We went to see Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover Live recently. I’ve mentioned him before, and I know he’s quite the popular guy here in the blogosphere.
We’ve read his book and I listen to his radio show most days, so I already had a pretty good understanding of the concepts he teaches, but it was nice, and inspiring, to hear it all together.
I was struck many times during the event by the similarity to what he was saying about getting your financial life in order to getting my home in order.
He talked about how many people wish they could do better with their finances. They may even come to an event, or read his book, but nothing changes until they start to apply what they have learned.
For years, I would tell myself that I needed to get my house under control. That someday I would have to change. I would cry about it, and pray about it.
I had read book after book and article after article and still, my house stayed in chaos. When I finally unsubscribed to Flylady, I had 3,560 unread emails in my Flylady folder . . . and my house was still in chaos.
It wasn’t until I decided that I’d had enough, and that even though I had no faith in myself to clean my house and then keep it perfect for the rest of my life, I was going to do something.
I started keeping my kitchen clean. Loading the dishwasher every night and emptying it every morning. Not necessarily being obsessive. Not trying to see myself in the reflection in the sink. Not even telling my family what I was doing. I just did the dishes. (Almost) every single day.
And then I started adding a task each week, choosing things that normal people seemed to do without thinking, but that never crossed my mind, like picking up dirty clothes off of the bathroom floor.
So, like Dave Ramsey said, although he was talking about finances, it’s really more simple than people want it to be.
Just start doing what needs to be done. Now, I’m not knocking the books I’ve read or Flylady. Those things helped me see that a system is necessary. They helped me see that I’m not alone in this. They showed me that it can be done, and they definitely inspired me.
But in the end, the big secret that has brought my home out of chaos is . . . me.
I have a long way to go. My master bedroom is still my deep dark secret. I still walk into the living room on occasion and see that there is clutter everywhere. I have months and months worth of decluttering still to do. And I don’t even want to talk about my purse or my car, or the playroom, or . . . .
But most of all, I have a lifetime left of staying consistent. I have years and years of doing the dishes every day, and cleaning bathrooms on Tuesdays.
Because being inspired is nice, but I’m the one who cleans the toilets.
Mama Hen says
Thank you for sharing this. It seems I may be in the same boat you are in!
you inspire me. 🙂 Keep up the good work.
To ashamed to say says
I know this is old but there is a similar concept—you are snowballing your home, you started in the kitchen (me living room) and you build the momentum with each non negotigible that you add or deluttering project…makes sense to me!
Love this post! So true!
I know this is old, and I never post on blogs, but I have to here. I started reading your posts from the beginning and have loved to see your evolution. You make such great points in this post, especially. And I think they can be applied to just about anything people struggle with (finances, housekeeping, exercise, etc.).
But I have to say, the last bit is where I go off the rails. I love you line about the fact that inspiration is great, but you’re the one that cleans the toilets. The part that gets me down is the fact that we have years of years of doing the dishes every day and doing the toilets on Tuesday. I know it’s just part of being a grown up, but honestly, I get so depressed at the constant, never-ending *mundane-ness* of all of this. I have other interests and other things to do, and I just hate the idea that I’m tied to regular toilet cleaning, etc. *sigh* How do you get around that?
Also, since I’m posting, I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying your blog. My house is not typically a true pig-sty. It’s mostly tidy, but certainly not perfect and there are definite opportunities for improvement. So you’ve inspired me, and I’ve started working through creating my own “non-negotiables.” Thanks so much for that!
Dana White says
Thanks for commenting! (I LOVE comments on old posts.)
I totally agree about the irritation that cleaning toilets will never EVER end. Ever. But the better I get at it, the less it feels like swimming through Jello and then the less it feels like energy-draining punishment for being a grown up. The other unexpected benefit for me was realizing how much more time I had (and mental energy) to do the fun stuff when I wasn’t paralyzed by guilt that there was SO much to be done in the house.
I also have read widely on how to be more domestically ept. You are helping with the application. I greatly appreciate it.
Idea of keystone habits. Really like Charles Duhigg.
Another wonderful post! Gives me hope.