It is the stuff again, overflowing from every vantage point. There are mountains of work every where - dirty laundry, dishes to be washed, toys to put away, books to find a home for, it could go on and on. The kids, even my husband, have not been cleaning up after themselves, which means I end up dealing with their messes, and I can't get to the heavy load already on my plate. While I may feel like flipping out at my husband and pointing my finger at my children, it really all starts with me. Mom sets the mood and tone for the household. If I want self sufficient cleaner uppers I need to lead by example.
The problem is that trap I mentioned above. After all, how can you clean up or do your chores when the family is making dirty faster than clean. It is not possible, especially if you work outside the home or homeschool. No matter how hard one tidy person works, they cannot make up for four people who do not pick up after themselves. My friend once put her husbands dirty socks in his coffee maker to teach him a lesson, that was brilliant, but I wonder if it only worked for a while. Trust me, I have try all sort so ways - hard as nails, crying, bagging, threatening, and bribing. You can lower your standards, but eventually, if you lower them too much you have ran out of clean dishes, clean clothes and the floor is covered in "stuff."
We are about to start our homeschooling year tomorrow, and this issue of the "mess" and "stuff" was weighing heavily upon my spirit. For the past month I have been asking God for wisdom of how to solve this problem and to show me what we needed to change. Then the Lord used another family's similar struggle to answer my prayer.
It was a blog post on Building Cathedrals titled "Less is More." Basically, you take everything out you can and box it up, donate it or put in the trash. Everyone will find it much easy to pick up after themselves. Then, as you master that level, you can bring some things back up from the basement. Follow the link and read the whole post, it sounds extreme, but I think it will make your household much easier to run. It follows a very basic, biblical principle of stewardship (Parable of the Talents). Focus on one thing, master it and then and only then, move on while reviewing what you mastered. It is so simple, so basic, now we must need to do it.
The photo at the top is a big mess my son made while I was schooling my daughter, below is my repentant son after he cleaned it all up.