This week, my house is a foreign land. I came downstairs this morning to find a sink full of dirty dishes and a dishwasher full of clean ones. Ugh. In the MORNING. The cat’s litter box hadn’t been scooped and my mail had piled up.
“Who LIVES here?” I thought. Oh yes — that’d be ME.
I’ve been spending a bunch of time on a new volunteer project, putting in 32 hours in three days and by week’s end, I will have invested another 20. I’m not complaining. I’ve enjoyed it, but my lack of time in my house lately has me feeling like one of my clients, who often see their systems breaking down a bit. It also drives home the fact that disorganization is caused by “too much stuff.”
So what the heck? To celebrate my house being an irritating, albeit temporary, mess, here are five surefire ways to make yours a wreck, too!
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Wrecking Tactic #1: Volunteer. A lot.
Home organization and productivity systems require small bits of time to maintain. Be sure to commit to plenty of volunteer projects so you barely have time to brush your teeth, let alone clean or tidy up your house.
Solution: Give yourself a break. Volunteering is a selfless act that has many rewards, but spending too much time away from home can result in the loss of your sanity. If it’s getting to be too much, scale back the hours you spend volunteering — it doesn’t make you a quitter!
Wrecking Tactic #2: Do everything yourself.
For Pete’s sake — your kids are just teenagers, why in the world would you ask them to do their own laundry and cook meals? They’re only kids once so make sure you don’t wreck their childhood with chores and household responsibilities.
Solution: Stop doing everything yourself! Getting the whole family involved teaches your kids discipline and organization skills and household skills. If you don’t teach them, who else will? Not to mention, it will help them to appreciate everything they have and all you do for them.
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Wrecking Tactic #3: Say yes to EVERYTHING.
Kids’ playdate? Yes! Lunch on Thursday? Sure! Babysit this weekend? Absolutely! Birthday party next week? Yep! Be sure to say YES to every favor, invitation or opportunity that comes along. After all, it’s rude to say no. Look at it this way, you won’t be home very often so the ever-growing chaos there won’t bother you.
Solution: Although some days may seem to prove this theory wrong, you’re not a superhero. You can’t be in six places at once, and, unfortunately, you don’t run on batteries. Give yourself permission to say no to engagements that you just can’t handle during any given week.
Wrecking Tactic #5: Stay up super late.
With everything you do for your family, you might feel pressed for time. Who could blame you? You’re single-handedly taking care of running a home and you may be working outside the home too. Stay up past midnight to get all the things on your task list checked off. Sure you’ll be chronically sleep deprived but that’s the price you pay for being wildly competent.
Solution: Be more realistic about your to-do list. Yes, there’s a lot to do, but you won’t be able to get it all done if you’re completely and utterly sleep-deprived. Lighten your load each day, even if it means take more time to complete various tasks. Give yourself a bedtime and stick to it.
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Wrecking Tactic #6: Ignore Your Calendar
Planning your days is so high-maintenance. Who wants to bother carrying around a calendar or figuring out how to sync your phone calendar to the web as a backup? Avoid all this administrative hassle by using your memory. Heck, you’re smart! Just keep all your appointments and tasks in your head. What could go wrong?
Solution: Your calendar is practically your personal assistant, so use it! Whether you have a paper version or prefer to manage it digitally, your calendar will be your best friend because it reminds you of lunches, meetings, birthdays, and any other social or work events you have so that you don’t forget.
Monica Ricci founded Catalyst Organizing Solutions in 1998 and has been helping people change their lives ever since.
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