On Fridays: Chaos, at the Beginning of the Day

IMG_5073Friday is cleaning day, every since I was a little kid when I would help my mother dust all of her knick-knacks. I think that’s where I got this idea that there’s one day for cleaning. I do the dishes and sometimes pick up during the week, but usually not. It wouldn’t take as long to have my house “company ready” – especially in The Little House – but on weeks when I’ve been particularly busy, such as this one, it takes me longer to pick up the clutter that’s accumulated than it does to actually clean.

When I worked in the corporate world and had to do all of the necessary cleaning on Saturdays, it took me almost an entire day to clean the beige split-level we owned in our hometown of Turner in Kansas City (pictured on the front page). When our girls were living with us, the rule of the house was that we didn’t get to do anything else until the house was cleaned, with two of us working, it would maybe take us 2 – 3 hours. The clutter there most likely piled up on the stairs or on the kitchen table. If I didn’t want to deal with it then, I put it in an extra drawer and left it for later.

ClutterThat’s not an option in The Little House. Every space is at a premium and I have to deal with it immediately. If I were to pick up all of the clutter on a daily basis where it gets dropped in The Little House – on the kitchen table – it would probably only take me a little over an hour to clean the entire 480-square feet. Instead, I spend the first 45 minutes just going through mail, putting things back in their place and ripping labels off of newspapers for shredding.

I’m envious of people who have a house that’s seemingly ready for company at anytime. The Fly Lady calls this CHAOS, or Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. I think her approach to cleaning is to do a little each day – I haven’t studied it at length, I know she’s helped a lot of people, but just looking at her website seems like chaos to me!

I have found other ways to try to keep the clutter from hitting The Little House in the first place. I try to keep catalogues and junk mail to a minimum by calling companies and asking to be removed from their mailing lists. There’s also a great website, Catalogue Choice. After you sign up, you can ask them to notify companies for you and it keeps a record for you of the companies that’s been notified. It’s easy and it’s free.

Still, The Little House is in CHAOS this morning – or at least the kitchen table is – and I’m going to have to deal with the clutter before starting the actual cleaning.
I’m just happy that The Little House isn’t the beige split-level so it won’t take me all day.

BTW, if you know anyone in Kansas City looking for a great smaller house (1,100 sq. ft) with 2-year old carpet/flooring, hot water tank, heating/air unit and a rebuilt fireplace, the beige split level in Kansas City, Kansas is for sale again (the buyers were transferred out of town)!


I’m told every house has them – the stairs, the kitchen table, the foyer. Where does your clutter pile up? Tell us in the comments section.

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8 Responses

  1. I live in a similar situation….small 16X20ish (not sure exact…)I think we figured it was around 600sq feet. I have a cluttered desk in my office/laundry room/closet/dog room. I have cluttered bar tops in my transition area between my kitchen and living room/dining room/bedroom. I tried Flylady I tried the Household Notebook deal (can’t find it under my desk clutter) What works best for me is to have someone say they are coming to visit…then I declutter (all but the desk…it is behind a blanket”door”)

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Sarah,

      Your post really struck home (pun intended). My cousin called yesterday and said she would be over in 30 minutes. Boy, did I have a bunch of stuff to clean off of the table! 🙂

  2. MarthaandMe says:

    I deal with clutter once a week. We have someone come in to clean and the rule here is that all the clutter has to be picked up so she can clean. It’s a great motivator for me.

    • Kerri says:

      I think it would definitely motivate me if I had someone coming in to clean. That’s a dream of mine unfilled is to have someone come in and clean for me. The good news here is that we can find people to do this relatively cheap here; the bad news is that the wages here for everyone are low – so I haven’t been able to afford it – maybe someday!

  3. Babette says:

    I NEED Flylady.net! I used to live in 4000 sf. I had trouble keeping it neat and clean until we had to sell it–for six months, it was company ready bec. I REALLY followed Flylady. But I was sure when I moved into something smaller, I’d have not problems.


    We lived in 1300 sf for about 18 months (“temporary” living after a move) then moved into 2300 sf…and I still can’t keep it neat. Thanks to Flylady, I can keep it clean and I’m BETTER about keeping it neat…But I guess I need the “threat” of Having Anyone Over to make me pick up and declutter.

    (I’ll be honest: IT’S MY HUSBAND MORE THAN ME. I now toss stuff if it’s not useful and I don’t love it…he hangs on to things (like 1994 motorcycle mags) for YEARS.)

    • Kerri says:

      Sitting here contemplating that maybe it was the threat of company that makes me keep the house neat, as I did it very well for the 2-weeks surrounding the listing and showing of the house in KC. Yet here, we have a neighbor who just pops by sometimes and its still not motivation.
      Maybe I’ll give Fly Lady a try.
      Ah, I know those magazines too. My husband has boxes of them – in his garage!

  4. Kerri says:

    Ok, now we’re talking offices. I’m sitting here with a mound of papers on my desk, on filing cabinets – and 3 yet unpacked boxes from the dig in the storage building a few weeks ago! 🙂

  5. Kathy Winn says:

    I think you are lucky to live in a place where clutter is in your face and has to be dealt with routinely. I have a terrible habit of letting things pile up on my desk in my office. It’s very easy to close the door and forget about it for just a little while longer. We are getting ready to remodel our bathrooms so I have all kinds of brochures and literature from contractors stacked up next to my computer. Why is it so hard to just get a file folder, label it “bathrooms” and put it in my file cabinet? I don’t know!