So, Different . . .

My helper and I tackled the kitchen, again. I started dehydrating veggies, again. And last night after dinner, DH and I cleaned up the kitchen, again.

The difference was that I wouldn’t let it go — just do the dishes. Having spent around 2 hours cleaning both sides of the sink and the large counter just wasn’t ready for it to be a mess, again.

This morning, when I got my coffee, I washed the few dishes in the sink — usually I’ve waited ’til there’s a lot.

When I was a kid, the most unflappable mother in the neighborhood was Mrs. Olson. She had FIVE kids and a doctor husband. They had a veggie garden out back, and she canned. The house always smelled fresh and clean and I don’t ever remember it being a mess. I know we’d make messes as kids, but it was weird, I also never remember seeing her actually clean anything, except maybe wash dishes?

She was phenomenal. They moved and bought a “ranchette,” with a swimming pool, barn, corral and house — big enough for all 7 of them, their grandparents too. It was still immaculate, she bred dogs. Then they moved up to their summer place. Visited them there, once. Still immaculate, big space for the now 3 or 4 people who lived there.

If I’ve ever had a role model as a housekeeper that I wanted to emulate, it’s Mrs. Olson. I’m sure there were messes. I’m sure she got flapped now and then, but the overall image was a clean/bright house, delicious food, and serenity.

How I wish she was around so I could ask how she did it!

less-mess

I ask my friends who seem to manage their homes better than I do (well, that’s everyone, or nearly everyone) for hints and tips. One person said, “I always start whatever I’m cooking with cleaning up first, so that what I’m cooking doesn’t make a bigger mess.” Another said, “I have to clean as I go.”

Seems odd at this stage of my life to be worrying about something so basic as learning how to order and maintain my space, but I’ve never done things the way others do. I guess that’s part of my “charm”?

The one thing I keep bumping into is that it’s two things: maintenance and consistency. You have to do the work to begin with then you have to work to maintain it. Since for years I kept myself from “seeing” the messes, the first one is difficult. But the second is harder. Every thing in me, all the PTSD bits that is, scream when I start new habits. And, I usually panic and stop. The observation about maintenance and consistency isn’t new for me, the being able to do it at all without the panic is.

I have no idea how long this will last, as usual — we’ll see!

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