Thursday, January 5, 2017

An Open Letter to a Lady Struggling With Housekeeping


Dear Ladies,

I wrote this, along with a prayer, to a lady who contacted me for prayer last week. I was impressed that my response was not just to her, but to me, and to many of you, too. Here is my open letter to a lady struggling with housekeeping and homemaking.

~~~~~

When I married, I was the most horrible housekeeper you can imagine—well, maybe not that bad, but the house was usually messy. I've progressed over the last thirty years, but I'm still not nearly as consistent at keeping things tidy as I need to be. I've still got piles that drive me and my husband crazy. Part of that is three kids still at home. We homeschool, so we are here most of the time. If I'm honest though, those are excuses. 

I'm feeling impressed that there are a couple of keys to improving my homemaking. First, I've got to get rid of a lot of clutter—we live in a small house with 5 people 15 and up. We don't use everything we own. Second, I've got to develop routines for things I have to do over and over. Then I have to do them the same way, in the same order, until they are second nature. 

I don't think about how to brush my teeth, but I do it the same way every time. I don't think about how to put gas in the van, but I do it the same every time. I need routines like that for everything—well almost everything. I think that might help you, too. 

Here's what I suggest we do. Think about something that you do every day. Then think about the most logical way to do it. Make a list of steps for yourself, then do them the same way each day until it's habit. Then we can add the next routine.

Just know this—all things are possible with Jesus—even keeping house when you don't feel well or don't feel motivated. Go check out Philippians 4:4-9. 
Really—do it now! 

Be blessed and courageous in this new year. If God is for us, who can be against us? Dust bunnies will be defeated!

Are you with me?

Hugs to you!

25 comments:

  1. Check out www.flylady.net-it's free and incredibly helpful

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    1. Yes. That's true. She has helped me in some ways. Thank you.

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  2. Laura, Such a fantastic post..
    you are right...we can do all things with God..[Just remembering to put our trust in Him...even with our house hold chores.smile]
    I too, learned a lot , since the early married days [45 yrs ago].
    I read some cleaning tips that really helped me.. It goes with this post.
    It said to ..first thing in the morning, to ALWAYS make you bed. as soon as getting up.. To time yourself.. Well, I have always been the one, that made the bed sometimes , but not all the time. My thought..... no one has to go in the bed room.. you could just shut the door.lol Well. I timed myself , it took me less than 2 minutes.. So , I decided I would try this tip first and get in a habit .. It is amazing........... just as you said, It is just second nature now. I make my bed as soon as I get out of it[unless, I am changing sheets]. I have been doing it for years.. And even if the room needs dusting , or floors mopped, to the visitor passing by, It looks neat ..
    Since discovering it, I time myself with other chores.. It makes me see "exactly' how much time I have to have to do them. then just take that chore and let it become a habit.
    Thanks for this post..
    Hugs, Judy

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  3. I have been challenging myself everyday to fill up a Walmart bag. Using FlyLady's tip on 15 minutes a day has helped me. I had to let go of the all or nothing mentality. I didn't like the idea of just 15 minutes because I am normally a person who likes to do the whole job or I will not do it. But that would set me up to never get anything done. So, I buckled down and just and did the 15 minutes. I feel so much better and things are getting done.

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    1. That's good advice, Mrs. Chrissy. Sometimes I even set a timer for 5 minutes to stay on a task I don't want to do!

      P.S. Each Walmart bag is one cubic foot of real estate!

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  4. Great post Laura! I've never struggled with housework, but I know many that do. I actually find it enjoyable and therapeutic. I do have a routine, and maybe that's why. Although if something comes up and things change that's okay with me! Happy New Year!
    hugs,
    Jann

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  5. When my kids were younger and still living at home, we had a regular cleaning routine that everyone helped with. Between homeschooling and me getting ill, it was a struggle for me to keep up with everything. Now that it is just my husband and I at home I need to get back into a normal cleaning routine again, taking into account that some days I will not be able to do much at all. I do keep a running list on the whiteboard for both my husband and I of things that need to be done. He can easily look at it and tackle one or more of the cleaning projects while I do others. I take great delight in crossing items off that list. ;)

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    1. We had a better cleaning schedule with the kids up 'til last summer. Suddenly they got a lot busier (all older teens), and it fell apart. I think it's time to make another plan so that momma doesn't have to do it all.
      Happy weekend!
      Laura

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  6. Laura, this meant the world to me, the prayer is now my screensaver!
    The 1rst thing you said was de-clutter. Mine isn't so much clutter, it's our "collections"... My husband has been collecting Avon bottles for over 50yrs. I collect old cookbooks.
    My granddaughter came over day before yesterday. We took all the Avon, dusted and put them on 2 bookshelves & a decorative shelf.
    We took my cookbooks, cleared a shelf in the kitchen and stacked them. Now they are neat, but still accessible. My other books we neatly stacked under the computer desk, still can easily get to them, but they aren't just everywhere!
    My living room is once again a living room, who knew?
    I also went to a few housekeeping blogs & websites, got some reasonable tips. I still have the other 2 bedrooms & baths to go, but I can still see the shore in the distance!
    I will forever be grateful for your prayers & your time!
    God Bless You Laura!!!

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    1. Excellent progress Laurie! I'm almost done putting my Christmas decor away. I'll finish Saturday then, after a bit of cleaning, I'll put up some winter decor. I'm trying to week as I go.
      You are most welcome. I will be happy to pray for you any time.
      God bless you, and your granddaughter. Youth really helps when it comes to cleaning up. ~smile~
      Laura

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  7. Philippians 4:4-9.

    I needed that tonight. Thank you and God bless you Laura

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  8. I agree about the bed making. Such a simple task but it can make you feel immediately accomplished first thing.

    I'm usually on a pretty good schedule, but there have been many times I've fallen off the wagon due to an illness, a surgery, etc. The why of it really isn't as important as the getting back in control. It amazes me how being sick for one week can throw a house of control into total and supreme chaos. I have no kids so I can only imagine how bad it can REALLY be with more people lol. There have been 2 extreme times for me doing little more than surviving for 12 wks. at a time. I admit to the extreme fantasy of a fire and the insurance company ordering a cleaning company in. However, this is how I did it.....Ten minutes at a time. Since both the 12 wk. events involved extreme exhaustion, I knew I could handle 10 minutes. So, I started cleaning for 10 minutes of every hour. Then I sat for 50 minutes and did whatever I wanted. I usually read. Then another 10 minutes. Admittedly , I did not notice much for a couple of days, but then I did. And inside of a week, the house looked dramatically better. Not perfect, but better. You'd be amazed at what you can accomplish in 10 minute chunks. You can sort a load and start laundry. Fold clothes. Wash a sink of dishes. Vacuum. Clean off just one surface.

    Anyway, that's my little system when I'm overwhelmed. I've been sick for over a week so I'll be employing it by Monday, I hope.

    I hope it helps someone get started.

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  9. Laura, I have appreciated the letter, and the prayer is now my screensaver.
    What you said about routines makes so much sense, why didn't I ever think of it?
    We don't have clutter. We have collections, my husband has collected Avon bottles for over 50yrs. I collect very old or specialty cookbooks.
    My granddaughter came over, we took all the Avon, dusted and put it on 2 bookshelves & a decorative stand.
    We cleaned off a countertop in the kitchen and stacked my cookbooks. They are neat and easily accessable.
    It felt so good to have my living room be a living room again!
    I have along way to go yet, but I think I can actually get this done. It won't be quick,but I the shores are getting closer!
    Thank you so much, it has meant the world to me!

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  10. One of the biggest obstacles we have had is the need to "save something because we can repair it, or because we might need it later, and not have money to replace it". I am much better at this than I used to be, but there are still too many things that fall into that category.

    Fly lady drove me crazy when it was just an email list, but I do make my bed everyday, get dressed to shoes, unless I am sick, and leave no dirty dishes in the sink. I am relentless about getting the trash out of the house, but I still cling to too many papers quandary books.

    I rarely have much laundry dirty, I keep ahead of that, but the dust bunnies still run rampant here.

    Still very much a work in progress, I need to improve even more.

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    1. Oh my, dust bunnies. I cleaned the living room today, moving furniture, and mopping. They had multiplied under the furniture!
      Glad they're gone now.
      Laura

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  11. Good Morning, Laura!
    Loved this post...I think this is something we all struggle with on one level or another. I think that my biggest hurdle (and one that faces most "crafty" women (smile!) ) is that I never want to get rid of anything that I might use in a future craft! Routines help me to stay focused on tasks that aren't always the most enjoyable...and listening to classical music or hymns while working helps as well.
    Hope you have a blessed week!
    Love,
    Laura

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    1. Yes, being crafty seems to be the enemy of decluttering. ~smile~ I'll be over for a visit in a bit.
      Happy January!
      Laura, too.

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  12. Hi Laura,

    Although I keep a tidy home, my greatest challenge in completing chore I don't like is simply getting started. I can find all sorts of other tasks to fill my day and "help" me avoid whatever it is I am avoiding.

    How do I overcome this? I make a SHORT list of things that need to be done and I, of course, include the task I am avoiding. I rarely begin with the "unwanted chore" on the list but once I begin marking accomplishments off the list I find I have gained enough momentum to tackle whatever I'm avoiding.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Mrs.B

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    1. Good advice for motivation Mrs. B. Thanks!

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  13. Dust bunnies be defeated. :) Yes. You give good advice. Keeping house doesn't have to be as complicated as we make it to be, yet it does require good habits. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It seems habits are the answer to many things Lisa. Thanks for talking back!

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  14. Laura I am going to share this with some ladies who need this right now!

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    1. I am honored, Suzie. I hope it is helpful.
      Have a great week ending. I'll be over for a visit soon.
      Laura

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Hello! I love it when y'all talk back!

I read all the comments I receive. I answer as many as I can.

Right now, I'm dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy. Please understand if I don't answer. This is all new to me.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PRAYING FOR ME!!!
I treasure your prayers and your comments.

If you have a question, be sure I can reach you by email or subscribe to the comments.

Be blessed!
Laura