Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Goddess Off the Rails...

The life of a domestic goddess ain't all it's cracked up to be.

Don't get me wrong - I dig being home with the Reds and watching them move -swiftly, leaving mess in their wake - through their days and I love being the first person to see them master a new skill or use the phrase "Fer CRAP's sake!" in the right context.

It's the OTHER stuff that sort of gets me down. Meals, I've got sorted - I like cooking and the Reds aren't as fussy as they once were. We eat simply and on a schedule, which leaves me time for other stuff.

Or should.

Mostly, I ignore the pile of stuff on the kitchen table until it threatens to topple. My junk drawer is actually a "junk counter" and while I try to keep it tidy, it drives my husband loopy.

On Sunday, I learned that practically all aspects of our life drive him loopy and that the house, in particular, overwhelms him. Dude's got a lot going on, life-wise, between his job and wanting to spend more time helping out his parents. I get that.

But because he was home last week, he got to witness the cheerful, everyday chaos of life with two kids and it sort of freaked him out:

 The phone rang incessantly, friends and neighbours popped by unannounced, friends came asking if the boys' could come out to play, our street is filled with the noise and mess of construction, workmen toiled at the bottom of the driveway and needed into the basement to mess around with the water pipes or something, toys lay strewn from kitchen to front door and the boys played hockey in the house....

It overwhelmed Mark, who leaves for work when the boys are still sleeping and trudges home long after they're in bed. By the time he comes through the door the house is tidy, the toys are away and his supper is waiting on the stove. H e has control of the remote because I am usually blogging and all is quiet. Peaceful.

But not, apparently, peaceful enough.

Our house is small and old - there is very little in the way of storage and there are LOTS of things that ought to be stored away. Mostly toys, books and paper - bills, pictures, notes, etc. I think part of Mark's issue is that even the things that are put away are still visible, as our shelves are open as are both bookcases.

The boys' room looks best when I close the door and I'll admit that I am crap at putting laundry away. I could live out of a basket forever, actually, if it meant never having to put clothes in drawers again.

The kitchen, even when completely tidied up, still looks cluttered and...too full.

I am pretty good about making the bed every day and the bathroom is always getting cleaned because I live with three boys and only one of 'em has decent aim.

But that boy is NOT happy about Life with Bellymonster and the Reds.

Not. one. bit.

So, beloved readers, I need advice. And a garbage truck backed into my driveway so I can scrap it all and start fresh, but since that's unlikely, I'll take suggestions:

How do YOU control the clutter monster in your house?
Do you and your partner have completely different ways of doing things?
How do you balance the needs of everyone in the family?
Do you schedule certain tasks or tackle things as they come up?
Would you please come and heeellllppp meeeeee?


  1. I too have a junk counter.

    On Sunday, the day of rest (Is it irreverent to say God rested *before* Jesus was born?), I spent 5 hours sorting/decluttering/cleaning the junk counter, the drawers underneath it, the toys and bins.

    It's still fairly clean.

    I've heard "A place for everything and everything in its place." The problem is, once one little thing doesn't have a place....

    So, ya, I'm, like, no help, like, whatsover.

  2. "Once one little thing doesn't have a place..." pretty much sums up every room in this house, except for the bathroom and the master bedroom.

    And if ONE day slides by without a tidy up....ugh.

    Thanks for trying, Leanne. Good to know I'm not the only one with a junk COUNTER.

  3. Oh, does this post hit home! It took Doc a while to "get it" when it came to my stay-at-home gig. Especially when the first two kids were so little and NOT helpful. He would come home and ask what I did all day, since the house looked like a bomb went off! Doc and I are opposites. He's okay with clutter, I am not. And since my "job" requires dealing with everyone else's clutter constantly I can get a little on edge. It seems like no one cares but me, and the house is a reflection of MY work. Frustrating to feel like everyone is plotting against me.

    Yea, one day slides by and I'm up to my ears again just like you. Don't despair!

    The junk spot in our house is called "The Hot Spot". It's practically nuclear. I clear it almost daily, which drives me batty. But you do what you have to do.

    With a small house and little storage I think you almost have to be ultra selective with the things you keep and the things you don't.

    For papers, bills, etc I have a basket with a lid that I throw it in. When I need it I know where it is, but no one can see the mess. And I organize open shelves with matching boxes or baskets.

    I tackle certain tasks every day - laundry, dishes, clutter clean up. I recruit my family to do "5 minute pick ups". But I have two older children that are now somewhat helpful and do daily chores, whereas your adorable Reds are still so young.

    As the kids get older, the toys will get smaller and they will be more helpful. Hang in there! I don't know a single mom who hasn't fought this same battle.

  4. Ah, Annie...thank you for getting it! My friend Dolphin rang just now, offering many of the same suggestions.

    The weird thing is, I'd pitch most stuff, it's MARK who likes to keep every. little. thing.

    I plan to set a task a day, until everything either has a place or is on its way to a place, especially the stuff on the Junk Counter, where the chaos rules.

  5. Hi Liz, I don't have the answer for you, but if someone comes up with it, will you please let me know? :D

    My husband is like Annie's--he doesn't care (but *I* do!) and also like yours--he keeps EVERY. FRACKING. THING.

    Good luck and know that you are soooooo not alone.

  6. Am I the only one who's experimented with entire junk rooms?

  7. Amanda - as soon as I get it all sorted out, OR the Tidy Fairies visit, I'll let you know! :)

    Clay: Will you marry me?

  8. Flylady! Sooo helpful! Website, reminders and def buy the books! Xo Jenny