I wrote this post at the beginning of June. I don’t know why I didn’t publish it, but I’m posting it now before I begin writing an update for July. Chronology.
Last weekend, my daughter’s boyfriend came over to watch a movie with us for the first time. We ran around picking up the house and putting things back where they belong before he arrived. The next morning, the house looked really neat, and we wondered why it doesn’t look like that more often.
Our quick tidy wasn’t the only thing that got the house to a place of neatness, and my mind to a state of rest.
I linked in my last post, videos by a YouTuber that caught my interest recently. The idea that really got me thinking was one she listed as a reason people have clutter: delayed decisions.
I realized that I have struggled with indecisiveness and avoidance many times in my life. I think my mom used to describe me as a procrastinator when I was a child. She was probably right. I remember starting a whole research paper the day before it was due, and all-nighters were a regular part of my high school and college years. (Those continued during my 5 years of working third shift and my 14 years of nursing babies.) But getting back to delayed decisions… I instantly knew this was why I have not finished decluttering my whole house yet, despite having been trying to get “totally organized” since 1998. And this is likely why the kitchen has been covered with laundry and dishes lately. I have been delaying deciding who does what around here since a failed attempt at changing up an old chore plan.
There’s more. Other videos revealed that the mess and clutter will always come back if I don’t make real substantial changes to my lifestyle (like when I go on a diet, then return to my regular eating habits). She offered practical ideas and inspiration that I acted on right away. And with journaling and prayer, I started thinking… I can do this. I can be decisive. Isn’t this the discernment of spirits? Awareness, understanding, and taking action to accept or reject the inspiration or temptation. (Or in my case, awareness, understanding, and not taking action.). Seriously, one of the things I like about these videos is her emphasis on being gentle with yourself. And one thing I don’t completely agree with is the encouragement to trust myself. I prefer to think of it as trusting God to lead me.
But enough about the videos… What have I been doing? Well, first I went around my home looking at all the material items and writing a list of “Unfinished Business”. This could be: repair my bathroom towel hook, open Rachel’s bank account, finish remodeling the half bath, read such and such a book, and so on. A lot of the items came from my kitchen desk area. It was basically a brain dump. I also added things I didn’t see on my pass through the house that were just in my mind. I eventually processed this list. I put tasks I will do either on a To Do list that resides in my desk drawer, attached to a manila folder holding some of the paperwork, or on my calendar, on the day or month I intend to work on them. I wrote projects on sheets of paper (where I added some of the steps to the projects) and filed them in a binder by the month I intend to work on them. If I don’t get to them in that month, I can move them forward to another month. And some tasks/projects I just crossed out as not necessary right now, or ever. It was a relief to organize the jumbled mess in my mind into a prioritized, doable plan. Order out of chaos.
The next thing I did was to make two lists of things I wished I did daily. The first listed things to keep my house effortlessly cleaned, maintained, and clutter free. The second listed things I can do to take care of myself. (Many were retreat resolutions.) I have chosen three items that I am going to focus on during June. The hope is that they’ll become habits. I usually try to change too many things at once and lose focus. Choosing only three seems, again, doable.
Lastly, I wrote 25 small chores on index cards, laid them out on the dining room table and told my four daughters to each choose 5. I’ll take on the five (least wanted) remaining tasks. I quickly wrote out lists by chore and by person (so ISTJ) for reference. I have been procrastinating doing this all spring and it feels good to have decided who is responsible for what again.
So it kind of sounds like I spend all my time writing lists. I do enjoy writing, but I’ve also been involved in many people oriented activities such as: helping Joseph buy a car, driving Hannah and Rachel around to tennis practices and matches, getting Mary new eyeglasses, spending a weekend with Bobby in Delaware, attending two school spring music concerts, doing laps in my Dad’s pool, playing tennis, tech ring, and corn hole… See I do live quite an exciting life.