When I was a child I was not in the "neat and tidy" category. Piles abounded (although I knew what was in the piles!), my bed was never made (unless my sister made it), clothes were everywhere and it was like pulling teeth to get me to help with the dishes or laundry.
When I moved to college, I discovered that there were people far messier than me. One roommate in particular did not have stuff, so much as she had one giant pile. We had lofted her bed, and underneath it was a desk and a dresser, supposedly. Really, all you could see was clothes. I was still prone to piles, but I improved a bit from my younger days.
After dorm life, I moved into the "apartment life" stage, as a hip single chick. Things were still pretty messy, but my apartment was never "dirty", just cluttered. No cleaning routines to speak of either.
Then I got married and discovered that living with a man is twice as much mess. My dear husband and I share many of the same faults when it comes to issues of cleanliness. We're both more prone to put our dish on the counter instead of in the dishwasher and neither of us likes folding and putting away laundry. The first two years of our marriage were full of struggle in this area.
Then, after I spent a year getting used to being a mother and I had an urchin who was down THERE, down there with all that MESS! Then I started improving. I figured out some tricks and tips and started making sure laundry and dishes were kept up on.
Life got better.
Then, as it usually does, life got crazy and I got into a bad place. I think it takes me a year after having a baby to get back to "normal", or to find that new normal. I've passed that one year mark and while I still struggle, things are looking up!
Two tips for you today, from my many many years of wisdom.
1. Laundry Baskets are your best friends. If you have a disaster of epic proportions use a laundry basket to sort and put away. When I was living on my own, the first thing I'd pull out of the chaos was laundry. Get that all in a basket, then taken care of and all of a sudden you can see the floor. Now I usually pull the toys up first, then any trash that's found it's way to the floor, then anything else. It's a magnificently simple system that is a life saver.
2. Checklists are your second best friend. There's plenty of options of things to buy if you don't want to make your own, but I highly suggest using a checklist. This week I picked up the Confident Mom planner and I'm liking it so far! There's also Motivated Moms and plenty of other options! And don't forget the Fly Lady! Going through her website definitely put me on the path to routines and keeping things clean!
If you were to give a tip to a person just moving out of their parents house, what would it be?