Thursday, June 17, 2010

Project Organize My House

If any of you have ever been to my house unannounced, you know it's not very clean. Sigh. I hereby admit to being a horrible house cleaner/organizer (is that called a housekeeper?). I really am bad. If someone gives me a few hours notice that they're coming over, I spend those next few hours feverishly getting my house to "adequate" status, hoping they'll think they just caught me on a rough day. Pitiful, I know. I have heard it called the CHAOS syndrome. CHAOS = Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Sounds just about right.

Anyways, since my weight-loss project has been put on hold, I decided it's time to tackle a new project.

This is my ultimate goal:

Have and maintain a completely clean and organized house by the end of 2010.

Sounds like a pretty hefty goal for someone so admittedly slobbish, huh? But I have six months to do it and I am feeling very confident. My mom once told me as people we tend to overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in a year. I think she's right. I'm using that idea and Alma 37:6 as my mantra: "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass."

The first thing I did was write down everything I could think of that would be a part of my ultimate goal. Everything. It was a long list. Then I organized those into categories, and assigned each category a place in my priority list. First came the kitchen.

Man, I hate the kitchen. This has been a common utterance in my grown up life. And probably earlier too. I really hate it and everything associated with it. As one example, I wear heavy-duty gloves every time I do the dishes.

And now, let me tell you about my current kitchen situation.

It'y tiny. As in most of my kitchen tools are in boxes in the storage closet. As in you can reach every cabinet within one step from the exact middle. As in it has to have a mini-trash can under the sink because that's the only place for it. It's literally a closet. Except it's a bad closet, because it doesn't have doors. And it's the first thing visible to others when I open the front door. It really is the WORST CASE SCENARIO!

Ok, I'm sure you get the picture.

But, I decided that the kitchen is the most important thing to get under control and will make the biggest difference in my family's happiness and productivity.

So I made a plan for the kitchen. It's called "July: Month of the Kitchen." Catchy, eh? :)

This plan will obviously start in July while I do some other stuff for the remaining days of June.

I'm going to write out my whole plan here. Feel free to skip it if you want. Or even better, read it and offer me suggestions. Posting on the blog accomplishes a few things: 1) Another copy of it if my original is lost or destroyed. 2) Accountability! 3) Feedback, suggestions, and ideas. I hope so, at least.

And now, (drum roll here), THE PLAN:


July: Month of the Kitchen

By the end of the month I will:
  • clean up completely after every meal, including dishes, counters, leftovers, table, sink, and sweep
  • label groceries with purchase date and put away as soon they're brought in
  • maintain list of food in house and leftovers in fridge
  • have cupboards organized and labeled
  • have 1 month's worth of meal plans (breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks) compiled, with recipes printed on cards and organized into weekly packets
  • organize heavy duty cleaning needs
  • grocery shop the same day each week
  • pack daily lunches for Jeff
Cleaning Plan:
  • Daily: dishes, counters, sink, sweep, leftovers in fridge and added to list
  • Weekly: mop, dump out old food
  • Monthly: oven, fridge, wipe down cabinets and walls, make food storage list
  • As Needed: trash out
Kitchen Maintenance Goals:
  • Plan 2 weeks meals at a time
  • Have one regular weekly shopping day
  • Maintain food lists
  • Keep current on cleaning plan
  • Do everything mentioned above
Weekly Goals

Week One:
  • Keep floor clear (yes, this is hard for me)
  • Clear table off after every meal
  • Throw away trash after every meal
  • Get dishes caught up
(See what I mean about small and simple? The above goals are totally do-able, but will still make a big difference overall. I'm feelin' good!)

Week Two:
  • Wash dishes after every meal
  • Organize cupboards and make labels
  • Gather recipes and make packets
  • Plan how to make food lists and make them
  • Buy calendar for fridge door
Week Three:
  • Clean out fridge and freezer
  • Clean oven
  • Make meal plan for next 2 weeks (including Jeff's lunches)
  • Go shopping, label groceries with date, put away immediately, mark on list
Week Four:
  • Completely clean after every meal
  • Last bit of catch-up cleaning
  • Maintain food lists
  • Shop on regular day
  • Mark on calendar for next month's cleaning days
  • Assess and make needed changes
And now one of my favorite parts, a motivational note to myself. (And yes, this is actually written down on my plan.)

This is a great plan! Stick to it everyday, ask for help from Heavenly Father, and expect Him to bless you. Doing this consistently through June will help you become a more organized person, will bless your life and the lives of your family, will bring you much happiness and satisfaction, and will get you one step closer to Godliness. YOU CAN DO IT!

And now one final scripture: Ether 12:27 "for if they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I am determined that with hard work from me and help from Heavenly Father, I can beat this once and for all and make home cleanliness and organization a strength instead of a weakness. I am excited to get to work! Wish me luck!

If you made it all the way through, I'd love to know what you think and if you have any suggestions for me. Thanks so much!


debrajo said...

I've been feeling drabby about my weight loss goals, and thought I'd check your weight loss blog to see how you were doing with your progress. : ) Well, congratulations. : ) That's wonderful that you're expecting! Hang in there!

If it makes you feel better, you're not the only one with a CHAOS syndrome. You should see the desk that I'm sitting at right now. *sigh* Just remind yourself that these days will be ones you wish for later. While we have to work on keeping our houses in order, also remember that someday, all the handprints will be gone, and all the laundry, and you'll miss these times with your babies. So don't beat yourself up too much if you don't finish everything you want all the time.

I think that your method of segmenting the cleaning is smart. Breaking it up will make it less overwhelming!

debrajo said...

Oh, I also wanted to say that for maintenance (which is the hardest part in many ways) you have to identify where your bad habit is that started the problem in the first place if you're going to keep your house clean. For example, my car tends to get trashed in no time at all, so then when I'd clean it out, or even just come in the door without cleaning out my car completely, I would dump everything in my hands on the table, or the couch, or by the door, and then sit down because I was tired. It always turns into a bigger deal later, or a bigger pile, and before I know it, it's out of control. I have started putting everything in my hands away before I go back out to the car. So, I'll bring the kids in and put the diaper bag IN THEIR ROOM. Then I go back for the next pile, and put the bags of groceries away and throw the plastic bags away, and I put my sunglasses up, and hang my keys in the right place, and put my purse away.... This method has helped me tremendously. I also have recently established a house rule that we cannot put mail on the kitchen island. My husband is starting to get on board with correcting the similar bad habits he has made with me, so that helps, too.

Did you know that if you do something consistently for 21 days, it turns into a habit? If you get to 10 days and then mess up, you have to start over counting the 21 days, but that helps me.

I also have started folding the clothes & hanging them up as I pull them out of the dryer instead of putting them in baskets or dumping them on the couch--that one has helped me out tremendously.

We've been quoting the same scripture you have up. The Lord is showing us our weakenesses so that we can make them strong, too (in many various places of our lives). You have the best idea--pray for help as you work on achieving each goal, and continue to focus on it. In the strength of the Lord you can do ALL things.

Adam, Sarah, Kevin, Aaron, and Nathan said...

I have gone to a few BYU-Id Education week where Marie Ricks has talked about this same thing...having a house or order. She is pretty good. Here is her website. I haven't gone through this site much but I am sure there are some helpful hints and fun things to look at. Have a Great day Bethany!!

debrajo said...

Haha, you're probably going to be sick of my comments. : )

Yesterday in scripture study before we read our verses, we picked the question, "How can we not feel overwhelmed today?" For Mitch it applied to work and other things he was dealing with, and for me it applied to taking care of the kids and keeping the house clean (jobs that tend to overwhelm me). We were reading in Alma, in the war chapters, 51:25, and there is a phrase that talks about how they would defend & maintain, so we applied that to our Living Room. Throughout the day, I reminded myself to defend and maintain the cleanliness of the Living Room instead of worrying about the entire house. Then in verse 26, I think, it talked about how they then took over the border cities. I was amazed at how much I got done yesterday, because I really did "defend and maintain" the Living Room, and throughout the day, when the kids were happy or sleeping I focussed on taking over the "border cities" like cleaning the hall bathroom, doing the dishes, and putting away the laundry.

I have plenty of more "border cities" to conquer in my home today, but I see progress, and it's the progress that feels good. Keep it up, Bethany! WE CAN DO IT!

Natalie said...

Good for you, Bethany! That's quite an awesome plan you have. Good luck!

The Hatch Family said...

You can do it! Start small, and don't get hard on yourself. We had a tiny apartment kitchen last year. We always clean the kitchen before we go to bed, even if we're tired and don't feel like doing it. For one, it reduced the bug problem, and two, its so much nicer to wake up to a clean kitchen. Thank goodness for a dishwasher! I'm rooting for ya!

Marie said...

I just say I'm "domestically challenged" :). A house doesn't have to perfect if it's homey, but organization does help! Good luck with your mission.

Our Blog Spot said...

Ok, so I just so happened to marry the words most organized (OCD?? Hmmm....), tidy, clean husband on the face of the planet. The guy just naturally loooves a clean home. Good for me, when I don't feel like picking up the house (he does it); bad for me, when I don't feel like picking up the house (because I didn't do it).

Ya know what I mean!? HA!

Anyway, I LOVE all your ideas. Sounds great! Now, this is taking A LOT for me to divuldge my secret here. A lot. It's kind of a big deal. Hold on!! .

My god send. It lays out weekly dinner recipes at a time. The best part? It tells you EVERY SINGLE THING that you are going to make (main dish, salad, side, desert), and even works in left overs... ummmm.... genius! Also, every week is totally different, and every day is totally different from the next. I like variety, but my brain doesn't just think out outside of the box. I LOVE that someone else can do all the creative work for me, and then I get to feel like a rock star, when i crank out totally different meals every day of the month. Also (and, this really is HUGE for me) it gives complete shopping lists for every week! No guess work, no forgotten grocery items.

Anyway, let me know if it works for you at all. I have gotten to the point where I mix it up most weeks, picking and choosing what I like and don't like, but on weeks where I am just too burned out, I love knowing that at least I know what's for dinner, and that I am prepared.

And... I'm really lazy with dinner prep. SO, it's PERFECT for me!! AND FREE!!