Friday, 22 October 2010

Bloody housework, and other things which overwhelm me!

My ironing corner, a permanent fixture in the lounge, and piles of clothes that get strewn all over when kids hunt for school socks etc.  Aaaargh! 
Messy, overflowing bookcase :-(
Sorry about that. No news from me for ages, and then I suddenly reappear swearing about housework.  I just had to say it though.  Housework is the BANE of my life.  I'm not totally sure what a bane is, but my mother uses this expression frequently, so so shall I.

My house, over the past few weeks, has been a complete tip and I have had no motivation or inclination to do anything about it.  If I was a person who could work in the middle of a big mess, this would be fine, but I'm not.  My messy brain needs and ordered environment around it in order to function correctly.  Strange but true. This isn't an unusual state of affairs for me to find myself in. It always happens, repeatedly, over and over.

It's not only with housework either.  I find that I get very easily overwhelmed when faced with a lot to do.  My tendency is to bury my head in the sand and hope it all goes away.  There are other people like me out there, I know, because I meet them from time to time and we commiserate with one another, never moving any closer to actually cracking the problem.

Yesterday however, I had a long phone conversation with a friend of mine.  A writer and broadcaster who is also a real go-getter believe it or not, she was sitting on her sofa feeling totally overfaced by the mountain of things she had to do, none of it anything she actually wanted to do, and was phoning people up instead of actually doing anything. We had a very liberating chat, in which we admitted we were OVERWHELMED.  At the end, we both agreed that we would each do 30 minutes housework.  Not too much to be daunting, but long enough to get something actually achieved. It really didn't seem as bad when I knew someone else was going to be suffering along with me. Here's what I did in my 30 minutes (it actually took 42 - I Mr Sheened the bookcase and cleaned the window too):

Tidied bookcase! Hooray!
Tidied ironing corner! And a new rule - I put the ironing board away when I've finished using it. 
Weird how doing this has made me feel empowered.  Having a clean, tidy house always does.  Not that the rest of it is clean and tidy, but I've decided that if I can make a difference like this with a 30 min slot every day, I might actually get there one day, who knows!

Apologies for this unromantic post folks, by the way.  The next one will be better, I promise - it's high time I reported back on my hot date with my husband, after all!!


  1. I use a kitchen timer when I feel overwhelmed. I do 10, 20 or 30 mins housework, followed by the same amount of writing and then same amount of household admin. It works most of the time. How do you manage to have such a little ironing pile? Mx

  2. I usually give myself a time limit to get as much housework in as possible - if it doesn't happen, it doesn't get done that day!

    I am NOT a domestic goddess (much to the frustration of my poor, long suffering hubby, hehehe) and doubt I'll ever change now. It's best just to admit it, embrace it and be fantastic at what you ARE good at :)

    And your bookshelves and lounge looked great by the way! xx

  3. Ah, don't get me started on housework! I try and do as little as possible, but in reality I need to give the place a 40 minutes blitz every day, to keep myself sane. This usually happens just before I have to pick up my three year old from nursery and then of course I wonder why I bother, as my little whirlwind makes a mess the minute he steps into the house *sigh*
    Still, at least I know it was tidy, if only briefly. I console myself with the fact that noone will mourn the fact that they did not enough housework on their gravestone...

    Life is too short and all that!

  4. We're working on getting rid of things at our house; having less actual stuff really does make it easier to keep on top of the housework.

    That said, I am just aiming for sanitary.

  5. I've just started a new routine...get up, stay in pj's, cuppa, housework, shower, get dressed. Doing it this way makes me think that my day doesnt 'really' begin until Im dressed, the idea being less distractions.

    Ive been doing this for one week...will let you know how it goes - but working so far. (no little kids at home or school runs to do)

  6. Hey, I'm one of those people who become overwhelmed... there is always something that needs doing in the house. My washing pile is growing. In the summer it's great, you can get it outside, but now it gets harder to hang it on the line.

    Hubby doesn't mind... his ironing pile has decreased (I'm so lucky that's one thing I don't do!).

  7. Morton, that's a fab tip about the periods of 20 mins. I've been using it for my article writing this afternoon. 20 min time periods to get various bits done, and it's been working a treat!

    Xandra, that sounds like a really good method. Can't believe I've only just had the idea of imposing a limit on time spent on housework! Ta, am really pleased with the transformation of my corner there!!

    Doris, I can sympathise - I'm sure it's when my kids were at the toddler stage that I totally gave up trying to keep the place clean. But your 40 min blitz sounds like a good idea!!

    Julia, I'm also a fan of getting rid of stuff. I used to do it regularly ... but this last year, the level of "things" in the house seems to have crept back up again.

    Christine, glad I'm not the only one needing to resort to mental tricks! I daren't stay in PJs for too long though now I don't have to do a school run any more, otherwise I end up staying in them all day ...!

    Teresa, yep, sooo easy to become overwhelmed. I do all the washing and ironing but my hubby does his own at least. I don't mind the laundry so much, or the cooking. It's the other stuff - mess clearing, vacuuming and dusting - urghh!!

  8. Only iron as required is my motto as it only needs ironing again when you take it out of the drawer/wardrobe/cupboard. Hubby does his own. The newly washed pile gets folded up and put away. My house is rarely all tidy at the same time and sometimes it does my head in and I can't think straight until I get some sanity. I should maybe try the timed bursts of h*******k.

  9. My mother is in my head - the woman who spent a birthday afternoon cleaning the grouting on her tiles. My house will never be clean enough tidy enough or organised enough for her and I allow that to stress me (and nag child and husband). I wish I could live in chaos. But that is why I spend Fridays, my precious day off, at the gym.A bit of exercise then writing there away from housework, laundry or any other distractions...
    and how was the Blue Bicycle?!? I want a tale of romance and really good food!