Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On Being Productive

Long ago, I discovered the benefits of FlyLady. I love FlyLady. My control journal is ever present, and each of my children has one of their own.

I grew up in a home where CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) reigned most of the time, unless Pop was coming home from a work trip. While he was gone, he would stay in motels or with host families, in generally much nicer surroundings than our home--at least this is what Mom told us.

She would get word that he was on his way home, and the frenzy would begin. Things that had lain around for days would suddenly be put...somewhere. It was not a home where everything had a place, so few things could actually be put away.

I learned housekeeping from my Grandma, bless her heart. Her house was neat and clean and orderly and predictable.

I am saddened that my own home does not always follow suit...but I must keep a few things in mind.

First, I have four children, the Big Three of whom are home schooled. This means We Live Here--five of us are here nearly all the time. We use lots of dishes and cloth napkins and towels throughout the day, every day. We play games and we play with toys. The yard gets used a lot, and dirt and sand (and sticks and rocks, though they're not supposed to...) get tracked in multiple times each day. There are not extended hours spent somewhere else, making messes that janitors or cleaning ladies clean up. We are constantly doing spot maintenance.

This is not to say that the kids don't have chores--they do, and they actually do them daily. Sometimes more than once. They are each assigned a room of the house where there are particular jobs that must be accomplished. In fact, the rule of our home is that before any meal, two chores must be performed. "He who does not work, neither shall he eat." Proverbs, my friend, are a beautiful thing.

Suffice it to say, this is not a home where both parents leave in the morning for an eight (or more) hour work day, dropping the kids off somewhere for the entire day, come home around suppertime, leave again for an evening full of soccer or baseball games, and then come home again just in time for bed. We have very dear friends whose lives mirror this example, literally, and their homes are immaculate almost all the time. I have to remind myself that they are in their homes for two or three hours each day, if even that, which means there is almost no time to make the kind of messes that are made by 9:00 in the morning almost daily in our home!

We Live Here.

Second, this home is rather on the small side and very limited storage-wise. Hence the addition, for Pete's sake. We are currently surrounded by everything we own--as in, we can actually see everything that we own. There is one closet, under the stairs, where normal closetish things are stored: rubber stamps (in a huge tub), Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and sewing odds and ends. The basement is really a cellar, which this time of year means that water comes seeping through the limestone walls when it rains. And this year, it's rained a lot. Rubbermaid, alas, though wonderful against standing water, cannot always offer protection from constant humidity. This means, of course, that the basement (what little of it there is) does not afford household storage.

The attic is a joke. It holds insulation. That's all it has room for. End of story.

And the garage is so small I nearly bump the side mirrors on my mini-van when I park in it (when I could park in it--it is currently lumber and supply storage for the addition!). No storage there, either.

Now, this will all shortly be remedied by virtue of the addition, thanks be to God! The addition, which will include a humongous pantry, two gigantic closets, a family closet, an upstairs laundry room, and a water-tight basement promising oodles of storage space!! Not to mention eighteen feet of window seat, underneath which will be cubbies, and at the end of which will be a book shelf with cupboards below. I definitely take comfort in these thoughts. Don't get me wrong, I am happy with what we have. And I am definitely not planning a shopping spree to fill all the new space--the space is for what we need and have (including children, thanks be to God!!)!! However, I am hoping to be a little less stressed (and feel a little more freedom of movement than can currently be felt in our 1200 square feeties!) when there are homes for the things we have.

But at the moment.....

I will be dealing with the School Table today. It will be cleared off completely and reorganized...but not before everything comes out from underneath (where the bins are stored--each child has a wooden bin on wheels which contains all of their text books and supplies). The bookshelves need overhauling and reorganizing as well.

Now, FlyLady says, "Don't start something that will overwhelm you, for Pete's sake." Ok, not in those exact words, but that's what she says. She's all about doing anything for 15 minutes--wiping down the bathroom or shining up the kitchen sink. I know full well that the school table will take longer than 15 minutes, but blast it, it needs to be done.

Well, here's to hoping: hoping that I have the uninterrupted time I need to get through the things on the table; hoping that I carefully and correctly discern the need for each thing I come across (it has, after all, become something of a catch-all) so that I can discard the things we do not need; hoping that when I am finished, my goal of organization of this small area will make a difference, at least in the short term.

Here's to a productive day!


Heather said...

Just when I start to think that 936 sq ft for a family of 3 was too small, here comes your post. I'll be praying that your addition gets finished quickly!

Jenni said...

So when DOES Flylady say to tackle the overwhelming tasks?

Our cellar leaks too. We can't actually use it for anything. I told My Beloved we should just fill it with cement!

Sounds like your addition will be lovely. Take lots of before and after pictures!