I awoke at 1:00 another morning to my niece Grace’s soft voice telling me my daughter Eden was, as they say in the U.K., “being sick” And boy howdy, was she ever!
My husband, Paul, and I have a team approach on those events, and we’re guided by our strengths. Because I’m usually more patient (if the children are sick) and Paul has a stronger stomach, I extricate the child and tend to all demands, bathing and medicinal, while Paul tackles the clutter. Sadly, this time Paul was in Australia. Happily, my older daughter, Lydia, was there and fondly on the place. I was so grateful to deliver her sister before I switched into the wreckage.
I will spare you the specifics, but please understand that the cleanup was included, and more than once I fell into frenzied gagging and grief. Once I had the very first load (of three!) In the washer and everything else scrubbed and sprayed, the room airing and the small women reshuffled — Grace in with her big sister, Beth, and Eden and her pug, Oliver, in my bed with me — I texted Paul to report the catastrophe. Though I’d handled it with Lydia’s aid, I concluded, “I believe we are going to have to move.”
Julie Ranee Photography
Even before Eden’s illness, we had reached the apex of stickiness together with sandiness and heat from damp dog noses pressed too many windows, dirt tracked in the vicinity of the house and molting fur covering each surface despite dire dusting, Swiffering and sweeping.
Perhaps you’ve been there too: there where you reevaluate pet possession, motherhood and life in general; where you wonder — no, let’s face it, you understand — you made a basically incorrect turn — in everything — but it’s too late to divest yourself of the children and the creatures, so now is your time to go hardcore minimalist.
Yes! This is the best way to reside from now on as soon as you clear out all this jumble! But — and you are just being sensible here — your property is too far gone. The only solution would be to put a For Sale sign in the lawn in order to start fresh in another house, which you’ll keep clean and organized and where you may spend the majority of time posing artfully together with your family in your immaculate kitchen. That’s the ticket!
blackLAB architects inc..
Or perhaps, you believe, it’s time to take up hard-core drinking … at the basement … in the dark … if you even have a basement. Otherwise, you end up relieved because you can not even imagine what a mess it’d be if you ever did.
I understand this spiral of dread and grief, because I’ve been down it almost every summer since I became a mom and surely since becoming a puppy owner.
Those of us who are Not Obviously Organized may believe our Obviously Organized friends never believe this way, ever, however they do, together with two important distinctions:
This sense of panic is triggered much more quickly in the Obviously Organized than at us.The Obviously Organized take instant action.Again, it’s as simple and as horrible as that.
blackLAB architects inc..
Look at this Obviously Organized mom doing a quick pickup.
For all those of us who are Not Obviously Organized, the day-in, day-out job of conducting a home can be overwhelming. Add to that the extra requirements of summer “break,” and it’s a lot.
Here are some tips to keep your house running easily enough this summer months.
1. Flooring are foundational. When in doubt, sweep. I am able to deal with a certain amount of disarray, but it seems like all the wheels are coming off if you will find grit, sand and puppy fur underfoot. We moved into our new house at the dog days of summer and needed to wait until the heating temperatures of mid-September to possess our yard seeded. This meant my kids and the dog were tracking in glowing orange sand and clay all day long, and I almost lost my mind.
I attempt to sweep daily. In the summer especially, whenever I am beginning to feel twitchy, I know it’s time to break out a broom or the Swiffer and attack the flooring. It’s my bottom line in each sense.
CM Natural Designs
2. Put the extras away. Did you just come back from the beach? Are your bags and baskets dropped by the door? Got back from vacation a week ago and you are still living from your suitcases?
That is that the line of demarcation between the Obviously Organized and those of us who are not. The Obviously Organized, no matter how exhausted, will summon the power to put everything away, immediately, because it will drive them mad to leave it.
It’s usually a stick in the eye for all those people who reside with them. We only want to fall and relax, but if your vacation has thrown up throughout your property, that is the final action to take. It’s time to hit it. Call the kids and have everyone pitch in. Collect all of the dirty clothes and take them into the laundry room; put away all of the clean clothes and blankets and return the suitcases to storage. That final one will almost kill you — I understand — but doing it’s going to feel good.
Trip to the beach? Hang any moist towels and matches and put the toys away and leftover snacks. If you ever brought a cooler, make sure to empty it! We Not Obviously Organized people love to overlook that.
It really takes only a few minutes, and none of it requires thinking, only a little running around.
3. Create a sacred space. My home is open idea. When you walk in the front door, there’s a small entrance that ushers you in the main room: a 8-foot farm table right ahead, kitchen into the left and living room to the right.
Our kitchen is essentially a galley with a massive island replacing the next wall. The island would be your first horizontal surface you find coming in from the mudroom, and I understood it will be ground zero for all the crap that our family awakens in.
Thanks to respectful requests, outright threats and replicated confiscations, the island is generally clear. The end of the table, only adjacent, is another story, but we are on a journey, right?
Pick a space and fight to keep it clean and free of clutter.
This kitchen provides you the gist of mine, minus the gazillion dollars for your tile, range hood and built in refrigerator as well as the huge arrangement of flowers, which might not be permitted on my island!
4. Have a break. In case you have school-age children, I do not recommend taking on large cleaning and decluttering jobs in the summer — the exception being if you are on a complete vision quest like I was three decades ago.
A poem I have seen on plaques comes into mind (author unknown):
“Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow,
For babies grow up we have learned to our regret,
So head to bed cobwebs and dust go to sleep.
I am rocking my infants cause babies do not keep.”
The assertion: you need to choose cleaning or your children, and you’d better choose those babies!
I believe that you can do both. Obviously, when you are Not Obviously Organized and generally struggle to keep consistency in cleaning, you need to pace yourself. That is true whether or not you have children. Take the long view, gradually make new customs and revel in the long and lovely days of summer with your children.
Next: How To Make Your House a Haven Without Changing a Thing