How are you all. Is the week going according to plan? In all likelihood, if it is anything like my weeks, the answer to that would be a big loud NO.
Is this you?
Why is it that we chase the ever illusive routine, the perfect system whether it be cards, lists, computerised or paper, something that will make our life just flow perfectly, without hitches. Meals would be on the table on time, and of course nutritious and everyone would comment on a lovely meal. Then there is the laundry, it’s done, dried, folded and put away, plus all the ironing done, the floors are mopped and vacuumed – daily I might add – bills are paid on time, and the paperwork filed and not left to linger around the kitchen counter for several days…um, okay week.
You’ve been to the gym three times this week, and of course the dusting, polishing, is done, the kitchen is spotless, the freezer foods all labelled and no smelly rotting food would dare dawdle in your refrigerator. Oh, yes, life of routines, and list and …. Is perfect…. or NOT. Oh and don’t forget those sparkling clean windows are bereft of paw prints and sticky finger prints.
Now I am the first to acknowledge that THIS IS NOT MY LIFE. Oh, I wish it was, I am you see a would be perfectionist, but somehow I don’t quite hit the grade. Which is rather frustrating, because really, I really do want to be a perfect housekeeper. I just don’t seem to have the energy to be perfect.
But then who would actually notice. Not the teen who is in one door and out the other with a scrap of left over pizza in their hand, a few anchovies dropped on the floor in their wake.
And I don’t think the Hubby would notice as he finishes his meal and falls asleep on the sofa.
I look around at all the perfectness. The shiny furniture and floors, the spotless kitchen, bathrooms the beautifully scented and clean laundry.
Who actually notices? And who actually cares?
Actually… I care and that should be enough – it is enough! We don’t necessarily clean house for anyone else, even though they may live there. We do it because – well it could be for a variety of reasons. It could be to impress others, but we can already see family aren’t quite impressed.
What about our friends?
Well unless they live at your house 24/7 and see it so spotless all the time, they don’t count because as sure as it rains in spring, friends turn up at your doorstep when the house is in chaos.
So really the only person you are doing this for is YOURSELF. Yes, you may like to have it clean for your children, clean clothes, good meals, house spick and span, but when it comes down to it, doing the house work, however often, is gracing your home – for you – and yes your family also.
It’s about personal pride. I’m not saying it has to be perfect – though that darn little OCD part of me WOULD LOVE it to be perfect – but I know in reality that aint gonna happen.
So if you want to take pride in your home, in yourself and your environment how do we get it all done.
Reality is we probably don’t. For years I thought I was a failure if I didn’t get it done, and so mostly (and this is really sad) I would go around feeling like a failure because I hadn’t done xyz on the allocated day/time/week etc. In my head “other people’s” houses were perfect, and I was the only one that failed.
My excuse was, life would get in the way which was really frustrating because I didn’t want it to. I mean I had a house to make perfect, towels to fluff and curtains to vacuum – just because it said so on my list.
But…. Travel down through the years and I have kind of a routine, it works sometimes.
This book is about days and weeks and months and routines. So what makes it different from other household chore/routine books – and believe you me I have read a few (actually lots and lots) this book in the way Becky has written it has given me permission to get rid of the guilt! And that my friends is HUGE!
Simply Clean is a book of routines and systems but it’s – well – simple. A few regular chores each day, plus a weekly chore per day, AND you get Friday to catch up and Sunday to play.
What could be better than that? Time off, time to breathe, time to say okay, I’ll just get so and so finished now. This book took away my guilt for not being perfect and for that alone I love this book to bits.
This book really ‘got to me’. Becky was ‘speaking’ to me. Her writing style is engaging, relaxing and just darn friendly. I felt like she understood me. And for that I was grateful.
Is my house perfect yet?
Nope, and it probably never will be.
Do I still hope and pray on bended knees wishing it would be perfect– yes of course, but I know the truth. People live here, dogs live here. Perfect doesn’t exist here. But the routines in this book gives me focus, and at the same time allows me to let life get in the way as it invariably does.
So for my review of Simply Clean I would give it an absolute 5 Stars.
I hope your week is going well and you’ve managed to carve out some YOU time for yourselves. It’s so important that we get those few minutes to recharge. For me, I became a grandma last year, so now I can “legally” have nana naps – woohoo.
But there is always something to be done around the house. Do you have that room or space in the house that is always DUMPSVILLE, no matter how hard you try to keep it clean and organized?
Does it look like this?
Please say you do, even if it is just to make me feel better and that I’m not the only person in the entire world that struggles with this. Why is it that we can keep a beautifully tidy and organized house (okay, mostly, sort of) except for that one (or more) spots that is constant chaos? It’s like little gremlins follow us around the house and dump stuff.
So let’s start with the 4 steps to clear dumpsville forever.
For many of us it could be any of the following areas:
The kitchen counter
The dining table
The front entryway
The home office.
I hate to admit it, but our front entryway and the home office are dumpsville at chez nous. I try hard, I really do. I put out containers, baskets, have family meetings about where they drop all their stuff the moment they enter the house – but does it work – nope nope nope. It does not! Is it any wonder my hair is grey!
It is so frustrating, the front entry table has keys, torches, dog leads, flowers (yes I try to make it look pretty), bits of paper, mail, newspapers, folders from hubby’s meetings. It’s all there, layer upon layer. Then there are the shoes. Sneakers, boots, sandals, crocs! We live in the country and mud is not my best friend, so with dogs and family members coming and going in and out, the front entrance is a bit like a railway station. Always busy, always cluttered. Dumpsville. Certainly not the elegant entryway I envisioned.
Then of course there is the electrical boxes that are for the security and the thingy that is in the roof. Excuse me, I’m not too technical! That technical stuff is an eyesore, I mean why couldn’t the builders put it just around the corner, or for goodness sakes’ even on the opposite wall.
(apologies for the bad photo, really wouldn’t photo well)
So how do we clear Dumpsville forever.
I see the entrance dumpsville as being a two-pronged journey of considerations – Form and Function. Below is a series of four steps to clear dumpsville forever.
Form of course is the pretty stuff, the making it look pleasing to the eye, but without function, without knowing what you need at the entryway, what systems, and tools are necessary to keep the place reasonably clutter free, then no amount of pretty lights, mirrors and ornaments are going to make a bit of difference.
First up answer a few questions?
Where do you enter the house?
Is it via the garage? Is the front door, or off a deck somewhere? Which of these spaces is your ‘dumpsville’?
Which problem area are we talking about – is it the entry for visitors, or for yourselves?
Once you’ve determined which area (or eeek, maybe it’s both) then you need to work out what/and how you use this space.
Analyse what the entryway is used for. What MUST you have there, that are necessities, and probably not negotiable? It could be one or some or all of the list below.
Mobile/laptop charging station
Mail drop off
Viewing yourself in the mirror before leaving
Homework station/school bags.
Storage of coats/hats etc.
Handbag dumping ground
Briefcases/work bags/workout gear.
STEP 3 – the function
Are you a shoes in the house, or off at the front door? If it’s remove the shoes, then where are you going to put them. Because the reality is, family do not take off their shoes when they get home and take them straight to their bedroom – and if they do, what’s your secret and can I come and live at your house!
Baskets, boxes (try ones with lids, because hopefully you can close them off and not see a pile of shoes.
Wire baskets with liners, but then they might need washing from time to time – and that’s extra work and if there’s one thing we don’t need – is MORE WORK
A shoe tree hanging inside a closet (if you’re lucky to have one). The same ideas can be used for those of us that have mudrooms and come in via the garage. Little cubbyholes/boxes etc., for each person – their name on it – just so there is no confusion!
What about a shoe tray? A metal or wooden tray, with a small layer of stones that will be your ‘drip catcher’.
Paraphernalia – umbrellas, canes, etc
An old stone crock, bullet case *** Narrow cane basket. All these can be used for this type of storage, and be pleasing to the eye and be payoff for the aesthetics.
Baskets/hooks/coat racks are all alternatives for these items, even a trunk or chest at the front door, can be used for storing out of season coats and winter accessories. Hooks are particularly good if you don’t have a large entryway, or closet. You can even if needs be use the back of the front door.
Make it a feature using hooks that go with your décor style, glossy glass, brass animals, old fashioned school hooks.
Most often we have a table or console of some sort at our entryway, or if no room, then a narrow shelf. Use a six inch ledge, it’ll be big enough to hold a container for keys and you can screw in some hooks to the underside for hanging bags, scarves etc.
What else do you dump in this spot?
Keys – grab a pretty container, box, basket, try and shop your house .
are some I’ve gathered from around my house, the idea is to create great storage and organization, along with form, so that it’s pleasing to the eye too. Hopefully pretty might increase the odds of practicality and the family use it and keep it clearer.
If you’re going to use this space as a charging station, then create something a bit different. Use even an old shoebox, covered in wrapping paper, holes at the back for the cords, and an extension cord, and hey presto you’ve got a place to hide your phones while they charge, plus contain all those dratted cables.
Want a great Youtube video for a charging station and entryway. @bemyguestwithdenise.com
Again this accumulates. I’m sure there is a paper gremlin around who magically doubles the amount of papers in these spots overnight. It just seems to mushroom. If you are not a person to deal with the mail as it arrives, then a box/basket again is a good collating spot. Better yet, a box with a flip lid so that the mail and papers are hidden. Yes, I know we’d all like to be super organized, but reality is that it takes time/effort and repetition to create a system of opening mail and assigning designated spot for it straight away, so if that is beyond you right now, and that is absolutely fine, really it is, it’s not about perfection, just trying to get things in order, slow is okay. Baby steps.
Another reasonably cheap storage item for papers is a magazine holder.
Again hooks come to mind for these, though briefcases can be a tad heavy. But schoolbags are great to hang on hooks as are handbags, but if hooks aren’t available or an option, then what about a cubbyhole system. An old bookcase laid on its side, with a few pretty baskets (or not) can be used as a storage option for those bags, plus shoes and hats/gloves etc. One solution for many problems – got to be good!
Again baskets, bins, anything that you think is easily reachable and easy to put away again.
That’s the thing with storage, if it’s awkward or difficult to access or use, if the lids don’t open or close easily, or if it’s too small for the items it’s going to hold, then it won’t work in the long run. So whatever option you choose, make sure it’s the appropriate size and workable for how you want to use it.
Great! You’re all organized, those pesky things are taken care of. Function is all sorted.
So what about form? What about the pretty side of this task?
Hopefully you have been able to use storage items that are pleasing to your aesthetics. Don’t worry if they’re not the right colour scheme. A bit of chalk paint or spray paint can work wonders.
A lamp – the soft glow of a lamp on in the evenings, especially at the front door, adds mood lighting
Mirror – great to be able to check yourself before you open the door to visitors.
Artwork/photographs – this is where you can go to town so to speak. It can be a piece of your own art, get splashing with a few colors and a canvas one afternoon. Or maybe you can do a photo wall of your children’s art, family ancestors and current members, unusual postcards from your travels, a piece of vintage clothing hung up. Anything and everything can be used for art work.
And great for hiding things as I did here with a great suggestion received from a friend Smillie Henderson on how I could hide those pesky electrics.
I grabbed these 3 straw hats at the thrift store for about a dollar piece, a few Command hooks, and hey presto it’s done, the electrics are covered and hopefully it looks rather artistic (well not just plopped there like they really were).
Actually anything can be used, even a chest of drawers, great for storing stuff!!! I’ve used a marble slab atop an old Singer sewing table.
Plants/live or faux. Nothing looks better than a bit of ‘life’ on a vignette, and with this one style I used a faux topiary purchased a few years ago in Hawaii, yes I travelled all the way home with 2 of these in my on board luggage!
Really, the world is your oyster in how you style your entryway, whether it’s a styled crowded look or sparse, the most important aspect is function. Get that right and you’re on your way to a great looking entryway.
What are you doing in your entryway? What are the hazards and problems, and how have you solved them? Leave a comment below.