Monday, January 18, 2016


Warning: This post is about to get personal. 

I can not share what I have been learning without exposing one of my weaknesses.  I wish I could, but it is just not possible, so here it goes...

I will just come right out and say it, I am a clutter-aholic.  I have spent the last 20 years of my life struggling with trying to keep my house clean. It is true. It has been a crazy struggle! I have tried making lists- OH the trees that have been sacrificed on my behalf, I have tried following blogs and getting an email a day to help me know where to start (you can imagine how well that worked), I have read books, I have asked friends to share their secrets and I have even gotten CRANKY!... It all ended the same way. Clutter and mess!

I have spent hours cleaning only to start again with just as much mess as when I began!

I have cringed when someone has come to the door unannounced and apologized for the mess. I have invited people over just so I would have a deadline to get it all done, I have put my dear children through countless Saturdays trying to get a handle on it all, I have thrown stuff out, taken on the twenty item challenge, I have poured out sweat and tears over this for years...

Yup, you guessed it, it all ended in just more mess!

So the other day I was on Pinerest and it is full of pins right now about getting organized.  I came across one- it promised to give the ONE THING that I needed to know to get my house in order!!!  I opened it up and it said....


Really? Are you kidding me. Seriously?  This is your great advise!!???? 
Isn't that always the goal?  Do they not understand how crazy that is when you have children???

I closed my computer in disgust. How dare they make my struggle so simplistic. Finish what I start. Isn't that what I tried to do EVERY SINGLE DAY!? 

It bugged me for the next couple of days. Like really got under my skin, so I decided to prove it all wrong and I did this...

This is where it gets personal... 

I picked up my camera and started to take a look through the lens. After all a picture can't lie right?

My kitchen floor-
The wheat and flour left out after baking
two boxes from the recycling that was taken to the back door but not to the bin and mysteriously brought back to the kitchen... hmmm
a random hanger and receipt

The other side of the floor-
the broom that didn't get put back in the closet after my umteenth time of sweeping,
stuff from the cupboard the girls love to play in, a baby doll and a pot holder

Another box from the recycling, Christmas decorations that got taken down, but not put in their box in the storage room, which by the way, ended up scattered around the house before I got back to them... hmm

pens and pencils and scissors not put back into their drawers, yeah those drawers right there that you can't open!
papers and pictures, a movie and some miscellaneous toys that didn't get back down to the basement...

The smoke alarm that didn't get put back up after someone burnt the french fries, the cord from the phone, toys that need  to go down stairs,
Is that the screw driver we were looking for?
Pretty sure this shelf was pretty at one time

Front door- Shoes and boots that need to go into the closet, back packs, coats that didn't get hung up
(the closet is just to the right of this picture- closer to the door then the couch)

Laundry that is folded but didn't get put away, the same coats and a shirt to iron

A basket of clothes to be put away- made it to the room, but not the drawers, books that need to be put on the book shelf,.

toothbrushes that didn't make it to the drawer- yes the drawer right there, hair stuff not put in the box, yup that very box you see on the counter, multiple face clothes that might be clean??? but who is going to take that chance -lets just grab a new one...
And how many tubes of toothpaste does one bathroom need?

Okay so maybe there is something to this, UGH!
But how do you do it when you KNOW that you WILL be DISTRACTED?  The post went on to say that you should never start a job unless you know you can finish it.  Well that is liberating, I will never start anything EVER AGAIN!!!! WOOHOO!!!

Not so.

Here is my kitchen. I came in here just after putting the littles to bed. And having all of those pictures in my camera.  The kids weren't going to interrupt me, but the whole kitchen seemed big, and I was tired after a crazy day... maybe I could break it down a bit. The counter from the fridge to the corner, I could that...

The counter from the fridge to the corner- maple syrup that someone took out of the fridge to find something and didn't get it put away ( that is liquid gold people!), a random toy duck with a very annoying quack- so that is why it got "put up", a box of cookies that goes in the cupboard above the microwave- yes that microwave, a loaf of bread that goes in that corner cupboard that you can see- the one that is open. oh yeah!
decorations that need to go back up to replace the Christmas ones, candy from stockings and a jar- it is broken, but no one seems to have the heart to throw it out!
(What are we going to do with it???!!)
 I was able to do this quite quickly! So on to the next- the corner to the sink!

A glass from who knows when, 

This is the random stuff that came off that little corner shelf.  Who's toothbrush is that?
 Do those batteries even work?? 
Sink area!
I even cleaned out under the sink so I could put stuff away that belongs under there!
 Next: The sink to the corner. Then if I am tired I will go to bed...

That dang recycling is really starting to get on my nerves!
Old Christmas treats, clean dishes that no one really knows what to do with!

The corner... Happy Chickens tonight!! Out is goes- except for my brother's homemade nuts and bolts! Let's not be crazy!!
Had to clean out another cupboard so I could put that stone away. The broken shelf from the fridge is under the sink holding the soap and brushes!
There is no way I am going to bed now... I am so close to being done!!
Stove to corner!
Two failed loaves of bread- wild yeast is tricky- out to they go to the chickens!
Rice- two kinds WHY?
a dish that I got for Christmas that needs a home...

Compost bucket, more failed bread dough, failing wild yeast, cleaners I have been using but didn't get put away, a Christmas box.....
Two and a half hours later...
And here is the end result!!!

So much better, peaceful even!

I even cleaned the silver!

That is what I want to wake up to in the morning!!
Oh yeah it can be done, but can it be maintained by someone such as I???

Let's face it, I am a creative soul, I like to make a good mess all in the name of art! The quote at my front door is from Yours Mine Ours 
"Our home is for free expression, Not for first impressions" 
And I WILL NOT keep my children from messy play- it builds brains you know- seriously! 

Well it has been a week and it still looks like this! We have played with play dough, moon sand, sewn, painted and we do have to eat everyday!! I actually feel more creative!! 

My dear loved ones are a bit tired of hearing 
"If you haven't cleaned up,  the job isn't done"! 
"You aren't done eating lunch until I can't tell you did"
"You aren't done playing until the toys are put away"
"You aren't done doing your make up until the counter looks as beautiful as your face!"
"You aren't finished having a shower until the bathroom is clean too!"
"You aren't... Well you get the picture!

I am here to tell you that it works.  Sad, but true.  All this time I just needed to finish the job!!
Ugh. All of that wasted energy.

I love that it frees me up. Breaking a big job into smaller jobs frees me up to get started, only thinking about one job at a time frees me up to focus. and when it is done, 
I am free to do whatever I want!!!!!
I have found that my dear family is much happier cleaning up this kitchen after supper then the cluttered one. 
And best of all... It is spreading through out the house! Everyone is starting to see the beauty of it, that or they just don't want to hear "You aren't done until...."
Whatever the reason, it doesn't really matter, I am just so happy it is working!

I hope you never waste time underestimating the simple... I won't! I think I might go and have a nap or create something!!!  Oh Happy Day!!

* I am trying to give credit where it is due, But there are actually quite a few pins that give this advice.  I am not sure which one was the one I read first (since I closed it quite quickly after reading it), but I will try to find it!


Hannah said...

I think we are related...
I'm inspired.

Josh Wray said...

Well Done Jenn!! Looks Great!!

Dayna87 said...

I have to admit I have been working in my organization and cleaning "skills" lol ..and I feel less stress and feel so much better waking up to a clean house , I used to stay up at night thinking of all the things on my "to do list " of chores in the house I had to do , once everything is organized you just have to maintain it makes life so much more stress free. It's a refreshing feeling having everthying in it place when you need it . I am not perfect everyday but I try my best . P.s I miss ya Jen and your wonderful family :) love reading your blogs . Sending you love oxoxo ..

The Travellin' mom said...

I can't figure out why I had to approve these comments... looking it to,but thank you all for writing them!

Tammy said...

Oh my gosh Jen, this is exactly why we were such good friends when we were house looks just like yours...piles You have done a fabulous job and you have inspired me to try harder. I so prefer sitting and crocheting or cross stitching or baking etc to cleaning but that just adds to the clutter. Finish what I start....that will be my mantra for the next while. Thank you!

Dean Wray said...

Funny, maybe it is in the air. I have just done a purge too! Amazing how freeing it is to have everything in its place. I used to blame the kids for things not being where it should be when I needed it... but these days its just Maddy (daughter) and me. So ya I had some soul searching to do as well. Good blog Jenn!
I'm surprised that you still have nuts and bolts left!?!?

Mark Wray said...

Ours is gone Dean. Nice post lil'Sis, keep it up. Finishing what you start is not in your DNA, sorry. Just ask Sarah, I have 29 things going at once. By the way that was Sarah's comment above not Josh.