Expanding The To-Do List So It Includes...Um, Well...SOMETHING

Good morning, my fine friends.

Hubby's home and my mood is considerably less heavy than when I last met you here on the blogosphere. Lesson hard-learned, that ol' I-can't-do-it-in-my-own-strength one. Phew. If I'm not careful I might throw my back out...or a shoe...or a tantrum.

Help is good. Help is real good ("Please, sir. May I have some more?", in my best Oliver accent).

When I look around me I get the distinct impression that nothing in the way of winnowing has happened over the last ten to twelve days. Hmm. Why does it feel that way? Let me think. Oh yeah; because nothing has.

Well there you go. Mystery revealed.

I have to say that in the name of flexibility whilst adjusting to WeFour becoming the FabFive I have had a pretty haphazard schedule. I mean, there is an important degree of consistency; morning time before Brilliant Beauty is off to school, Pretty Baby's feeding schedule, nap times for the smallest two of the us-es, picking Brilliant Beauty up from school, etc. It's not all willy-nilly around here. But what I am waking up to see (finally, Rip Van Winkle!) is that there are large portions of the day that are not being used well, thus creating even larger gaps in my efforts to sift, shift, steward, and save. And this has one, big, ugly, dirt-covered snowball effect.

Hear me say (or, uh, see me type) that I will never be the kind of person that has every second of the day predestined for noble and necessary tasks. I'm pretty certain that unless I have some sort of personality or behavioral transplant I will never have every thing checked off on life's epic TO-DO list. I remember my Mom having a sign when we were growing up that read, "An immaculate house is a sign of a misspent life". Agreed. I like the way that woman thinks. But I also think a house in disorder is a sign of a misspent life. Let's shoot for center, shall we?

I can deal with "messy". Messy is what happens in everyday life. Junky, dirty, and disorganized is what happens when minimal thought and effort is put into the little and big things alike that are needed to make a home run relatively smoothly. I'm not sure how I did it, but incrementally I have put too much thought and effort too many other places until we find ourselves in the midst of a chaotic Quaint Cottage.

Boo hiss.

Okay then. So let's regroup.

I took some time over the last couple of days to really try to identify the whats, whens, and hows that are getting in the way of peace and order around Quaint Cottage. Over the last few months I have really gotten rid of so much unused and underused stuff that the blame can't be placed there anymore. It really comes down to this: me and how I'm using (and misusing) my time.

Here's some confessions, stepping stones if you will, on the path to Here...
-Both the owning and the winnowing of the stuff have each in their turn taken too much of my focus.
-I have stepped over the mundane, but EXTREMELY necessary, tasks of the everyday to work on other "more exciting" projects (also needing to be done, but that could totally wait). Sometimes this is okay (winnowing Little Big Man's room which was beyond critical mass vs. unloading the dishwasher). Sometimes this is bad (rearranging...again...the laundry room for future grocery stockpiling vs. washing at least a load or two of Mount St. Stanky).
-Hold onto your butts for this one...I play the "I'm the tired mommy of three little ones" card throughout the day to give myself an excuse for slacking off. I'm not talking about those necessary little breaks to sit and soak up quiet or a bath or a book. I'm talking about sheer laziness. There, I said it. Ick.
-When I do need a break, I go to the wrong things to recharge my energies. Quiet, music, reading, meditation and prayer, writing, QUALITY time with the us-es, sitting outside, doing something with my hands like knitting or cross-stitching or painting, cooking...these things energize me. Watching a movie, knocking around on the internet for too long, perpetual snacking...these things offer an instant gratification that ultimately sucks the life out of me.
-I procrastinate. I'll elaborate on this one later. (Heh, heh...these are the jokes, folks.)
-I can fly by the seat of my pants when necessary. I can also fly by the seat of my pants when it would be a whole lot better to just make a plan and aim for sticking to it.
-I can get lost in the nebulae of working in the home with no boss or job description and forget the end goal.

These are each contributing factors to the mayhem. I've grown up hearing the adage "aim for nothing and you'll hit it every time". This is the diagnosis for the daily tasks: my aim has been off. Some days I don't even show up for target practice.

We've had quite enough of that, I can assure you.

My new aim: A Place For Everything And Everything In It's Place.

My goal: A Smoother And More Consistent Home Environment That Fosters Peace For Anyone Who Enters.

My aim isn't perfection. My goal isn't an immaculate house. My desire isn't checks in the boxes on a to-do list. We just need better around here. I can do better. The us-es deserve better. I deserve better.

So I made a plan, a schedule for each day of the week, to aid me and the us-es in consistency and moderation and perseverance with managing our household. I feel very good about it. I think it is well-thought out, sensible, reasonable, and do-able. I printed each day's schedule on it's own sheet of paper, hole-punched them, and put them in a notebook.

Here are just a few elements that are part of the schedule each week:
-a new wake-up time to allow for showering and dressing everyday before the kids are awake
-ways to "eat the elephant a bite at a time", i.e. washing/folding/hanging/putting away ONE load of laundry every day, cleaning any dishes in the sink at the start of the day, making Brilliant Beauty's lunch for the next day the night before, etc.
-designating each day for only one "major" project, i.e. Monday = finances/budgeting/pay bills, Wednesday = dust/vacuum kids' rooms, Friday = clean bathrooms, etc.
-a designated day and time for grocery shopping
-built-in time to be focused on the us-es (not just being in the same room at the same time, but being together)
-designated start and stop time for me to spend online
-work-free times built in (especially during the weekend) to spend time together as the FabFive
-designation of certain daily tasks away from me and to Ma Luffin' Mayun and Brilliant Beauty
-a stop time each day so that when we are all home together in the evening no one is rushing around to get major cleaning/winnowing projects done

And there you have it. We'll give this a try. I am very optimistic about it's potential. Goals are good. Even the Bible talks about people perishing for a lack of vision.

Here's to seeing more clearly.

Frugal Friday to come...


  1. jc,
    I love it. So much good stuff here... so much y-o-u.
    Makes me think of my own mantras when I walk around the house observing stuff: "Where is your home?" and "Don't touch something twice when you can touch it once." (That last one doesn't apply to living creatures... opposite logic there.)

  2. I really think me and you are two peas in a pod. I too am a major procrastinator. I need a plan of action or nothing will get done. I also like to play the "I'm a single mom card and deserve to space out all day and not get anything done"... I guess no matter what walk of life we are in we can always find some "card" to play to avoid the importance of quality time with those we love and managing the house God gave us. God help me.. God help us!
    Love you Lady :)


I love reading your comments. Please leave one for me here.