m getting some done now!  Here’s my list:

  • Reorganize my clothes and get them all hung up
  • Clean off the dining room table
  • Tidy up the rest of the house

Small list, yes, but it is Sunday and I’ll likely only be working on this for a while.  Hooray for getting things done!

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Babies make everything more.

You may think that I forgot to finish that sentance.  I truly didn’t.  Babies just make everything more: more exciting, more fun, more crazy, more busy, more everything!

This past Saturday (early early in the morning after a long long night) we welcomed Zeke Vitale into our ever growing family!

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He’s quite the charmer, we already love him so much!  He is actually smaller than Gracie was, only 7lbs 5ozs.

Somehow though, babies make me more forgetful.  So today I’m scrambling about trying to get everything to a state of “normal”.  So here’s what I’m doing/have done today!

  • Get the Curtains postcards uploaded to Staples to be printed (this is taking a horrifically long time)
  • Clean up in the kitchen (almost done!)
  • Finish going through my clothes and put them away (1st part done, 2d part is a hopeful)
  • organize Grace’s clothes (yes, that is still lingering on my list!)

But you know how it is, babies make things more!  Grace is, I think, hitting a growth spurt.  All she has done today has been eating and sleeping.  It’s nice when the sleeping happens, cause it’s letting me get things done, but when she is awake she is being quite needy, especially in regards to eating, but also playing.  I”m practicing being a “Yes Mom” who spends time giving to her kids, so I have no problem cuddling or giggling with Gracie. It’s quite nice to take that break as a matter of fact!

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See what fun we have after taking a shower?

My girl is starting to make noises in her room, so I’m going to scurry and wash some dishes before she really wakes up.  Tata for now!

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