Saturday, August 22, 2009

Living Organized

Before I get started, please know that pictures are coming. The thief took our USB cable and Brando bought a new uploading contraption and I don't know how to unhook it, so it isn't with me at the moment. But those pictures of Kynsie at her friend Izzi's party are coming soon, I promise.

Back to organizing, clutter, messiness...I have posted here before that our house looks like a bomb went off in every room. You couldn't tell it before, but I have tried repeatedly to get it into some sort of decent shape, and I would make a small dent, but one week later, I was knee deep in stuff. I could NOT find my way out. It was so frustrating. I would think to myself and even pray to God, I am an intelligent person. I am exhausted at the end of the day, and I am trying here, so why can't I see results?

For a while I thought my messy house was just due to having triplets and a chaotic life, but earlier this year, I began to suspect something else was at work. I looked at my friend Cindy's house. She has triplets, and at any given time her home is presentable. Then I would think of Kristen and Mandy and their beautiful homes and I would just be lost. How can they pull that off? Honestly, my messy house was horrible for my self-esteem. We seriously needed an intervention. There wasn't garbage everywhere or anything. We aren't hoarders, but there was STUFF everywhere. Nothing had a home....mostly because I wasn't sure where to put it. I think this organizing ability comes naturally for some people, but it truly does NOT for me. I felt incredibly alone in that. In fact, a messy house is very isolating. We have had friends over only 1 TIME for a cookout once since we moved into this house over 2 years ago. That's it. Having family Christmas at our house was out of the question. It was too messy and too embarrassing. If someone showed up at my door unexpectedly, I probably wouldn't have let them in. Seriously.

So, flash forward. Believe it or not, I hate clutter, and hate having a messy house, but just couldn't figure out how to fix it. All of my successes were incredibly short-lived. I truly thought I was the only moron on the planet who couldn't keep a neat house. It was horrible for my self-esteem--horrible. I thought about it night and day. I was at the end of my rope and had really began to pray about it often. Randomly in Kroger about 4 weeks ago, I saw a book called Living Organized by Sandra Felton.

Ordinarily I would have stopped to read it a bit and decided if it was worth buying yet another book. That particular day I had Braylen with me and didn't have the luxury of a quick read in the store, so I uncharacteristically made an impulse buy. Or that's what I thought it was at the time. I even shamed myself on the way to the check out for doing so, but I was DESPERATE. That book was actually an answer to my prayers.

As it turns out, I am not alone. Sandra has this theory about left brain and right brain people and their different methods and abilities in regards to housecleaning. The nutshell version is that us right brainer, artsy-fartsy folks have a MUCH harder time (as a group) with housekeeping. Left-brainers are naturally more inclined toward organization and are better at housekeeping, not implying that they work less or more, but simply that their working actually works and produces visible fruit. I was worried if all of this "part of this might not be your fault" business was going to help me justify the mess, which I was totally over. I didn't want excuses. I needed help. But I kept reading, and the more I read, the more I realized that this person Felton calls a "Messy" was me down to the core. It was a bit creepy. And to my great surprise, everyone doesn't think the way I do, or operate the same way. The more I thought about this (which I have over-generalized for brevity's sake) the more sense it made. You know those 3 friends who I mentioned earlier? 2 are accountants (by trade or college degree) and the 3rd has a Masters in Statistics. AND 2 of them married engineers. They are as termed by Felton "Cleanies". And most likely, 2 of them are married to "cleanies" as well. I, on the other hand married a musician---you guessed it, a Messy. Throw in triplets, Autism and a crazy schedule, for fun, and it gets ugly quick.

Fortunately for me, Sandra Felton's book tells me what to do. Habits that are problems, and what to do about them. She tells readers about specific habits that "cleanies" use to keep their houses up. This may be second nature to all of you, but I promise you, it is not for me. I get so overwhelmed and genuinely STRUGGLE with organizing. I have bought countless tubs, baskets, notebooks, etc. over the last 3 years in hopes of getting the house together. I have assigned chores. I had specific cleaning days. We even had a financial reward for which one of us got our list of stuff done. NONE of that worked.

I am happy to report that after reading that first book, changing some subtle sabotaging habits, and LOTs of hard work, our house is looking MUCH better. We actually have counters in the kitchen; carpet in our bedroom, a washer and dryer in the laundry room, and a kitchen table all free of clutter. It is fabulous. And as I have slowly begun to make progress, my self-esteem is better. A neighbor stopped by unexpectedly last week, and I invited her in without hesitation.

Don't get me wrong, I have a long way to go, but if any one of you out there is a closet "Messy", I want to invite you to come into the sunlight. Life is much better out here. I am reforming, recovering...whatever you call it, and it feels great!

For more info on Sandra Felton and Messies Anonymous click here.


lesliemarie said...

Thanks for posting this! I've been stressed out about the same thing...we're finished remodeling our house, but I can't seem to get the left over clutter and mess back in order no matter how long I work! I'll definitely check out that book. :)

Emily Doss said...

Gonna have to check out this book! I have people over on purpose to make myself get the house in order. (And I don't even have any little messies around, I'm one myself and I married one that's all.)