Staying on top of things

One of my blog readers, Briget, was asking how I manage to keep my house looking so nice and I promised her I’d do a post on it.

I do have the advantage of liking (and needing) a neat, tidy home. As a child my bedroom was spick and span and I knew where EVERYTHING was. I could even tell if someone had played with my Barbies because I’d know they weren’t where I left them.  However, I married a rather messy, untidy man and with the addition of kids (who are more like him than me) my standards have dropped somewhat but they are a level I can live (and cope) with.

Things reached crises point for me when Christy was a baby and Amy a preschooler. They had so much stuff and looking after them and keeping the house the way I like was hard. To cope with this we went out – a lot! It was around this time I found Flylady, whom I still love and base a lot of my housekeeping on. I so wish I’d taken her advice of the lace shoes – then I would have probably avoided 18 months of heel spur agony! My other household model is Anthea Turner. Anthea’s way of living is definitely what I aspire to.

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I believe the biggest key to keeping an organised, tidy home is to have a home for EVERYTHING! You know the saying – a home for everything and everything in it’s place! If something doesn’t have a home how does anyone know where to put it or where to look for it when it’s needed. This is so hard to teach my children!

Today I am all about keeping on top of things and trying to do things now, rather than later. I do have a basic routine but other than cleaning house on a Monday morning and doing a load of clothes every day, everything else is flexible – goodness it has to be with kids doesn’t it?

Okay, so I’ll start by sharing what gets done every morning – not necessarily in order –

Air, and then make bed

Empty dishwasher

Feed & water all animals

Put a load of washing on (I alternated the girls and Kevin & my clothes, doing towels as needed)

I try to leave the kitchen tidy after the girls make their lunches & we have breakfast. I would love to sweep the floor every day but that hardly ever happens 🙂

These are all things I pretty much do without thinking about them.

My big cleaning day is Monday. I used to do downstairs one day and upstairs the next, but now that I don’t need to spend so much time tidying before cleaning, I can get it all done in under 2 hours.

I go through the house room by room -tidying (hopefully already done), dusting, cleaning glass ,vaccuming and washing floors.

Then I nominated one other morning each week to spend a couple of hours in one room – decluttering and doing a detailed clean. This is still something I’m working on as I can easily put it off if I’m not in the mood or have a busy week. So while I’m a tidy person I’m not necessarily a REALLY clean one :-).

TUESDAY is my day to go grocery shopping (after I have menu planned either on Sunday or Monday). I also try to run any erands I need to while I’m out as these day I’d rather be at home.

My goal is to spend the morning working on the home, have lunch, then spend a couple of hours scrapbooking or doing something fun, then dinner, ironing, etc when the girls get home from school. When I clean I like to listen to podcasts – usually Flylady – as it keeps me motiavted and inspired. As does watching shows like Perfect Housewife and Cleanaholics.

Another thing I’ve really had to work on is getting the girls to tidy up after themselves. They are to make their beds and keep their rooms tidy. Here’s Christy room at the moment – not quite as tidy as I’d like but the lego can just be pushed under her bed.

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They also need to keep their computer area and the family room tidy. Not really a lot if you ask me but it’s still a challenge. They are very much like their father and are inclined to drop things wherever they happen to be. I encourage them to watch show like Perfect Housewife and Hoarders so they can see what happens if things aren’t put away and looked after.

To give you an idea of how I’ve been tidy over the years, here’s a quick tour of some of my bedrooms …

as a young girl (excuse the blurry photo)…

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as a teenager – around 14yrs – I chose all the colours, wall paper, etc…

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into my twenties (and Uni years)… wall paper in place when we bought the house..

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study…

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and my bedroom when we first moved into this home….

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Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time will know that I am far from perfect and constantly working on my organisation and cleaning. I really believe the secret is having a basic plan of attack and trying to do little things right away rather than put them off – often things don’t take nearly as long as you think they will.

Hope I haven’t bored you all to tears :-). If you’ve got any questions, or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you.

10 comments

  1. Briget says:

    Thanks, Libby, I appreciate all the detail you went to , not boring at all, but motivating. I think my problem is not having a place for everything (and also a messy husband and son and a dog who sheds hair everywhere!)

    I also think, like you, that getting started is half the battle and once you start something, it gets you motivated when you see the difference it makes. I will try and keep on top of things a bit more.

    I love your teenage room (the blue one). I’m trying to figure out who it is in the poster on the wall??

  2. Libby Withnall says:

    Glad you enjoyed the post. The poster is The Boss – Bruce Springsteen – and I’m still a BIG fan!

    Libby

  3. jody says:

    AAhhhh neatnick soulmates 🙂

    I also married and had kids who do not share my particular “clean & tidy gene”. Of course I need to have order around me or I just can’t relax. I work on the home for everything and agree that this is the cornerstone of all organising.

    I taught the kids this from a very young age and you know what…even a 2 year old can put duplo away if you have a big plastic container with a picture of duplo on it LOL

    Not boring at all and now I need to see these books / DVD’s that you mention.

  4. vanessa says:

    Hi Libby,
    I also have a husband who likes to hang things on the floor. But I do enjoy having a tidy house. My problem is that although I have a place for everything, I am constantly rearranging and thinking how I could do things better which = mess.
    I LOVED you old photos. Brought back so many fond memeories. How about those swatch watches that went on the walls. What the hell were we thinking???????

  5. vanessa says:

    Just out of curiousity do you plan your holidays with the girls? What sorts of activities are you getting up to this Easter? How does your routine change when Amy and Christy are home?

  6. Ailsa says:

    Great post Libby! I am struggling with motivation at present and having ME time. Need to do more decluttering! Keep up the great work.

  7. Debbie says:

    I pretty much follow flylady too but not the shoes either.
    It makes it so much easier and i have to have a place for everything or to me it won’t work.

  8. Emma says:

    Thanks for this post Libby. You are far from boring and everytime I read your blog I feel inspired. This post has particularly motivated me today to get more organised around My house. I love Anthea too…She is Fab isnt she! x

  9. Cass says:

    You are my inspiration Libby! Every time I read your blog, I feel completely lazy and feel like a slob LOL! Makes me want to go and clean and cook 🙂 I’ve got the organization down pat but the cleaning and stuff needs works 😉

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