Start with coffee. And a plan. I envisioned bringing in the New Year with a spick and span house and everything in order. Of course, that didn't come to fruition and that's ok. I find myself attempting to reach that point of completion, where everything is clean and in its place, only to realise that it's a lofty goal and perhaps, one not suited to life with three young children. Our home is in a constant state of flux - jobs finished only to be undone within the hour. It's a dangerous ride if I wrap my emotions and ego up in those jobs because the undoing leads to frustration, disappointment, anger and a general sense of being entirely fed-up. It's not pretty and to be frank, not worth it. It is only housework, after all. I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to spend all my time cleaning and tiding and running in a perpetual circle for the next ten years of my life. It doesn't sound appealing and it most definitely isn't inspiring. So, I'm doing what I can, with the time that I have - it isn't perfect but it's relatively done. This new way of thinking goes against all my homemaking ideals but to quote the insightful Ms Gilbert in Big Magic: "Done is better than good." It's a damn good adage for this recovering perfectionist to hold dear.
There have been a few things that I've put to the top of my list over the last few days that have ensured this year (and this home) is off to a fresh enough start for 2016 - small jobs that make a big impact on my day-to-day. Want to join in? It doesn't take long! In fact, it takes less than an hour!
- clear your entryway (15 minutes). Renowned for being a dumping ground for all kinds of paraphernalia, the entryway is the first area in my home to start looking cluttered and messy. It's also the first thing I see when I arrive home and being greeted with such mess doesn't always make for the happiest of homecomings. So, I took to it with vengeance and put everything back in its place - shoes in the basket, hats on the rack, bags in the basket, books back to their rightful shelf and a quick dust and straighten-up.
- sort through your handbag (10 minutes). If your bag resembles a Mary Poppins tote you're not alone. The amount of stuff I was carrying around in my bag (this one for those interested) was nothing short of alarming. There was everything from sequinned cat's ears (dance concert) to teaspoons and a range of hair clips, receipts, pens, bank books and hand creams in between. Then of course there's always the nappy bag which saves me on many occasion. To begin, I sorted out my wallet (receipts for tax, receipts for the bin) and then worked my way through everything else, replenishing the essentials in the nappy pouch, too.
- clean the car (30 minutes). This is a great job to add to the "pocket money job list" if you have a child old enough. I begin by sending Che and Poet out to the car with an empty washing basket. It always, without fail, comes back brimming with stuff. If your children are anything like mine, even the shortest car trip requires books, beloved-can't-leave-anywhere-without-them toys and a range of clothing options in case the weather turns. Once that job is complete (and everything from the basket is in its rightful place) I tackle the car with the vacuum cleaner. As I bend my way around the car seats in the back (it's a tight squeeze with three!) I always, without fail, have trouble comprehending the filth of it all. This diagram will resonate with many of you, I'm sure. Nappy wipes over the dash and in the coffee cup holders ensures the surfaces are good for the next month or so.