“Habit” forming behavior

You guys, it’s been more than21 days!!

For 23 days, to be exact, I’ve been living clutter free, and keeping my apartment clean and organized! I have no been perfect in my plan, but being perfect was never a part of the plan. I first talked about my new cleaning schedule in this priorities post.

What’s the significance of 21 days?!

It takes 21 days to make a habit! That’s what “they” say, right?! Anyway, and least I hope so. It sure does feel like a habit, and it feels so good!!

You want to be clean and organized too?!
(Wait, am I seriously giving advice about this?! I have changed!!) in fact, I’m not even sure I should be bragging about this. Is it an accomplishment, or just a transition into becoming a real adult. Either way, it feels great, and I want to share how I got here.

start with a list
Start by knowing what you want to get accomplished. What are tasks that you need performed weekly? Daily? Monthly? It’s critical to identify what is important to you. My priorities are having a clean bathroom and kitchen, so that’s the bulk of my daily list.

get organized
What supplies do you need to complete your weekly tasks? My “most used” supplies are old cloth rags and clorox green works spray cleaner. I don’t love using harsh chemicals and would LOVE to simplify my cleaner! Any suggestions? I use a simple old broom a vacuum a lot, too, but those are nothing special. You know you’re an adult when you want a new vacuum. I also love my Bona mop. Figure out what works for you. I don’t use paper towels or single use wipes, but something simple may help you get into a routine. Get your supplies organized before you start!

get started
Now! Do it today! Don’t wait until tomorrow! If you have written a list, and have your supplies, what are you waiting for? Just don’t overdo it- you’ll be back for more tomorrow!

don’t get discouraged
You are going to have days when you don’t sweep the floor. Weeks when you don’t scrub the tub. Unless Martha Stewart is going to soak in that tub, or eat off your floor, nobody is going to notice. Your best bet? Don’t let it get you down. Don’t try to make up for lost time, or you might just get overwhelmed. Enjoy your night off! Get back in your routine tomorrow!

stick to it
It’s satisfying! It’s worth it! Keep it up!

celebrate (and show off!) your progress
Have a party! Host your friends and family! Or just share you glory with complete strangers! We haven’t gotten around to hosting yet, but are hoping to soon.

re-evaluate
This is where we are right now. I am keeping the apartment clean and organized, but I am not sticking to my list. I want to reflect and make it more attainable. So- for the next 21 days (is it weird to be so excited about this? I never thought I would get to this point…) here is my list!!

weekly schedule
daily: Wipe down bathroom, wipe down kitchen surfaces and sweep kitchen floor.
Monday: Nothing else!
Tuesday: Declutter and wipe surfaces, 1 load laundry
Wednesday: sweep all rooms
Thursday: declutter/surfaces, 1 load laundry
Friday/Saturday: Declutter whole house and clean all surfaces (kitchen), clean toilet/tub, sweep and mop all floors.
Sunday Laundry x 2, finish weekend tasks, projects.

I’ve moved to less sweeping during the week (more attainable) and bigger tasks back to the weekend. Wish me luck!!

how long do you think it takes to make a habit?

have you been doing any spring cleaning?

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What’s new with you?

So, how was Easter weekend?

Ours turned out really well. Brandon had family visiting from Chicago. They (his uncle, aunt, and 7 year old cousin) stayed with his mother, who lives about 45 minutes away from us. we did spend a lot of our weekend in the car, but it was totally worth it to get to spend so much time with family. It was a rainy, not so springy weekend- until yesterday!! Sunday was beautiful and sunny, we spent all day lounging in the park. The Perfect Sunday, if you ask me.

Brandon and I were also able to squeeze a run in yesterday before heading up to hang out with family. We ran about 3.5 miles around the neighborhood. We have been slowing down a little bit since we haven’t been as consistent, but it felt nice to get out there.

I spent a lot of last week focused on my new cleaning task list. I would have to say it was mostly a success.

Here was what I planned to do:

weekly schedule
daily: Wipe down bathroom, wipe down kitchen surfaces and sweep kitchen floor.
Monday: Nothing else!
Tuesday: Sweep all rooms, 1 load laundry
Wednesday: Clean toilets/tub, declutter and dust whole house
Thursday: Sweep bathroom, 1 load laundry
Friday/Saturday: Declutter whole house and clean all surfaces (kitchen), sweep and mop all floors.
Sunday Laundry x 2, finish weekend tasks, projects.

I was really successful until Wednesday. I managed to do my “daily” tasks and minimize clutter (everyday!) but ended up hiking stone mountain and then heading to dinner with friends Wednesday, so I didn’t get home until late. Thursday I managed to get back on track, but I did not go back and do Wednesdays tasks. I did nothing on Friday, but I think that’s a-ok with me. Saturday we went into a whirlwind, since the daly wanted o stop by and see the place, so we certainly got it all done for the weekend. I’ve already done all my Monday tasks, and more.

the verdict? I’m going to try to keep it up. The reality is, there will be a lot more days like last Wednesday, and we probably won’t work so hard cleaning every weekend. I have to remind myself that the point is to be less stressed about cleaning- I can’t let it hamper my fun with hanging out with friends that the tub isn’t getting clean. There’s always tomorrow 🙂

Its a busy week again in our house. My husband has his certification test tomorrow. I’m cautiously optimistic. May he will notice all the cleaning Ive been doing when he is done, and maybe he will even want to join in on the schedule! My mother in law is having her knee replaced Wednesday. I’m just going to try to stay afloat!!

See you on the other side!

Where have I been?! + Priorities

WOW, it’s been a while!! What happened?!

You guys, I got caught up in a whirlwind at work. It started three weeks ago (when I last posted). Basically, the main PT in the area where I work left suddenly, and I inherited a huge new job responsibility (plus doing the job of 2 people) on a very busy week. I didn’t leave before 630 that entire week- not to mention my car was in the shop and my poor husband was stuck driving me everywhere.

Things have calmed down a little, I’m easing into my new role, and we aren’t so busy. I think I’m going to be able to handle it, things are just very different.

Luckily, that very busy week ended early, and we headed to Savannah to celebrate the wedding of some of our closest friends. It was one of those perfect weekends- lots of nice relaxing time with people you love. I almost cried when we were getting back on the highway!!

This is where I are really fell off of the blogging bandwagon. I should have caught up then, but I felt too far behind. I’ve stayed pretty busy since then, but I’m back now.

What else is new??

workouts/running: As you can guess, things took a turn for the worse on my crazy week. I ran once. I eased back into it the next week, but haven’t run more than 2-3 times/week since. And until today, I had done no strength or cross training. I promise I wasn’t being lazy either- I just felt like I had no free time. We forced ourselves out of bed to the gym at 6AM today. Im getting sleepy now, but it was so worth it to feel like I have accomplished something, and have more time this evening.

Today: stationary bike x 10 minutes. elliptical x 10 minutes. And 0.25 miles x 4 with “rest breaks” between laps to complete a total of the following: crunches 5 x 10, pushups 5 x 10, and squats 5 x 10. I wouldn’t want to overdo it now, it was my first day back 😉

husband has been studying like crazy for a certification exam (fingers crossed, and more details if he passes!) This has made me more busy, because I’m trying not to ask him to do anything! The more free time he has to study, the better. One more week!

The homefront:
THIS is where all of my energy has been going. When my husband got a new job recently, we considered (again) buying a home. But, in our neighborhood, in our price range, that would be a tiny 2 bedroom condo, and most things we have seen are very similar to what we have now. It’s hard to decide if we want to put a lot of money into something we may like less than what we currently have, but on the other hand we are getting tired of renting. Ah, being a grown up.

So for now, and at least for a few more months, we’re sticking it out here. We love our apartment, and our neighborhood, but I’m starting to feel a little cramped. Cramped because we have too much stuff. Not enough storage, so things overflow into corners. You can’t have everything in its place when everything does not have a place, ya know?! When I get stressed about our apartment being in disarray, it isn’t pretty. But the reality is, we live in a tiny apartment.

You might have seen where I was going with this… Basically I am in super clean/rearrange/organize mode. My first big project, which I actually did a few weeks ago, was cleaning our office. I turned our filing cabinet/desk space into a usable area! This was actually a technique I used to procrastinate on filing my taxes (finally finished last night… I don’t want to talk about it.) It’s been 3 ish weeks, and we haven’t junked it back up yet! This is carrying over to keeping our mail area more organized as well, because I actually know what to do with bills when they arrive- imagine that!

I have also made some progress reorganizing the linen closet, and opened up a whole shelf for my husband to store empty beer bottles (for future homebrew) that had previously lived in the corner of my bedroom. I’ve donated some clothes, and kept my bedroom neat for the better part of a week.

But by far, my biggest accomplishment, was coming up with a system. I have a list of daily tasks, and then other big projects I hope to accomplish in the upcoming weeks/months. The daily tasks are not intended to be stressful, but to actually minimize stress by splitting things up. Prior to this schedule, I have attempted to to laundry tues/thurs/sun, I wipe down the sink in the bathroom a few times a week, And do a decent job cleaning the kitchen daily. Tasks like floors, deep cleaning the bathroom, and general clutter just overwhelm me on a regular basis, and I have a “only do it if it really needs to be done or we are having guests over” policy. Not cool.

weekly schedule
daily: Wipe down bathroom, wipe down kitchen surfaces and sweep kitchen floor.
Monday: Nothing else!
Tuesday: Sweep all rooms, 1 load laundry
Wednesday: Clean toilets/tub, declutter and dust whole house
Thursday: Sweep bathroom, 1 load laundry
Friday/Saturday: Declutter whole house and clean all surfaces (kitchen), sweep and mop all floors.
Sunday Laundry x 2, finish weekend tasks, projects.

I’m not going to lie, Friday/Saturday still kind of intimidates me. But honestly, if I keep up during the week, it shouldn’t be that bad!! More on other upcoming projects soon, but my goal for this week is to get in the routine of daily cleaning.

Speaking of which, it’s time to go sweep the floors! (and I don’t feel stressed about it at all!!)

do you have a weekly system for keeping track of chores/household duties?

how do you prioritize home duties vs working out?

Living in your space

I want to know a little about you.

Do you come home after a stressful day at work and think, “Okay, let’s do this. Laundry, housework, cook, clean the kitchen!”. Are you so organized that your house stays clean at all times, with simple efforts daily? Do you hire help, or are you superwoman? Do you fold laundry without skipping a beat, and clean your bathroom more than weekly?

OR

Do you feel easily overwhelmed by daily chores? Do you come home thinking, “How am I going to have time for what I want to do? When can I relax, or exercise? I have to do the laundry, cook, AND clean tonight!”. Is your house always a mess, and just getting messier, because the projects are getting out of hand? Do you need help? Does laundry pile up, unfolded, and does your bathroom need a deep cleaning?

Now think about this. If you could make one major change in your home, to help you feel more organized, what would it be?

 

I want to know how everybody else takes care of chores at home, stays organized, and still feels like they have time to have a life. I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately. I tend to fall into the “easily overwhelmed” category, and I have been working to change it. I have been focusing on the one major change I want to make, and it is pretty “simple”.

I want to have less stuff. At this point, having more space is not an option, so it has to be less stuff. We live in a cozy tiny 2 bedroom apartment. We are lucky to have a lot of closet space, but it is overflowing. Pending donations, old wedding decorations, a guitar amp, and beer making supplies sit in the corners of our bedrooms. I called this post “living” in your space- as opposed to simply occupying it. Our current apartment is a home/office/storage unit. I want it to feel like home, some office, and storage in the closets only. I want our space to feel CLEAN, and it will never feel clean to me with junk laying around.

So where to begin!? I have been trying to tackle this gradually, without overdoing it. Because, remember, this kind of responsibility, cleaning, housework, etc. is pretty overwhelming to me. I have been taking it one room at a time. Last month, I cleaned out the bathroom (and by extension, part of the hall closet. I threw away BAGS of old, unwanted, or expired cosmetics accumulating (and junking up!) the shelves. Last week I attacked the desk/office space. I feel good about progress, but still have a long way to go. I considered setting weekly goals, but I’m afraid they’ll overwhelm me, and I’ll only be disappointed if I can’t accomplish them. I’m just being honest here.

I’m going to start small this weekend, and work on my dresser. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll move to the areas surrounding my dresser (goodwill drop off zones!). I have high hopes of getting to the closets SOON, but I don’t expect to get there this weekend. I plan to organize, but mostly, ELIMINATE. I’ll donate what I can, and what I can’t donate I’ll either repurpose (into rags) or trash. Wish me luck, and look forward to seeing lots of pictures of JUNK going into the TRASH!!

Are you organized, or easily overwhelmed by the thought?

Join me! What will you organize this weekend?