11 landing areas – in one small room

First, on the journey to habit building, I took the first step this week. I tracked my housekeeping habits, complete or not, every day this week. This is a win for me, I usually get all gung ho about a tracking tool, ahem, My Fitness Pal, I’m talking about you, and then as soon as I’m “bad” I don’t want to admit it, and just stop tracking. I didn’t do that. I also didn’t do everything on my list every day that I said I was going to do it. But I did keep track of what I did and have a pretty straightforward system for keeping track of what I did accomplish, which will help define next week’s task.

I wrote about this before, the philosophy of Konmari, to only keep items that “spark joy” is appealing and I’m dedicated to it. But the tactic of implementing all at once as quickly as possible was too overwhelming for me. So my approach is slightly different. I’ve visited every room of my home and identified the landing pads, intentional and not so much. I have 11 landing pads in my kitchen alone, and even though it’s probably quite boring, for anyone who has read this far, I’m guessing that you will not be bored by this list at all, so here goes:

  1. Corner of the kitchen table – my side
  2. corner of the kitchen table – DH’s side
  3. Floor in front of the china cabinet
  4. Top of the sideboard
  5. Island
  6. open shelves next to back door
  7. counter in front of the bread box
  8. top of the bread maker
  9. counter top under the windows
  10. Corner cabinet open shelf

These are places where clutter build up, where things collect, and one of the many, many, many places that I need to look when I am trying to find something that may (or may not) even be in this room.

Eleven. One room. There’s 9 in the living room, 1 in the bathroom, and another 9 in my office! The goal is, to visit them, study them, eliminate the ones that I can, and make the others as attractive as possible and put them on a regular schedule of being “dealt with”. And “dealt with” can be defined, and redefined, each week as I purposely and mindfully, spend time with my space.

So that’s my first full week, five out of seven days, I visited the room, I selected tasks, I completed them and I kept a record of it. I didn’t do everything, I don’t have to do everything, over time, order will present itself, solutions will pop into my mind and everything will have a place and a time.

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Goal Success

The summer got away from me, and now I’m staring at the end quickly arriving with a few big goals still not achieved. But today was a good day. One of the things that I said I wanted to get done by the end of the summer was to develop (and stick to) a housekeeping plan. I’m jealous of the folks for whom housekeeping comes naturally, or is even sought out. I am not one of those people, neither is my husband. We’ve learned to maintain an unacceptable minimum for just long enough until we spend hours cleaning before people our guests arrive. It’s not only unsustainable but it more importantly makes me unhappy.

I had the book “Home Comforts” by Cheryl Mendelson on my Amazon wish list for a whole, it took a long time to move it to my Christmas gift list, and I was genuinely excited about it when I unwrapped the package. But then, like many others, it sat. But then I took the summer off and integrated into my time bound achievable goal!

Mendelson has a lot to say, and I’m not going to go into all of it, but I used her template as a guide and developed my own strategy based on her “landing pad” concept. In short, accept that life is different than it was in past generations, and develop neat landing pads throughout that house that are dealt with on a regular schedule.

This is what I was looking for!

I sat down with my pink binder and came up with this.

  1. Set aside perfection and do something in one room six days a week.
  2. Assign each area of my home a specific day
  3. Identify the landing pads in each room
  4. Identify a list of washing tasks that apply to each room, i.e. dust the baseboards, vacuum the floor, etc.
  5. On washing day, “deal with” at least one of the landing pads in the room on scheduled for tomorrow
  6. Identify and keep track of “special projects” that are needed in each area of my home.

What I’m really doing and thinking about visiting each area of my home on a regular basis and really looking at it, really paying attention to how it functions and bit by bit identify way so make it function better. The immediacy and speed of the Konmari method has been a blocker for me, I know the faster that it is done, the sooner I will enjoy my home more, but for me, this is a process that I am still learning.

Of course, in true procrastinator fashion, I set aside my cute pink binder and forgot about my carefully mapped out plan. That’s not true, I didn’t forget about it, I actively rebelled against it. That’s a whole other story, but I got over my rebellion and today, I did it. I set aside perfection and decided that the swiffer duster and the roomba were acceptable for today. Felt so good about it that I tossed in another task and wiped down the sofa with a Weiman’s Leather wipe. AND, I didn’t have to remember that the couch needed to be wiped down, I had already created a list. I’ve also been reading about the bullet journal concept, I have already become accustomed to Franklin-Covey, and I love my planner, but the concept of a tracker tool has obvious benefits so I decided to track my daily plan to develop good housekeeping habits.

I seems weird to write about learning to keep house but it’s important for me to consider it carefully. We are not true hoarders like you see on television, there aren’t piles of garbage and lost cats. But I do worry what a tragedy would bring. So instead of lamenting, I’m celebrating. I said I was going to do it and I did. Tomorrow I have an opportunity to develop habits.