Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Have an Idea (and Banish the Barbies and Make a Salad)


It has been raining for about three years, without cease. Well, maybe five days. Feels like three years. I am quite pleased we live half way up a hill instead of down by the river. There are torrents of water rushing through our yard from higher up the hill. I had to rescue my gumboots from the shed just to take out the compost. I hate to think what awful pests and diseases will be rife in my garden this year. It has been just too warm and wet to kill off garden pests this winter, and it is so wet now that I can't get the three dry days I need to spray the stone fruit for curly leaf. Oh dear, oh dear.

Today Posy has been home from school with a vile head cold, so she and I completed another step on the journey towards a tidy, lovely bedroom for her. She has been very good at keeping her decluttered surfaces clean by not putting things down on her bookcase or her newly cleared dressing table. Although she does redecorate them every week in her own inimitable style.

Anyway, today I brought up the subject of Barbies. I know, I know, I have been letting down the sisterhood by buying my girls big-boobed plastic dolls. And yes, they are vile and tacky. But the girls love them - not for their fashion (although they all adored the princess dresses), but because they needed adult dolls for their incredibly inventive creative games. The barbies have escaped from the cubby dangling on bits of string, been buried alive, flown on flying foxes, been scalped, gone sailing, swimming and sinking in the swimming pool in elaborately designed home-made boats. They have been mermaids, princesses, orphans, witches. Believe me, these Barbies have worked very, very hard. Many of them are headless, most of their original clothes are missing, and they have been reclothed by small, determined seamstresses. Most of them came from the toy stall at school fetes. But now, after, let me see, about thirteen years of Barbies in the house, their time has come. Posy hasn't played with them for months. She agreed to pass them along to a small friend, so we sorted out the good from the bad and the ugly. The really terrible thing about Barbies of course, is that when they are broken, they are unrecyclable plastic. Sigh. Out went a bag of broken Barbies and accessories. And another bag to the little girl up the hill (we are hoping they will take us in if the river floods too high. Although they are more likely to be kind to us if we don't give them Barbies). And here is the wonderful thought. I may never buy another Barbie in my whole life. Or give them house room. Oh, the wonderful march of time.

Another good thing. A couple of years ago I went out and bought a big lidded wicker basket to store those pesky Barbies in. Today I put that in my bedroom for a laundry basket, and took our old laundry basket into the living room to fill up with kindling for the fire. House cleansing and redecorating project rolls on..


I have been serving pretty boring midwinter salads. Various greens, topped with toasted sunflower seeds. Quite nice, adequate, but I am craving colour and crunch, so today I made a pink salad. Grated carrot, beetroot and apple. Juice of a lemon, a swirl of olive oil, a pinch of salt. Oh, I love it. Sweet, sour, salty, crunchy.

Pink Salad...


Mmmm...


Over the last couple of months since I wrote a post on my housework routines I have seen in the blog stats that people are visiting who have entered the phrase 'overwhelmed by housework' or 'need housework routine'. Oh, it breaks my heart. We have all been there.. well, some like me maybe more than most. I am so naturally messy, and have clawed my way to (mostly) tidy and (reasonably) organized over a number of years. I know the feeling of having numerous small children creating havoc, mess and chaos without surcease, and feeling like I don't know where to start to make things better. To be honest, I wasn't good at housekeeping even before I had children, so I can't blame them. Neither The Man or I are naturally organized, and together we were chaotic, but adding children made chaos into disaster. For the first few years of our marriage we got by because we moved every year and had to get rid of stuff. But then we moved into this house. Which when we bought it was divided into three flats. Oh dear. After a few years we had entirely filled the downstairs flat with useless junk. We were renovating upstairs. I was homeschooling. We had four small children.

At a low point I started to declutter, and develop a housekeeping routine. I started clearing one surface at a time. I read old housekeeping manuals and realised the value of a detailed daily and weekly routine which left no room for me to procrastinate. It eventually became so automatic that I can be listening to the radio or day dreaming and suddenly realise I've done all the jobs for the day. You know, except when there's no crisis, or interruptions, which of course is every other day. Still, I don't feel that sense of panic I once did about housekeeping, and I want to share the solution that worked for me for all the people who randomly turn up here at Blue Day desperately looking for some help.

So I am writing down a detailed plan of what I do each day this week, and will post every day next week with a daily plan. I would love to 'compare and discuss' my routine with all of yours in your different situations. Because housekeeping may not be a very exciting subject, but it is one we all have to grapple with every day.

11 comments:

Heather said...

Now that my kids are back in school, I have been thinking about trying out a housekeeping routine again. I've tried before and failed at sticking to it, but I guess I'll try again since I know that it would make my life a lot easier. Why do I keep avoiding solutions that would help me? I have to wonder.

Jo said...

Hey Heather, why do I avoid exercising like it would actually hurt me (well, it might. I would probably fall over..)? Life has all the mysteries..
There is something about the children starting school after a long summer that feels like anything might be possible though. Good luck!

SarahN @ livetolist said...

I always mourned that I didn't have barbies, and the few I did were pitiful.

I must try that salad, it sounds intriguing. And I'd love to hear about your houseworking routines and know if I'm normal or not. The BF makes me feel like I'm insane, and so I do a lot by myself...

e / dig in said...

looking forward to seeing your routine! i have a vague routine, too much of which is done on the weekend (i work fulltime). i'm now trying to move more of the chores to after work so i can reclaim my weekend. but really lookign forward to seeing what you do jo!
and so glad you are okay with all the launie floods. we've had lots of rain, and mum and dad have had even more, but not as much as 'up north'. take care.
(love the barbie stories!)

Jo said...

Sarah, you sound like one of those housekeeping goddesses. I am hoping for hints..
e, at least working full time means you have a limited amount of time to make a mess during the week. But I imagine it must make the weekend less fun if you have to do all the housework then :(

Tammy said...

I used to have a routine for housecleaning. I don't know where I left it. I think it got lost in the clutter.

I would like to see your system, too.

Jo said...

Hi Tammy, welcome, I hope you find something that works for you.
Isn't that clutter evil? Don't worry, I have something for that...

Jessie said...

I eagerly await your routine. We are about to embark on our homeschooling journey and I have 3 kids, 5, 3.5 and 2, a goat, chooks and a house that looks like an utter dump most of the time. I hate it. I can use all the help I can get. Mostly I'm keen to know where the motivation to get up off ones a#@e and do it rather than reading or researching comes from. I shall eagerly await your posts. :)

Jo said...

Dearest Jessie, I've been there, (apart from the goat) and you have all my sympathy! You need more than a housekeeping routine, you need Mary Poppins and Alice from the Brady Bunch. And maybe Old MacDonald.
But I'll do my best to help :)

Anonymous said...

Was reading your blog for housekeeping tips. We used to keep all our broken plastic dolls when I was little. I had shoebox hospitals underneath the bed, and I'd sew little hospital gowns for them and make plaster casts out of flour/salt putty mixture...you can see why I need housekeeping tips. I haven't changed much! XD

Jo said...

Oh, I am loving the dolls' hospital. I too, was forever unable to discard a doll, no matter how disabled. However now I am that evil grown up who tosses children's toys with abandon. How did I turn into such a monster??

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