Monday, March 9, 2009

My system is flawed...

to say the very least. I need help. No, that's an understatement. I need a total housework/organizational makeover. I'm calling on all my "friends" to help. For real, if you love me, or even if you don't really know me, but have enjoyed reading about my insanity, please help a sista out. I have lost total control of my house and all things living, breathing, brewing, smelling within. I need to know, from you folks who have better cleaning skills than me, how in the world do you do it?? Is there a drive that comes from within that just won't let you go to bed with dishes in the sink? Cause that's problem #1 for me. The mess just really doesn't bother me until my kitchen smells so bad that someone with chronic sinusitis would even gag walking into the room. I'm embarrassed to tell you that most of the time the dishwasher doesn't even get loaded until we are completely out of sippy cups and coffee mugs. And sad thing is, we have a kajillion of both, so it's several days before I "have" to do a load.

Problem #2, HAIL. He's a 17 month old that just won't quit. He's into EVERYTHING all day long, so if I stop and try to get busy with something other than playing with him, he's eating shampoo or playing in the toilet.

#3 I tell myself all day long that I'm going to get busy as soon as I put all the kids to bed. Wonderful theory, but I always conk out within three seconds. I'm seriously borderline narcoleptic these days. What keeps you other parents awake? For real, I know I'm not the only Mom on the planet who is exhausted, so how do you stay up after hours?? Too much caffeine isn't beneficial for me, cause I end up waking up in the middle of the night and not getting back to sleep = more narcolepsy.

4. LAUNDRY. I HATE IT. I'm tempted to give away all but four outfits a piece just so I won't have to fold mounds of laundry and put them all away. So sad, but I can go months, 3-4-5 at a time, with out ever folding clothes. I just keep digging through the pile, shaking out the wrinkles, then washing and throwing clothes back onto the mountain again. The ones on the outer skirts need washing again, because we've been stepping on them for months.


Okay, so here's where y'all come in.... Please, even if you don't have a google account, take the .3 seconds it takes to create one, and leave a comment with any type of advice you may find beneficial. I need to know what works for you. Even if you don't have children at home any more, or if you haven't had children yet at all... if you've ever kept a house clean for more than 24 hours, I want to pick your brain. If you aren't willing to help, would you at least be willing to stop by and visit me when I get transferred to a mental institution?? Or, stop by the house and see that my children are being fed, since by that time BERT will be responsible for cleaning and feeding the Hudson Storm and our Princess. Goodness, DHR (or CPS fill in your state's agency that takes away children from unfit parents) will have to get involved by then.

For real though, I'm not asking for sweet comments about how I have four kids and I'm still a good Mom even with a stinky house... If Michelle Duggar can do it with 18, surely I can find a system that works with only 4. Maybe I should go out and adopt a few cult type, glazed over teenage girls to take care of the babies and cook meals... No, that won't work either. My boys would drive even the Duggar-ish of gals crazy. Come on y'all. I really do need some advice. Even if it's harsh, I need it. Thanks in advance for your help... And Bert thanks you too. He's tired of digging in "the pile" for underwear and dress socks.


Alison said...

Thanks so much for saying hi on my blog, Holly! And I know where you're coming from on the cleaning/organizing issue. Have you ever heard of the Fly Lady (www.flylady,net)? She is way cheesy, but has a great system. It's helped me a TON. Can't wait to read more!

Jessa Mullen said...

Well I am a clean freak !! But I also do not have any kiddos, just a VERY messy husband.. I do think 1 VERY messy husband counts for a few kids though !!! With me, I just can't stand it.. It puts me in a bad mood when the house is dirty and there are chores to be done.. NOw I know this helps you NONE.. But I just come by it naturally, my mother is a clean freak too.... I will say that every Sunday is cleaning day at my house.. no matter what.. So at least once a week everything gets done.. Because I have always done this, it is habit with me.. good luck !!

brooke said...

the only thing that makes me clean is when i know people are coming over. however, even then i end up shoving stuff in closets, drawers, or even just throwing things away!!! (i'm going to be the worst wife EVER!!!) and the only thing that gets me started is loud music. so, invite people over and turn on some really loud music.....wait, then your kids will wake up. i guess we're back to square one. all i can say is good luck! :)

Priscilla Gray said...

Hey Holly!! I totally read your blog regularly and LOVE it - the Button Eggs made me cry I laughed so hard!! I have been having the same organization/cleaning issues lately. I had no motivation to clean with having 2 toddlers and one on the way. I have had professional help (Lynn Morris) a couple of times this past month and she has shown me how to organize and de-clutter (still not super great at dusting, sweeping, mopping, etc). It has been wonderful! My first suggestion is to totally de-clutter. Her rule is if you don't LOVE it, get rid of it. I am a major pack-rat, so this has taken major determination on my part. Another tip: My cleaning time is normally in the morning. I can't stay awake at night either. I normally get one load of laundry and a load of dishes done first thing and then I slack off until around nap time. I normally clean up after kids right before nap time, so I can use nap time more wisely (you know, for things like the internet). Right now Whit & Brooke go to bed around 7:30ish, but I still don't do a ton after they go to bed, I am just whooped at the end of the day! It takes a little work to get things under control, but once it is under control maintaining isn't as bad. Sorry I wrote a book - Hope it helps a little!!

Dana said...

I don't know that I'm the best person to give advice on this sort of thing. I told my husband the other day that I hate cleaning but I hate the house being messy even more so I spend 90 percent of my time doing things that I hate and I resent it because I would rather play with my kids.. But, here are some things that have helped me improve a bit.

I got mesh laundry bags, the ones that look like a football jersey. I put each kids dirty clothes in them and wash and dry them in the bag. This works pretty well as long as you don't have a lot of blue jeans in there and you only get them half full. Then they have plenty of room to move around to get dry. A lot of times, the clothes don't get put away but the bag at least gets thrown in the right kids room.

I also recently threw out every pair of socks that my kids have and replaced them with socks that were exactly the same for that child but very different for each child. Emma's are white with pink bottoms, Chloe's are solid white. That way, when I'm searching through the piles for socks, I don't have to spend time holding them up to each other to see if their the same size. Forget the pretty socks, I'm into easy. I did the same thing with sippy cups. They have some at Walmart that are 97cents. That way, all the lids match and I don't have to spend hours searching for a lid to fit the right cup.

I also put Emma on a new allowance system where instead of getting paid to do chores, She starts out with seven dollars a week and I take away a quarter every time she doesn't do what I ask her to without complaining. That could probably get expensive with four children but it hasn't been that expensive for me because she tends to lose a couple of dollars a week ;) That's been a great motivator for us.

Oh and as for the caffeine waking you up in the middle of the night, that's me. I certainly wouldn't suggest more caffeine! It's a vicious cycle!

Holly said...

I am loving all of your ideas. Thanks so much for trying to help me! Dana, the sock thing and mesh bag idea are WONDERFUL. I will be doing that... as well as the sippy cups. You are too smart. Priscilla, CONGRATULATIONS! I didn't know you guys were expecting again. That's so great.
Brooke, you won't be a bad wife! Just a messy one like me! :-) Jessa, be thankful that being a clean freak comes natural. Alison, I'm going to check out that site today. Thanks so much, girls!

Tesney said...

I'm so with you. I used to be OCD about having a clean house...then I started taking meds for that. Plus I had a kid. Then I started working part time. Add a totally disgusting husband (re: cleaning habits, that is) and it makes for a really dirty house.

I am just like you...tired at night and can't get anything done after 5 p.m. I have a friend who can't go to bed until her house is picked up and clean. Who are these people? Not me, that's for sure. My best time is the mornings but I really like to go to the gym then because if not, I will never go (because I'm too tired at night). Before we leave for the gym, I usually get a couple of loads of laundry done and some picking up from the day before, but nothing really significant. The gym is always a 2hour trip so by the time we get home it's time for lunch, then nap. My kid won't take a nap unless I lay down with him, so I'm held hostage in the bed for two hours. If I move an inch he's up and naptime is over. So I usually read or nap (ok, I admit it) while he sleeps. He wakes up, time for supper, no motivation by that point in the day, and the cycle begins again.

I've tried everything...flylady, having on room to clean a day, etc. So far nothing has worked for me. I'm eager to read the comments of others.

I will say that one area of my house stays fairly clean...Clayton's bathroom which is also the guest bathroom. I try to at least wipe down surfaces and pick up every night after his bath. I have no explaination as to why I can do that but neglect the rest of the house. It's weird.

Kiera said...

Well, I hate to say it but I'm exactly like you!!! My goodness my house is a wreck and sadly even when people come over it doesn't get much better. My big problem is clutter. We have no storage space and I do need to just do a good spring cleaning and get rid of all the "junk" I have. But for some reason I just want to save it! Loved the comments Dana had. Some real good ones! Growing up we would always have to clean up from about 4-5 on Thursday afternoon and then we got pizza and got to watch Charles in Charge. ;) I just remember that being such a fun thing. But we didnt' get to order pizza unless we had all cleaned up. We also had chore charts and once we got enough stickers then we would get to pick a special treat or something like that. Laundry.. That is definitely my enemy. I got one of those 3 bag sorter things and go ahead and seperate, towels, dark, and white, and when the bag gets full I wash that load and then "try" to fold and put away. I do live out of a pile too though, but if I would stick with my system it would really help me. Dishes, I think whoever cooks the other does the dishes and Lucy is definitely getting big enough to help you load the dishwasher. Just try to make some competition out of it and i"m sure you will have 3 1/2 willing and able helpers. ;) I know not much help, but pave the way for me and let me know what helps you!!! i need the advice too! ;)

Kiera said...

I read back my comment and I don't "hate" that I'm like you. I hope you didn't read it that way, I'm saying our cleaning skills are the same and I guess that's why were such good friends! ;) Cause I don't honestly put that as a priority and most of the time I'm ok with that. ;) Love you!

Just for You Stationery said...

Hey Holly. This is Lizzie and Maggie (Celia's daughters). Not sure how we found your blog (blog hopping, probably), but we love it! You are so candid and real. Reminds us so much of your Mom's Christmas letters. Neither of us are great housekeepers FOR SURE. Here are a few things that help us...
- Buy each family member their own laundry basket. This way even when you don't fold, you only have to dig through one basket to find Bert's socks.
- Load the dishwasher every night before you sit down after the kids are in bed. Unload it while the kids are still strapped in the high chairs for breakfast.
- Buy a $10 dust buster. The kids will love to clean up their own mess if they get to use it.
Caution here...may cause siblings to try and create the biggest mess.
- We have a philosophy at our house... "If you want to keep it, take it to your room. If not, it goes in the trash before Mom goes to bed." Our husbands hate this concept, but it works on the kids.
They will test this!
- Shout Color Catchers!!! You do not have to sort any laundry ever. Just fill the washer with everything in your hamper and toss a sheet on top. Clothes will not bleed on each other.
- Pay Thunder and Lightning to watch Hail. It's amazing what our kids will do for a QUARTER.
- Pick up, don't worry about cleaning up. Your house will look cleaner just because it's not cluttered.
Good Luck!

Mr. Know It All said...

My advice is to hire some young students to help out around the house. Also, I think you are asking too much from your husband. Looking for underwear & socks sounds like nonsense to me.

Voice of Reason said...

Why is it that stay at home dads get so much more done than you moms?

Dana said...

LOL at Mr. Know It All and Voice of Reason..

The sad thing is, if you saw my house right now, you'd know that I'm a hypocrite for offering anyone advice on housework! I do hope it helps YOU though!

Holly said...

You guys are really helping more than you will ever know... Tesney, you are hilarious. Kiera, of course I didn't take that the wrong way. And Maggie & Lizzie!! Wow!! So great to hear from y'all. Thanks so much for everyones help, seriously. As for the smart aleks that I can't seem to avoid (they are family) I have one thing to say... stick it where the sun don't shine!

Supabloggasuprememama said...

girl...I am so sorry I am so behind on all myblog reading. Its funny that you just wrote this because I have been going through my own reorganization/nesting of sorts. I do think its such a challenge to try and survive with more than one child, let alone four. I used to think I had it all together, as I am a neat freak. And then I had children. There are just some things you have to LET GO sometimes in order to survive. I have decided if I didn't get my act together, I would not survive. I did not take the time to read everyones comments above, because I myself am short on time! but, have you tried She has good practical tips on there.

But this is what I have resolved to do once a week to keep everything clean. I always clean once a week, but I never have an organized home. I tend to desperately shove everything anywhere and then move on, until I freak out because I cant find a pacie as im leaving, etc. etc.

Now that I am organized, (I cleaned out FIFTEEN trashbags this last week from my house of CLUTTER!!!) I fully intend to stay that way. There is now a place for everythign and everythign in its place. I feel like I'm getting my life back. sad but true. Get burt to help. get someone to take the kids and just gut out the house in a weekend. ;)

Ive decided to once a week go through with a trash bag and get rid of clutter, as well as sorting. Im hoping aiden is getting to that age where hecan start to help. I am exhausted at night as well. i guess its just nice to know Im not alone. but hang in there. you are a wonderful mother and honest to goodness that is what matters!

I HATE LAUNDRY so i have no tips there-I was SIX baskets behind and JUST FINISHED folding them.

okay i hope i wasnt rambling. good luck!!!