Monday, August 3, 2015

Surviving Twins: Taking Care of Our Home

True story: I used to be a fairly messy person. Clutter didn't bother me. Piles felt like adequate tidying, and I didn't mind our house being less than "perfect".  I've also read and believed the quotes that go something along the lines of, "Our house might be messy but at least my children are happy!".  and I suppose that is what works for other families, but it quite simply doesn't work for us. 

Somewhere along the way, my mentality about our home changed. There are a number of factors that surely play into that... finally having our own house again after living in transition for several years is probably the biggest factor. Growing up and maturing is definitely another one. and lastly, most importantly, maybe, is that I crave order amidst chaos. I find that I function better when things are where the belong. Mentally, emotionally, and practically, if my house is in order, I am in a much healthier state of mind. There are many factors of my day and my life that are out of my control, but keeping my house in order isn't one of them. 

So here are some things I've learned about keeping my house under control while I've been raising three very small and deliciously adorable humans. These are what work for me and for us and for now. 

1. I didn't take on more house than I can handle. We have a very small, quaint home. I absolutely adore it. The upstairs is less than 1000 square feet, and that size is manageable to me. It never gets too out of control. The girls all sleep in one bedroom together, we have our room across the hall, and the third bedroom downstairs is reserved for overnight guests. One advantage of having sold many of our belongings several years ago is that we only bring items and things that we love into our new home. We were given a fresh plate to start with, so we are careful to only bring things into our home that are genuinely useful or add joy to our space. Also, a smaller home means smaller house payment and smaller bills. This frees me up to be able to stay home with our kiddos apart from 9 hours of massage therapy I choose to do. 

2. I don't overwhelm our living space with toys. The girls play in our living room and typically the amount of toys that are available for them to play with is the amount of toys they will play with. If we have piles and stacks of toys on the shelf for them to pillage, we will inevitably have piles and stacks of toys on the floor to clean up later.

3. I simplified my wardrobe. I have about 4 outfits that I rotate and wear almost every day. They are outfits that are functional and that I feel awesome in. (I don't bother wearing stuff that doesn't make me feel good anymore.) The same is true for our daughters. This prevents laundry from piling up out of control because after a few days we all need something to wear so I have to do laundry.  

4. We got a dishwasher. When we bought our house it didn't have a dishwasher, and it was literally the first thing we bought for it, ha! We didn't have a lot of space in our kitchen so we found a small one and it is a life saver. Washing dishes just really isn't a valuable use of my time. This investment was worth the time it has given back to me.

5. If I'm going to bother setting something down, I set it where it belongs. This is so basic, isn't it?? I can't even tell you how stupid this is to even write, but I regularly recite this to myself: "Just put it back where it belongs." Done pouring the juice? Don't set it on the counter, Leslie! Finished with the bread? Spin that bag up and just put it back in the cupboard that is 2 feet away. Honestly. It saves me so much time just putting crap back where it belongs the first time I set it down.

6. I don't stop moving. This probably isn't going to be encouraging for anyone, but one of the 'secrets' I've learned is to just keep moving, haha. "An object in motion stays in motion" and I have found that if I sit down after the girls fall asleep for their nap or after they've gone to bed for the night, getting up becomes reeeeeal hard. So until I've finished what I want to finish for the day, I keep moving. 

7. Make the bed every day. I can't even tell you how good this makes me feel. When the twins were born, I was very overwhelmed and the house was just a disaster, except for our bedroom. I needed one space in our house that I could retreat to that wasn't chaos. For me, that was our bedroom.

8. Pick up the house every night. Get the dishes done. Finish the day well. Every day has its own work and its own mess.  For me, when messes from yesterday spill over into today, I feel like I've been unfair to myself by starting the day with work to do and not with a blank slate. I often think of my Future Self and I do my best to set her up for success.

8. Have grace with yourself. Most nights, by 10:00, my house is almost completely in order. Some days, though, I just can't.  Some days I will pick up only the living room (/what I can see in my direct view between the tv and the couch haha), ignore the rest of the house, put on some Community or Hart of Dixie, and rest. 

Things I still haven't figured out:

-How to regularly cook meals for my family. (Do they really need to eat every day? Okayyyy FINE.)
-How to regularly exercise apart from pushing strollers and wrestling babies during diaper changes.
-How to fold clean laundry in a timely manner.
-How to turn poopy diapers into a money-making opportunity. I would be so rich you guys!

Do you have any hacks you've learned on keeping your house in order? Am I the only one who is crazy and needs their house in order? Share your magic with me!

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