I’ve read in various places, such as Flylady, that perfectionism is a problem for people like me. It sounds strange, but I do get where this idea is coming from. It has a lot to do with why big cleaning jobs overwhelm me. I imagine that to do something well, to really get all of the pee out of the carpet, I would need a huge amount of time, work, and special cleaning products and could never do it right. So why even try?
Flylady’s point is that you just need to do something. Even pre–Flylady, I had heard the saying that “Even housework done incorrectly blesses your family.” I can’t let my assumption that I could never do a job perfectly keep me from doing something.
However, I sometimes find myself going too far in that direction. I congratulate myself that at least I did something, even though I didn’t do it to the best of my ability. For example, I might stick a plate in the dishwasher with stuff on it that I know will never come off, but I don’t feel like handwashing it first. (I say “might” while hubby would say “always.”) Yes, at least I put it in the dishwasher, but I’ve really just prolonged the work to be done. I’m going to have to scrub it later, and it will probably be much more difficult to get off at that point.
I’ve been thinking about this lately, since I found a new site that somehow fascinates me. It’s called Mama’s Laundry Talk, and in many ways she’s the opposite of me. She loves laundry.
She’s been doing a series lately about the proper way to fold clothes. I’ll be completely honest here and tell you that it had never occurred to me that there was a right or wrong way to fold them. I figured that department stores had some magical machine that made theirs look great. But Mama Laundry makes sense. She gives very practical ideas and actual reasons for her folding methods, like how clothes fit in the drawers. One thing she said that stuck in my head was that you should try to make clothes that go in a drawer together all the same size and shape.
I decided that I would try it. Suddenly, I felt like Suzy Homemaker. They looked so pretty. And neat. And like maybe someone folded them who wasn’t a slob. Looking at my neat little stack made me feel happy and proud.
I still have too many clothes in the drawers. I still haven’t figured out what size they need to be to fit them in properly so they don’t come unfolded when I get something out from the bottom. But I think I’m going to keep trying.
What’s the point? Yes, I need to just do it. I need to just get the dishes washed and the floors freed of clutter and the shoes put in a place where they won’t cause someone to trip. Even if I don’t feel inspired or like I have “time to clean” I need to do these things.
But I also want to learn the skills to do things right. I’m guessing that doing things well, the correct way, keeps you from having to do it again and so ultimately saves you work.
I’m going to keep chugging along. I’m not going to expect perfection anytime soon. But I’d like to figure out how to do my job well.
I’d strive for that in any “paid” job, so my home definitely deserves it.