Sunday, January 20, 2013


Well, it's that time of year again. Resolution time.

Last year I had some pretty serious resolutions. First, I was going to give couponing a try. After spending Christmas break watching a few episodes of Extreme Couponing, I just couldn't resist. Here I am a year later and I must say, it's pretty neat.

Not only did I stick with it, but I think I've actually been fairly successful. On a normal shopping trip (granted, my shopping trips are very much longer than they used to be) I can expect to save about 1/3 of what I would otherwise spend. I am aware of a couple of lingering issues that someone with a more Type A personality would probably have figure out by now, such as how to remember what the lowest expected price is likely to be on a given item (sure, it's a good price, but is it the BEST price?) and when should I ignore the sales and go full-on generic. With practice I can identify the best price of milk, different breads and a handful of produce items, but here in the modern world there are way to many grocery choices to keep all in my head. Similarly, I've experimented with a few generics and drawn conclusions, but I can count them on two fingers.

Alka-Selzer can be bought store-brand for less than half the price, with no obvious quality issues (and is an excellent treatment for alcoholic overindulgence). Also, cold cereal is better generic (although it's tough to find generic organics).

I keep waiting for a smart-phone app that will help with this kind of tracking but I've yet to find one that is as simple as I imagine it should be (is that how I will make my first million?!).

My other resolution was more complex. Between the in-home office with employees coming and going, my part-part-time job, two babies, a large house in need of cleaning and upkeep, a decidedly UNhandy husband and the possibility of moving to Texas in the next couple years, my life is pretty complicated, logistically. My second resolution was to streamline as much as possible and become more self reliant as a household. Organize, routinize and simplify was my mantra.

Honestly, I'm not sure how far I've come on that one. Part of the problem was that my goal was for the household, but I was the only one working toward it. It well nigh impossible to organize, routinize and simplify other people, and in most cases, it is quixotic to set goals on behalf of someone else. On the one hand, I don't feel any less dependent on other people (hired people, that is) than I did previously, but on the other hand I have a deeper understanding of how the conflicting dynamics of my life work together and occasionally clash.

Can that be counted as a success? Probably not, but I did manage to clean out two closets, so there.

So. Onward and upward, eh?

This year's resolution is incredibly boring, so brace yourself. I want to be a better housekeeper. I want a clean-ish house that I have done myself.

P will likely hate this resolution. He thinks that it is a waste of my time to clean and he would much prefer I just hire someone to come do it, freeing up my time to do more work for our family business, take the kids to the park, or lie on the couch eating bon-bons.

Seriously, that man would be delighted to see me eat bon-bons. I'm blessed, what can I say?

As penny-pincher supreme, I can't let myself do that. (Plus, I have a nagging voice inside saying self reliance, Self Reliance, SELF RELIANCE!!!).

In 2012 I tried subscribing to Fly Lady's house cleaning system but it made me absolutely nutty and I had to quit. In my short time as a mini-fly-lady, though, I learned some valuable tricks:

1. If you notice something that can be done in less than 30 seconds, do it RIGHT NOW. No excuses. No regrets. Yolo?

2.  Be on a schedule. This makes it less important for major tasks to get completely finished. Obviously, the goal is to finish tasks completely, but perfectionism is not a good thing and it is better to chip away at a problem than to put it off until the end of time because you can't finish it in one sitting. If you can't finish it this week, no big, this time next week you'll be able to pick it right back up again.

Here's my schedule. I've divided the house into 6 sections, leaving one day a week open for things that got missed or other big projects.

Sunday: Laundry Room, Hallway, Stairs. Take out the trash.
Monday: Dining Room, Drycleaning.
Tuesday: Spare Rooms, Spare Bathroom, Office Hallway and Mudroom.
Wednesday: Wash Stone Floors.
Thursday: Nursery, Nursery Bathroom, Drycleaning.
Friday: Catch Up, Big Projects.
Saturday: Master Bedroom and Bathroom.

So far, I've had this system in place for about a month and it's going ok. I'm optimistic.

Will 2013 be the Year of the Clean House?

Only time with tell.

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