I’m one of those people who will always struggle to keep a messy house in order.
Notice my title says “How to Handle a Messy House”. How to handle it, not how to fix it. We all know what needs to be done to fix it: organize, clean, repeat for the rest of your life. What I’m talking about is dealing with the house and with yourself while you’re trying to crack that code.
My nature of having multiple projects going simultaneously – everything half-finished, with a mile long to-do list is partly to blame for my mess. Organizational projects stay towards the bottom of my to-do-lists, constantly beat out by something else. (Decisions I always regret with the number of unexpected visitors we get in Spain.)
Wanting to create a beautiful space and design my way around our home’s issues doesn’t help much either. Those things take patience and it can be frustrating comparing your own progress to magazines and blogs – which seem perfect in photos.
Plus there’s the pressure that many women feel to appear perfectly in control. You know what I’m talking about, those cultural and social constructs that come from who-knows-where. The ones telling us we all need to be beautiful, smart and thin with a sparkling house and home-cooked meals.
I am getting better keeping our house in a decent balance, and most importantly accepting that the state of nowhere-near-perfect is still OK. But it’s an ongoing process…
For my personal brand of messiness (and the stress/embarrassment that goes along with it), I’ve found two keys to be the most helpful:
- Stand behind your decisions. For example instead of thinking, “I should have packed up the winter clothes already”. Think, “I didn’t pack up the clothes because I CHOSE to do something better.” Support yourself in the choice you’ve made! Even if your “something better” is relaxing with a book. That’s important too.
- Accept that your house will never, ever reach the finish line. There is no finish. There will always be some new project, improvement or maintenance on the horizon. It helps to think of home improvement as a long-term process and focus on taking one step at a time. Besides, if you’re anything like me, as you get closer to the “finish line”, you’re closer to moving and starting it all over again!
I started to write out a (longer) detailed post about all this, but I wasn’t happy with it. So I switched to sketching it out instead. Here’s what I came up with…
I hope you got something from my little comic/infographic. Hand-drawing this was a good reminder exercise for me. This little sketch alone was worth it…
This is totally how I feel about our house sometimes. By drawing it out I realized I was being ridiculous. I don’t even have a kid, or a dog!
Our house really isn’t that bad at all and I shouldn’t build it up too much in my mind…especially to the point of adding hypothetical messy members to the family.