Cultivating tidiness

I'm a slob. 

I leave kitchen cupboards open, potato peels on the counter, hair in the bathroom sink, shoes and clothes strewn everywhere, and pretty much drive my patient husband crazy.  Once a week I have to talk him down from an anxiety attack brought on by the mess in our house. Now, we try and keep things clean and we don’t have bug or rodents scuttling around, but it’s lived in. Sometimes the dishes in the sink are from the night before and the sheets aren’t changed every week and there is a general layer of clutter.

Ironically I love organization. A distinct college memory involves being voted into a leadership role where “organization” was part of the position name. My roommate and I looked at each other then at our messy room floor and burst into laughter. Somehow I then kept all my materials for that job in a perfectly organized binder. I realized I might actually be some sort of freak who loves organization and yet is messy?

Either way I do understand that once you live in your own house with your own husband, you may find yourself wanting to up your neatness game. And by “you” I mean me. The first step was noticing my mess and the 2nd was getting irritated by it and the 3rd has been thinking of realistic solutions. Realistic solutions do not include: cleaning schedules, just doing it, or self-discipline. I need crutches before I can run around cleaning like a perfect little Cinderella.

So, that being said, I’ve been coming up with ways to keep myself accountable and train myself to be a neater person. Here they are:

1. Purge: I’ve been ruthlessly getting rid of things that I don’t need or like anymore. It’s not easy for me, but once stuff is gone, I don’t even miss it.

2. Organize: Boxes, crates, baskets, anything that can hold groups of things and store them in a way that makes sense and easy to access make my heart giddy. Not everything has a place or always makes it back to its spot yet, but the plan is to get there. Someday, after all there are things that are more fun than collecting things in boxes.

3. Invite People over: This is totally a cheat and works so well. I don’t like other people seeing our mess, so having house guests come into our home regularly forces us to tidy up. (In case we ever invite you over, we also have people over because we like them and love sharing meals with them. Not just as an accountability hack to keep our house clean.)

4. Do it for Dave: I’ve learned that his love language is acts of service and that doing the dishes or vacuuming make him happy and feel loved. I still have to actively force myself to do it and to think to do it, but the sacrifice is worth it and I think of it as a gift (one of my love languages!) to him.

Any suggestions you have to add to this list? I know cleaning is a boring topic, but it is something we all have to live with, unless you’re Taylor Swift in which case you have an army of cleaning ladies and it you’re reading my blog I promise I’m more interesting than this. I promise.