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Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 1 -- LOVE!

Monday's are usually positive days for me - a fresh start to a fresh week.  And I was even more motivated today for two reasons:  1 - it is Day 1 of our endeavor and 2 - a contractor was coming by at 5pm to talk home-renovations.  It's amazing how hard I will work when I know someone new is stopping by!

Which leads me to today's topic - Motivation.  Clearly I am very motivated by the "threat" of visitors.  But what about the days when there are no visitors, what will motivate me then?  Am I willing to do for myself and my family what I will do for a complete stranger? 

Today's tasks were daunting.  Every room of the house, including the large playroom and backyard were in complete cluttered chaos.  Plus, there were 4 loads of laundry to do.  I ran into numerous barriers- needy children, unexpected phone calls, potty accidents and spilled snacks.  But yet, I finished it all (and even had a nice lunch break with a friend).  It came down to Motivation!  I absolutely wanted to impress the contractor with a clean orderly home so that he would take us seriously in developing his estimate.

Do I value my husband and daughters as much as the opinion of a contractor?  Apparently not.  As I consider our first Mary Task, to contemplate our motives, I am forced to admit that my motives are wrong.  My only motive strong enough to invoke action is a motive of pride.  I only clean when I need to impress someone else.

I want my motive to be LOVE! 

Love for God - I want to show my love and thankfulness for the things I have been given by being a good steward.  Having a mess leaves things broken, lost, and forgotten. 

Love for my Family - I want my home to be peaceful, orderly, and efficient for my family.  They are the ones who are forced to live here after all!  Mr. Contractor can walk out the door and be on his way after a short visit, but my family must live day in and day out in the environment I create.  Plus, order and cleanliness allows me to love my family better because I have more time on my hands to be with them, rather than constantly attempting to conquer the mess (or trying to find something in the mess).

Love for Me! - A clean home is a gift to myself.  To end the night in a quiet home with clear counters and move my room with a lovely made bed makes me feel really special!  There is a reason I love fancy hotels -- they are always clean and orderly!  When my home is in order, my mind is free to think deeply -- which is by far my favorite hobby!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What's In It?

So what exactly will be covered in 31 days?

Check out the Table of Contents

Clearly the topics are focusing on our hearts and our habits.  It leaves out how to make the perfect homemade hardwood cleaning solution, and instead focuses on how to get your bottom off the couch and in to action.

Personality styles and cleaning routines are covered, but in an exploritory open ended manner that encourages readers to discover their own way.

As we work through the days, we will use this blog to share ideas, websites, articles, methods, etc to enhance our efforts.

We get started in the morning?  Ready to go??

Before You Start

I have printed out my copy of 31 Days to Clean and did an initial skim of the content this weekend.  Here are some key points that you may want to consider as you get started.

1.  It is clearly written to At-Home Wives, though I am sure Working Wives and Single Women will benefit greatly from the content.

2.  Reading Time:  Reading Time is easy, maybe 5 minutes max.  But it might be good to read the day before since some assignments will need prep work or a rearranging of your schedule to make time for the assignment.

3.  Working Time:  Some of the Martha Tasks may seem daunting, such as clean out and organize ALL your kitchen cabinets.  Be free to decide each day what your standard will be.  Will you go all out on every assignment?  Will you limit your work to a certain length of time? (limiting the cleaning/organizing to 1 hour) Or will you limit the work to a certain quality? (just wiping out the cabinets, minus the organization) 

To help me with managing my Work Time, I printed out a small 1 month calendar and wrote in a basic description of each Martha Task.  That way as I plan my week, I can look at the tasks and decide how best to fit them into life.

4.  Budget:  Day 1 Assignment is to buy the needed things for completing Martha tasks.  If your cleaning supplies are depleted or worn out, then be prepared to spend a little.  Honestly, homes need little more than bleach, vinegar, dish soap, Soft Scrub, some good rags and sponges (not just old socks!), a couple industrial size squirt bottles (for making your own cleaning solutions), a broom and a mop.  The industrial cleaning section of Walmart (near paint and air filters) has better supplies than the housekeeping department.

You might also need some extra money for beautifying your home -- adding plants, buying fresh flowers, etc.  These are optional items.

5.  Balance:  Remember that the goal is not perfection but improvement -- of our hearts and homes.  Join us even if you are worried that you might not be able to participate every day.  Even 2 days a week ends up being 8 steps ahead of where you are now!

We start tomorrow morning!  So download your copy of 31 Days to Clean now!


Excerpt from 31 Days to Clean:

I struggle with managing my home well.  Cleaning does not come naturally to me; in fact, I think my DNA is allergic to it.  Yet here I am writing a book on cleaning.  But see, this book isn't about how to dust properly or organize your cabinets just so (I am definitely not the person to write that kind of book!).  This book is about the "why" and the vision and the heart for taking care of our domains.

The heart of our homes in not in the ability to keep it perfect at all costs; the heart of a home is love.  We live in a thing, a non-eternal structure that needs to be maintained.  The thing is worthless without the life we bring to it and through it.  This book is about bringing life to the mundane in order to love well.

We're on a journey, a 31 day faith-step journey towards ruling, subduing, and loving.  We are forgoing perfection; we are choosing life.

Good stuff eh??  Won't you join us?  Be sure to download your copy of 31 Days to Clean, we get started tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day Zero.. In Search of Accountability

Day Zero.

I wasted an hour (minimum) online this morning.  This has become a common habit of mine.  Too overwhelmed by all the things that ought to be done, I widdle away precious time on nothing.

But at least I found a new book to read!

Following a post from Sally Clarkson at I Take Joy, I learned of an e-book called "31 Days to Clean".  Sally's review caught my heart: 

By personality, I am a dreamer, idealist, relational, philosophical sort of person. And yet none of this has helped me very much in keeping my home in order. But because I am an idealist, I feel compelled to keep a home that is beautiful in ambiance and a place of order–but keeping it going has always been a drainer for me. ...... What I love is that this book deals with the heart of the matter as well as ways to see progress a little at a time.

That sounds just like me, and I truly hope this book will help, but without accountability I am lost. So I decided to post the link on facebook, asking if anyone would join me.  By noon 5 people offered to read along too!  Seems I am not the only domestically-discouraged idealist out there!

On this blog, we will share our joys, successes, frustrations, ideas, and lessons as we walk through 31 days of cleaning. 

Here is my initial take on the book if you are interested:

The book is manageable, with daily readings only 2 pages long.  The assignments, one for your heart and one for your home, are likewise manageable, though some of the home assignments may take up to an hour depending on the current condition of things.  From initial glance, the focus is going to be on spring cleaning more than on daily routines, though routine is addressed and suggestions given.  The cost of the e-book is $5, easily ordered from the website and payable using credit card or paypal.  You can also purchase a Kindle version of the book.

We will start on Monday May 9 (which is exactly 31 days from when I leave for my summer vacation!)

Come and Join Us!