Saturday, November 10, 2018

Housekeeping Techniques

We are now far enough into the school year to assess how successful my summer projects were. Hard to believe it's been three months since I last posted about The Purge. I even have one last post about my closet languishing in draft.

On the whole the summer was a mixed bag. On the one hand, I am super pleased with my cleaned laundry room. I love walking into the room and knowing nothing is going to fall. The bookcase is not going to throw things at me. I don't have to contort myself with the laundry basket to make it across the room. It is a solid win. Also my closet is great. Spoiler from yet to be published post: I purged clothes, trashed a pile of stuff, and reorganized the school supplies. I can actually walk to the back on the closet. I can hang clothes without stepping over and standing on a pile in the floor. Again, this is outstanding.

However, on the other hand, this is not what I spent most of the summer doing. I spent the vast majority of the summer digging out the pit that is the upstairs. On this front, it's hard not to feel like I wasted so much time. Nothing is as bad as when I started in June, but nothing is clean anymore either. There's still too much up there. The children dump and walk away and then dump more on top. It's too difficult to keep them out of the unpurged boxes and so it all gets mixed back together.

I knew when I chose--and I did choose--to walk away from the upstairs and clean my closet, this would likely be the result. It just took so long to get everything organized, I had severe decision fatigue being upstairs, and I needed to get away from that stuff. This decision fatigue is probably why it was so difficult and took so long to clean out my closet. It's very mentally taxing to have to make decisions over and over and over. That sounds stupid to say, but it's true. Nevertheless, I needed to complete some project that was under my control to maintain and not subject to the sweet mercies of children. 

That's the summer recap: trying not to despair over all I didn't get done and trying not to think about the fact that next summer I will actively need babysitting again in order to work and probably won't get much of it. (I don't even know how to find a daytime babysitter that isn't a daycare.) But I am super happy about my closet and the laundry room.

Anyway. So I realized something about my housekeeping style this week. I may not get everything put away, but if the surface is clean, I will not pile. If I leave an item out that ought to be put away, it may look like I have forgotten about it, but I have not forgotten about it. I see it and WILL NOT put anything on top of it. If I should need the surface, I will put the stray item away. However if several things are piled up, it moves mental categories from 'simple task' to 'project.' Projects are mentally intimidating so projects get procrastinated. The problem arises that, since I do not live by myself, other people see the stray item as an invitation to pile. A table I have cleaned off quickly gets overrun while the item at the bottom is something easy to put away. I don't have wider lessons to draw here. I only noticed when I am likely to pile and when I don't. Maybe I should always put everything away every time, but that's not how life works.

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