I have kept up the routine from Monday, really focusing on the four daily tasks.
Dishes: I have managed to keep them caught up, so the kitchen has stayed looking nice. I have been loading and washing as I go when fixing meals and snacks. The longest dish task over the past couple of days has been the unloading of the dishwasher.
Laundry: I have done two loads a day and am starting to catch up on it, too. All in all I guess I had fallen behind by about 8 or 10 loads. It snuck up on me faster than I even thought.
Nightly Pick Up: After another long pick-up session in the afternoon on Wednesday, I was able to drop it on Thursday and today and only do the five minute pick up each night before bedtime.
Dinner: This morning, I realized I was looking forward to getting out of the house even just for the trip to get ingredients for dinner. I think when Hubby gets home today, I will follow Emily‘s lead and go get a haircut. (She was kind enough to comment and let us know she is catching up, too after a small sick spell. I hope you are feeling completely better now, Emily!)
I will also sit down and make a menu for next week with a matching grocery list. But if I catch myself procrastinating leaving the house again, I will go back to daily trips or come up with other reasons to make myself leave the house.
Let’s see. What else have I done?
Following my routine, Wednesday was surface day and the house was in sore need of dusting. When I do it weekly, I quickly get everything in the Family Room because we spend so much time in there. I hit and miss through the rest of the house usually picking one additional room to also make sure to do everything – quickly getting the nooks and crannies on chair seats, surfaces, picture frame and door frame tops… everything. For the rest of the house I quickly hit the horizontal surfaces and things like TVs that attract more dust because of the static charge. It usually takes about 15 minutes to do the whole house that way. But this week, It took me quite a bit longer. I got everything in every room I could get to. I still have piles on several surfaces that were made during the pick-up so they went without dusting. I spent about an hour or so just on dusting.
Next week for surface day I will go back to the quick dash dusting and then pick a surface with a pile and tackle that pile. I may or may not get to some piles in the meantime, but if I do not I know that by sticking to the plan, I can spend just a few extra minutes and conquer one surface pile each week. Eventually they will all get done.
If I continue to clean up after myself as I go through my day, the nightly pick up and the leaving a room better than I left it habits then new piles will be kept from forming.
I will also admit that I got out of the habit of working through the daily mail. Some days I did it, others I just put unopened envelopes on my desk. Actually there were many days I did not bother to check the mail even though that is a duty I have always seemed to do before. Hubby was the one to put the pile on the desk. I did not want my depression to cost us in late fees (delays also cause increases in interest rates on credit cards) so that was a surface pile I tackled. I shred and recycled as I went. Then I paid a few bills so I did not need to add additional financial stress to my shoulders. I guess I should add the mail task to the daily list. It has just gotten to be something I do so automatically (normally) that I sort of forgot about it when writing out the list.
The ‘Do Extra’ rooms are the dining room, living room, entrances and porches. I did not get around to sweeping the porch on Tuesday. I did finish packing up the projects in my dining room, but did not get them all moved to the craft room, Wednesday. The point of the ‘do extra’ task is to just do a quick additional thing. I spend 5, 10, 15 minutes on it and move on. It took about fifteen minutes to finish packing them up and labeling the boxes. I could have just spent the few extra minutes and moved them to get them off my back, but I didn’t.
For me, Thursday is floors day. I hate to mop. But because I have timed myself in the past, I knew that it would not really take that much time. I swept. I mopped. When I keep the mopping up I can usually do the floors without changing out the bucket which saves a lot of time. Thursday I had to change the bucket in each room. I actually came back and mopped the kitchen a second time later.
Then I vacuumed the carpets. That was actually somewhat relaxing. Several minutes for the mind to wander without any strain to my back.
By the way, if you have a vacuum with a bag and go for a while without using it, change the bag. Do not wait for it to get full. The bag and the vacuum may have all kinds of built in filters, but somehow the smell of the decaying stuff inside still gets let loose in the room. If you have indoor pets, the odor after vacuuming can be really bad. Picture your bag as a compost pile. When it sits, there are areas that have broken down more than others. The minute you hit that on switch, the pile gets a quick stir from the pressure and the stench starts to permeate the air. Compost piles that are often stirred keep their odor down, so the filters have a better chance of success as an odor barrier when you use your vacuum more frequently.
I finished moving my projects from the dining room to my craft closet. I did not have enough room for all of the works in progress so I had to make two box towers on the floor in the corner. I stacked them with the ones that will take the least time to finish on top. I will not start another craft project until these are done and I have the room in the closet to hold another incomplete project. As I find time to work on them, I will grab the top box. I will reduce the overall stack quicker that way.
I also did sweep the small porch the family uses most often. But it was cold outside. The crisp air was nice while I could stand it, but I did not do any other porches.
According to the plan, today is for projects. I set it up because we are big into DIY projects. Inside, outside, in other peoples homes – it seems like we are often working on something. Hubby works a half day on Friday’s so the start of the weekend warrior time commences as soon as he gets home usually. For weekends when we do not have a project planned it was a natural time to spend on crafts or on any organizing project. Project days are also great to play with a little seasonal decorating.
You do not need to put any effort into picking out what to do on project day. There is something somewhere in your house that is bugging you or that you want to do. That is what you work on. If it is a big thing like that catch all room or the garage you could turn it into a weekend project for the whole family, but you do not have to. Just pick one drawer, one shelf, or start making a path into the room by working on a two foot space in the floor. If you can not define a small space ahead of time, set a timer for a small amount of time and stop when the timer goes off.
Remember, there are no rules other than the ones that you set for yourself. Just watch that you do not work to the point that you get burnt out and give up. Do try to do a little something each week.
The next week something else may be bugging you more. You do not have to finish the last space. Just work on what bothers you most. The only exception I would warn against is if last week you started a project like painting a room or something similar that was not finished. The longer those type of projects go, the harder it is to get started on them again. They can become a big burden and a source of dread pretty quickly.
On the off chance that nothing about your home is bugging you. Do another little bit extra in the room of the week. Do a fun project. Take the week off. See how much change you can find under the cushions. Call or e-mail someone you have been meaning to get in touch with.
The Little Man and I are going to work on the wreck that is his room together. Saturday’s I keep open for family projects or play time. If we have time when we are all just laying around and doing individual things instead of as a family, I may do some more project time. Then again, I may just take a nap. This Saturday I will probably finally start churning out some articles that have been in my draft folder way too long. If this weeks room had not been the dining room, I would have been packing, labeling and moving those craft projects today and tomorrow. It just happened to work out.
Keeping project days mean that there can be anywhere from 52 to 104 things that bother me get attention every year with minimal effort. Look around your home. Can you think what a difference that many little improvements would make? If nothing else, you will feel really good simply from the act of often doing something about the things around your home that bother you. But you could go from disliking your house to liking it. From liking it to loving it.
Well, in just a week I have gotten a lot done. There is still quite a bit of catching up to do, but it is all manageable as long as I keep working at it. My routine works for me. Next week will be very similar. I will need to spend less time on the daily tasks once I catch up on the laundry. The ‘do extra’ room will move to the kitchen.
As Emily said in her article, “It’s amazing how easy it is to mess up a house without effort and how much effort it takes to fix it.” I have spent A LOT of time this week climbing out of the mess. It is SO much easier to keep up than catch up. Keeping up takes a few minutes here and there. Catching up takes so much more time and energy. Much more than I want to devote to it on a regular basis. Time that I could have been spending with family, time I could have spent learning, time that I could have spent on my business, time that I could have spent a million other ways.
But if I get behind again, I will climb out again. Being able to enjoy both my home and play time guilt free is so worth it. I can have my cake and eat it, too.
And how do I feel? I am feeling A LOT better.
Depression takes longer to shed than sadness. I will not pretend to understand any of it completely, but I do know that real depression and other conditions such as anxiety often involve physiological changes as well as emotional distress. You develop physical symptoms. Your chemistry goes out of whack.
Doing things to reduce stress and doing things to become proactive as I have done this week instead of reactive can take a person a long way. But it may only take you so far. There are a lot of factors including length of time a person has been in the state that impact what they can do on their own to reverse those physiological changes.
Some of you that have been reading this series have been reading just to get help cleaning up your house. But there are some of you that are also not feeling up to par. Please, talk to your doctor to first determine if it is a mood or medical. Then ask about other things they recommend to help you get better. They can work with you to come up with a lifestyle or medical plan and help you by objectively monitoring your progress. Remember that you may not have a rational eye.