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A Messy Girl’s Guide to Making Your House A Little Less Disgusting

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“Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens and happy kids.”

I love this quote. Not because I think bad moms have clean houses, but because I have yet to master the whole “being a mom, being an employee and keeping a clean house” thing and this quote makes me feel better about myself. But here’s the thing: while sticky floors and piles of laundry are okay, mold on your dishes, muddy dog footprints on your sheets and trash that spills onto the floor are not. Therefore, at some point in life we moms do have to do some sort of cleaning. I’m sure your favorite mom bloggers have been giving you cleaning tips for years. Some of you may actually be using those tips and you might have a decently clean house most of the time. You’re good moms and you have a clean house. Kudos! This post is not for you. This post is for the rest of us. Those of us who have permanently given up on “clean” and instead strive for “a little less disgusting.” Here’s what you’ve got to do.

Prioritize

You will never have time to get all the chores done, so you’ve got to prioritize. Here’s how I determine which chores to do first

  1. I look around my house and think  “If child protective services came right now, what would they consider a health code violation?” Those issues get taken care of first. Hint: that moldy maggot filled apple at the bottom of the toy bin is probably violating some sort of parenting law.
  2. Then I look around my house again and ask myself “If that stuck up mom from play group came over right now, what would she comment on?” It’s not that it’s important to impress the stuck up mom, it’s just that she says what everyone is thinking so if I don’t want my friends to be silently gagging as they hover above my toilet seat, I should probably clean said toilet seat.
  3. If by some miracle you have time to more chores, do something that will make you feel like a good about life. For me, that’s clean sheets. The entire house could look like a tornado rampaged a muddy thrift store, but if I have clean sheets on our bed and the baby’s crib, then its all okay.

Psych yourself up

I usually do my cleaning on Saturdays (oh the joys of being a working mom) but I start mentally preparing myself on Friday night, usually by watching an episode of Hoarders. Nothing will get me to clean my bedroom closet faster than seeing what will happen if I let it spill through the living room and out the front door.

Keep the kids safe and contained

This is pretty important. If you don’t contain the kids, then they will make messes literally seconds after you clean. If you don’t keep them safe, you’ll waste valuable cleaning time with annoying things like bandaids and trips to the ER. But don’t let the kids trick you into thinking that safe and contained means happy and entertained. It doesn’t. You’ve kept those little darlings entertained for a week straight, that’s why your house is a wreck. This is the day ish gets done! If you can find something easy to entertain them, like a movie, then great. If not, just contain them in some sort of fort/prison and clean as fast as you can before they break out.

Find some audio entertainment

Cleaning is sooooooo boring. Gah, just thinking about it makes me nod off. For years I tried having the t.v. on while I cleaned, you know, for background noise. But then I had a kid and realized that I could not take 30 minutes to vacuum, so I had to find some other sort of entertainment. Music, of course, is is great entertainment. And if you dance while you clean then that counts as exercise. I’m also a fan of listening to comedy stations on Pandora, or books on tape. Anything that will keep me from poking my eyes out with the broom handle.

Hire some help

Try as we might, there are just some days, months or years that we can’t do it all. So don’t be afraid to get some help. You could hire a professional housekeeper, but that’s expensive and let’s be real, your standards aren’t that high. Instead, I suggest asking the highschooler down the street or the college kid from church that’s home for the summer. I’ve asked my sister who is nursing school to help out. She enjoys the flexibility and extra money, I enjoy being able to see the beautiful hardwood floors my husband installed. It’s a win win. Another idea is to chore swap with a neighbor. Everyone has those chores that they hate more than others. Maybe your most hated chores don’t seem that bad to your neighbor and their dreaded tasks don’t seem that bad to you. You could go over and clean their windows while they wash their dishes. Granted your still cleaning, but its easier and faster to do chores that don’t feel like Chinese water torture.

Young House Crap

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Have you ever read the blog Young House Love? It’s written by this husband and wife who started fixing up their home and blogging about it. Their blog got super popular, they wrote a book, its a like a whole thing. When Mr and I started working on our condo I had visions of our life being just like Young House Love. DIY is like crack to Mr, so he would organize all these projects and I would happily help him out, all while taking photos and blogging witty comments. Then we would become famous and our awesome blog would pay off our condo, so then we could rent it out and buy a bigger house and perform bigger DIY projects and everything would be magical and awesome.

Ya, that’s not happening.

As it turns out, I’m HORRIBLE with DIY projects. I mean, I’ve always known they weren’t my forte, but good grief do I suck. Part of the problem is that I have a blind minds eye. You know how some people can just look at a space and picture everything that should go there. I cannot. I see nothing with my minds eye, ever. This infuriates Mr to no end because it always doubles his workload. He can’t just say “hey what do you think of this?” He has to find a picture or draw it out, otherwise I just stare at him blankly and then ask if my post baby butt can still pull off these jeans. Or worse, I pretend like I know what he is talking about, agree to it, and then immediately hate it once it’s done.

Another issue is my tendency to create more work for Mr. For example, the other day I was hanging shelves in the bathroom but I put the anchors in the wrong place.We had to take them out and replace them, leaving two gaping holes in the wall that we will have to fill and paint over. I feel like that one greek god sentenced to eternally roll a giant rock up a hill. The projects are never ending.

Here are the holes I was telling you about. I would also like to point out that as soon as I got up to take this picture, my son started crying.

Here are the holes I was telling you about. I would also like to point out that as soon as I got up to take this picture, my son started crying.

Then there is the perpetual indecisiveness. I’m not usually an indecisive person but for some reason, making any sort of decision about our humble home takes me forever. It took 3 months to decide on a living room paint color. That’s more thought than I put into deciding what college to go to. And Mr is no help. He is one of those people that researches the death out of things. I think we’ve come to a decision on something and then he watches another YouTube video and gives me an entirely new option that wasn’t even on the table early. “But this might be better,” he says. Honestly, I don’t care. Even if our original decision is going to kill us all, we are sticking to it because I will loose what little mind I have left if you force to make yet another decision. JUST DO WHAT I SAY, MAN!

Of course what kind of parent would I be if I didn’t blame some of this on the kid, right? As I sit here blogging, he is happily playing with his toys. But if I were to get up and, heaven forbid, try organizing my room or the kitchen, he would start to pitch a fit. Apparently toys are only meant to be played with when mommy is within a two foot radius. Otherwise they become garbage. Plus, he just creates a lot of extra work. I have to feed him a million times a day, grocery shop to get the food to feed him a million times a day, work a full time job to pay for the food that feeds him a million times a day, change his diapers, read him stories, fight with him about naps, and wash his adorable little clothes. And after all that I’m supposed to muster up the energy to repaper the kitchen cupboards? No Thank You.

So, our life is nothing like Young House Love. It’s more like Young House Fall Asleep On The Couch When I should Be Washing The Windows. And yet, I honestly couldn’t be happier. We are homeowners! That’s incredible! And even though its been a slow process, we’ve actually made a lot of progress on the condo and we love everything we’ve done so far. More importantly, I get to build a home and life with my two favorite people.

And to show you that I’m not just full of cynicism and do have very positive feelings about the house, I will share photos of my favorite room in the house- the bathroom!

Hobby Lobby for the win!

I love these decorations. Hobby Lobby for the win!

grey and yellow bathroom

It took us FOREVER to find a vanity that we liked, that wasn’t huge and that fit the weird piping in the bathroom. It was worth the wait, we love it. And no, that white patch on the wall isn’t some sort of artistic statement. Mr had to patch the wall and we haven’t painted over it yet. Might as well wait till we do the holes

I don't know if you've ever searched for a grey and yellow shower curtain, but let me tell you, they are not easy to come by. I would have preferred a little more yellow but couldn't find one that I loved. I do like this one a lot, it looks nice and it will work until that magical day that I find the curtain of my dreams

I don’t know if you’ve ever searched for a grey and yellow shower curtain, but let me tell you, they are not easy to come by. I would have preferred a little more yellow but couldn’t find one that I loved. I do like this one a lot, it looks nice and it will work until that magical day that I find the curtain of my dreams