Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Keep It Simple: LISTS!

Once upon a time, I was a married woman (gratuitous Pride & Prejudice reference: "Ah! Jane, I take your place now, and you must go lower, because I am a married woman.") I was a terrible wife. I know, because CG used to make sure to tell me. Nothing was clean enough. I didn't cook well enough. I wasn't attentive enough. Of course, I was supposed to be cooking and cleaning and everything else when I got home from my job that required me to leave before he even got up in the morning, and from which I got home AFTER him. But whatever. Wife material = fail.

As a result, I now have a list of things that I should/ should not do engraved in my noggin.

Thing #1: Don't marry someone who's an asshole. (Because, really.)

Thing #2: Find a system to make your life less stressful. (First, see Thing #1, in case you forgot.)

So. While I don't have to be anyone's indentured servant anymore (yay me!) I will freely confess that there are things I hate and battle with regularly. One of them is clutter and mess. As such, on my fridge, there is a little magnetic whiteboard of the sort that is always going on sale in the fall to be used in high school lockers with those tiny, useless mirrors and such.

The whiteboard holds a list (yay lists!).

The list looks like this:

Monday: bathroom and floors

Tuesday: kitchen and laundry

Wednesday: living room and dining room

Thursday: office

Friday: bedroom

And yes, it's a schedule. For cleaning.

I'm mentioning it because, well, everyone who sees it mentions it. The place isn't so big that people don't notice the little whiteboard. "You have a schedule," they say. "FOR CLEANING." And then they either make a joke about it or roll their eyes politely, because to know me is to know that there's a schedule for EVERYTHING.

However, the question is not why do I have a cleaning schedule, I don't think. The question is why more people DON'T have one. If you don't? Here's why you might want to consider it.

Notice, please, that Saturday and Sunday are NOT ON THE LIST.

This is actually why the list exists.

I used to find myself super busy on the weekends, trying to do the stuff I wanted  to do (have drinks with friends! Hang out! Veg! Go out to dinner!) and also? Finish the things I HAD to do (launder clothes! Scrub bathtub! Wash the floor!) not because there's anyone here berating me or telling me they need to be done, but because I would like to do them.

Trying to get everything done over the weekend?

Well. Sunday night I'd be super tired and something would not have been done... and though I would fully recognize that I needed to, say, wash the floor, I could also see Monday morning looming on the horizon in the way that only Monday morning can do, and I would think: "Yeaaaah, that's NOT going to happen."

I finally gave up on the "do everything on the weekend" plan, but (again, as anyone who's ever been in my house knows) -- clutter/messiness makes me, um, TENSE. (And by "tense" I mean: I will consider throwing beloved objects away just to ditch the clutter. And I will also start to wonder if I actually WAS the world's worst wife. I mean, I suppose it's possible...)

So finally, I just made a list. One or two things every day is MUCH better than everything on one day. It's managable. It's doable.

It's also flexible. It's not set entirely in stone. Things frequently get rearranged or rescheduled. However, by the end of the day on Friday? Every item is crossed off.

And then on Saturday and Sunday? I play. And I don't have to worry about cleaning. Or doing laundry. Or anything other than hanging out and occasionally toasting myself as actually a pretty good wifey for myself. Which I TOTALLY am.

What kinds of things do you do to simplify your life?

***UPDATE: For the record? I don't ACTUALLY think I was a bad wife. I think CG had an image in his head of what it meant to be a good wife? And it turns out I was a poor fit for that role -- and I ALSO think that sometimes, people are critical for the sheer pleasure of being critical, because if you've ever been to my humble abode? You'd notice that it's clean and you'd be well fed. However, in the interest of keeping it clean -- and eating well -- I've learned how to manage things in, perhaps, a way I did not previously have managed (not that it would have mattered. Some relationships can't be saved, and shouldn't be).***

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