This was originally a post to respond to a question on the W@H message board. The original question ran something like this: What routines do you have that help you keep up with the day to day and get other things done as well?
As you can see by my answer I didn't have any wonderful advice for her with basic day to day stuff but I did give her the starting point from which I am working.
Here is my answer in its original form - minus the friendly chatter that accompanies message board banters. I am posting it here for posterity and as a motivational tool to keep me on track.
Girl I have no wonderful advice for you -- I would say the same about me -- I am very organizationally challenged -- One thing I have learned in the last year or so however, is to take tasks slowly one step at a time.
I am willing to bet that you are a perfectionist -- don't laugh -- you want to mount tall mountains perfectly the first time, realize that you can't do it and either don't start, or if you have started, stop in frustration, adding to the clutter. I am exactly the same way!
People like that are never going to get anywhere with that mode of thinking. I have begun to realize that and started breaking jobs down into smaller, MUCH smaller tasks.
for example this week's broad main goal was the clean the front part of the house, meaning my kitchen, living room and hall way. In my imagination that was a completely clean, sterile environment that was not only clean on the out side but inside the cabinets, pantry, shelves, and closets etc. and all was organized.
However, I realized quickly Tuesday that with 3 children at the house that wasn't going to happen.....I broke it down into manageable jobs. Tuesday's goal was to surface clean the kitchen. That meant the dishes, the counters, the table, the stove. That DID NOT mean the floor, cabinets, pantry and fridge and freezer were going to be cleaned up and out and organized. I got that done and have maintained the surface clean with the help of assigning certain chores to my 8 and 5 year olds. The whole job took about 2 hours and the rest of the day was filled with daily activities etc.
Wednesday's job was to surface clean the Living room. Which meant picking up clutter, trash, toys, books and crafts -- putting up or throwing out. I did vacuum the middle of the floors in here -- meaning up to the furniture but not moving it. That is done and the goal is to maintain that.
Tomorrow's and Friday's goals are to clean up and out the entertainment center and the hallway and accompanying bathroom respectively with catching up on laundry in the meantime. The entertainment center is my one major clean up/out project this week the rest is mostly just surface cleaning and of course maintaining.
I am learning to be satisfied with small successes and keep building on them.
I am going to start a household notebook this year too -- but do it in small, small steps. The first things I am going to add are routines and chore lists for these areas that I have cleaned this week. It will help me once we start back to school next Tuesday.