Being in Control

I like to think I am in control. If you looked at my grades in high school and college, you would know how much effort I put into “being in control” of my grades. Even though I wasn’t really the one in control–God was–he still allowed me to be successful in school.
Sometimes, I wish I was in control of everything. Other people’s actions, the success of my students, where my husband throws his dirty clothes, how pristine my house is (or isn’t). I’ve come to accept that I will never be in control of some things–other people, natural disasters, what my dogs chew on when I’m not home. I also realize that since I am not God, I am not all-knowing or perfectly good. My thoughts are not His thoughts and my ways are not his ways. I’m just a scared, selfish sinner with opinions.
God has given me things that he wants me to steward, and I am in control of how I act as a steward of his blessings. He has given me a husband, a family, a home, a job, a church family, and other blessings. If I control how I spend my time, I can be a good steward. If I lack self-control, the blessings begin to control my life.
Proverbs 25:28 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” If I come home from work and kill time flipping between gmail, my blog reader, and facebook until I’ve bored myself into a coma, I’m busting down my own city walls. Then, all at once, we have no clean dishes and no clean clothes, I have no lesson plans for tomorrow, and Dexter and I have no patience for each other.
So, I don’t want to be in control of my house (just) because I’m a control freak, but so I can prevent housework from controlling my life. I’m not the kind of person who comes home from work and thinks, “Goodness me! Looks like we could use a vacuum. Let me take care of that!” I am the kind of person who comes home from work and thinks, “Holy doghair, Batman! I am so overwhelmed by all the cleaning possibilities.” I’ve been mulling over some “systems” for making sure things get done and for making sure I don’t get overwhelmed. “Overwhelmed” is not a good place for me. Ask my husband.
Totally together journal is a blog written by The Crockpot Lady, who I would totally be friends with if I lived in California. I can totally see us bonding over dip heated in the Little Dipper while falafel bakes away in my Countdown Crockpot. She has a Daily 7 that she recommends doing to make sure the basics get done, and she suggests different cleaning and organizing projects in her daily posts. Because of her, I yank the covers up to the head of the bed most of the time when I wake up, and Dexter does too. Nothing else has fully stuck yet.
For a while, I used a little chart on the refridgerator to check things off. It worked okay, but it had a few downfalls. I didn’t have a pen by the fridge, so I wouldn’t get to check things off. I felt bad about myself when stuff didn’t get done. It was hard to reassign a task to a different day because of my preprinted Xs in the boxes. It didn’t include seasnal or monthly chores. It wasn’t cute or exciting.
My aunt, Annie, has told me a little bit about a system using notecards and color coding. The ultra-organized neat-freak inside of me gets pretty excited about this plan. I need to hear about it in full so I can decide whether or not to spring for some colored notecards.
I want to hear about your systems. Do you do something unique to keep on top of housekeeping? Do you have a mental card file that works? How do things make your priority housekeeping list on a given day?

5 thoughts on “Being in Control

  1. Here’s my clutter control system. I got four collapsible nylon mesh “bins” at walgreens. They were 2 for $5, I think–1 for every level of my house including the basement. I start in my bedroom and work my way around the room clockwise. As I gather things that are out of place, I put them in the bin for the level on which they belong. (Make sense?) Then, I move to the next room, taking all four bins with me. They are small, light weight, and I can easily carry them, 2 in each hand. I look in the bin for that level, see if there’s anything that belongs in that room. If so, I put it away. Then, I do the walk around the room routine again. I do this for each room in the house. I work top to bottom and then bottom to top. This has worked well for me because I get easily distracted. I can also keep a swiffer duster in my back pocket and dust each room as I sort the clutter. Staying on top of clutter is huge for me. I find myself stressed by too much stuff out of place. If I can start Saturday morning with a tidy house, the actual cleaning isn’t so overwhelming. It’s a bummer to spend an hour putting crap away and then still have tubs to scrub, floors to mop, etc.

  2. Not a very helpful system but one that’s been used for years is to put things in a laundry basket and then hide the basket in the basement.

  3. Pingback: It’s all about perspective « Mrs. Dexter

  4. I like Steve’s system (I write while surrounded by the laundry baskets full of clothes and odds and ends we stuffed in the office a week ago when we had company. sigh…).

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