There is something official about having a guest post on my blog. This happened once before, waaaaay back when YOCT was a wee babe in blogspot land. And now, two years later, here we are again.
This time we get to hear from my friend Keely. She hails from far away Oklahoma, a place I now have a deep affinity for. My husband went to the University of Oklahoma and returned there for a year of school after he and I had met and started dating. At some point in our year of traveling back and forth between Norman and Charlottesville, I met Keely. I don’t remember when or where, exactly. Probably at the Serven‘s house, since my husband slept on their couch for a year (a year!!!).
A friendship started. She and her husband drove to our wedding in Virginia- no small feat when Hurricane Katrina had just happened and gas stations all along the way were either out of gas or charging an arm and a leg per gallon. I’ve asked her questions about kids and post-partum weight loss, births and deaths- we’ve covered a lot of territory. And I’m thankful for her.
Anyway. I asked Keely to write about a topic of her choice…oh…two years ago. And she finally delivered. Read up. It’s good stuff. And after you read a little bit here, you can get some legit recipes at her blog, A Time to Eat.
*This all reads without spaces between the paragraphs, and for that I apologize. I mentioned that my laptop is doing dumb things, and editing is beyond what I can muster (though I have tried and tried). I’m just publishing it because I’m tired of being bested by my lousy laptop. Up yours, MacBook!
To read Kat’s blog is to love Kat’s blog, right? She has a way of motivating even the laziest among us to action. She breaks things down so they seem doable, not overwhelming. (Remember “analysis paralysis?”)
I’m not sure where each phrase originated, but I mention these three ladies because they are constant sources of inspiration and encouragement in this department.
*If you use it everyday, it gets to stay.*
*Put it away, right away.*
*Change one thing.*
These phrases have stuck with me lately and are motivating me to action. I’m not a slob, but I’m a pretty lax (trying to avoid the word lazy) keeper of the home. I have 3 kids (ages 6 1/2, 4, and 2) and fully understand what is meant by whatever wise person once said “Cleaning the house while the children are awake is as pointless as brushing your teeth while eating Oreo’s.” They make messes. And they don’t clean them up willingly. (Do yours? If so, please teach me how.) But I can be a bit of a mess-maker myself. I pile stuff up into organized looking groups that I refer to as anything except clutter.
So I need it broken down for me into bite-sized pieces. I need someone to tell me to “just set a timer for 5 minutes! You’ll be amazed at what you can get accomplished in 5 minutes!”
I need these phrases to become my homemaker mantras.
Let’s take one phrase at a time.
If you use it everyday, it gets to stay.
Life changer. I can’t remember where I read this, but I latched onto it and held it close, like my precious.
Let’s see how this “rule” applies to the kitchen: Two years ago, an entire corner of my kitchen counter was overtaken by our toaster. I eat toast every morning for breakfast, but then it sits there useless the rest of the day. Not only useless, but taking up useFUL real estate. So I moved it into the very nearby hall cabinet. And I was one step closer to those amazing, inspiring clean and clutter-free counter tops that I see, drool over, and aspire to emulate in the magazines.
This is what the breakfast corner used to look like. None of that, and I mean none of that remains. The things that I truly use often enough to leave out have been pared down and pushed back, thus leaving me with useable counter space.
The other room where this is most helpful is the bathroom. I don’t wear makeup every day. If I’m not leaving the house, what’s the point? So it stays in a drawer. Similarly, I only fix the kids hair on school days (twice a week) and for church (once a week). So their hair stuff stays off the counter and on the shelf above the toilet.
Right on the heels of the first phrase, there’s Put it away, right away.
I’m fairly certain this one is right out of the ebook One Bite at a Time
. Simply put- don’t let stuff pile up. I try to preach this to my kids everyday, “When you drop one Lego, pick it up right away, so you’re not picking up 500 Legos right before dinner.” But do I do this myself? Of course not. (Do you practice what you preach? If so, please teach me how.)
So breakfast is over, the toaster has served its purpose for the day. Put it away, Keely. Don’t leave it there on the counter, with crumbs surrounding it. Put it away and deal with the mess now. Lunch and dinner prep will go much more smoothly and there will be one less thing to do later in the day.
One of things I am worst about is walking by a piece of trash in the hall or the bedroom, seeing it, acknowledging it, usually even saying to myself, “Pick that up and throw it away.” and yet still passing it by. Why? No one else is going to do it and it’s not going to magically disappear.
Put it away, right away.
Clean laundry applies here, obviously.
Dirty dishes should go in the dishwasher, not in the sink directly next to it.
Once I’ve used the hairdryer for the day, just put it back under the sink, instead of leaving it on the counter, still plugged in.
You get the idea.
Lastly, Change one thing.
This is probably Katherine’s influence on me. Remember her post about Three Things
she did that made a positive influence on her day?
Don’t get too ambitious, just do one. 🙂
Today, I moved all the earrings that I never wear. I have maybe 5 pair total and I wear 1 almost exclusively. And yet all 5 pair are stored in my makeup box, mingling together and forcing me to pick through them everyday to get the plain silver ones that I like best. Seriously. I have searched for those earrings among the others everyday for probably 2 years now. Today I moved the rest to my jewelry box in the closet.
Simple. Took all of 5 seconds.
See? Little bites. Baby steps. One thing at a time.
We can do this.
Anyone can do this.