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Our State Of The Home Address is a time each month where we reflect on the efforts that we've made in the past month and the results that has had in our home. It's also a time where we look to the upcoming month and goals we would like to work toward.

The beginning two and half weeks of the month of November contrasted sharply with the last two weeks of the month for me.

At the beginning of the month, I was completing all my challenges almost perfectly and completing the night routine every week night. It made the Perfectionist part of my brain very happy to be doing so well, and it was nice to feel so accomplished. I started feeling better about the state our home was in, and I had hope that I'd be able to make my goal of putting up Christmas decorations. Since it is our first married Christmas and Christmas is a very special holiday to me, it made me very happy to think about decorating.

Then Thanksgiving happened. The week of Thanksgiving I had plans 6 days out of 7, and I was out of the house for almost the entire day most of those days. I appreciated MJ being supportive of my busy schedule and encouraging me to focus on the night routine and be okay if the other challenges and cleaning didn't get done. I let challenges pass. I did the night routine some nights that week but not all of them. I lost my own mental "perfect" status that I had been enjoying.

After the holidays, I had a hard time getting back on track. Maybe it was the break in rhythm. Maybe it was that my calendar check list (I turn my challenges/cleaning tasks/personal to do's a different color when I complete them) was no longer perfectly pink. But for whatever reason since that point, I've been completing some challenges but not all of them. The cleaning schedule went by without almost any of the items done last week. The night routine has been hit or miss. Not surprisingly, I can tell a difference in the apartment.

That said I realize that I've accomplished more than I'm quick to give myself credit for. I am very thankful that MJ got me on Google Calendar because it helps me see all the work I've done and progress that I've made. It is nice to have another yardstick, so to speak, when I feel like my apartment isn't necessarily reflecting that to me. I looked at last week, and I completed 16 challenges and 3 of the weekly cleaning tasks. I've completed about 14 challenges this week already and 2 cleaning tasks. I've completed the nightly routine 2 out of 3 nights. The one night I didn't, I still made the hubby his lunch.

I still have a long way to go before any of the areas in our apartment are about 15 minutes from company ready, which is my ultimate goal.

Also to review, since I mention it a few times in this post, my current nightly routine is to set a timer and spend 15 minutes with these tasks in basically this order:
* prepare hubby's lunch (currently all he has been asking for is for me to make one sandwich)
* wash dishes
* wipe down kitchen sink/counter
* tidy bathroom counter and wipe the counter and sink down (I skip this if it still looks clean from the night before)
* decide on clothes for the next day (I don't always do this, depending on what I'm doing the next day. But I'm working on making it more of a habit.)
* clean other areas if there is still time left

Living Room
I've been focusing most of my cleaning related challenges on the living room. This was MJ's suggestion after I felt like I wasn't really making progress with any room after bouncing around from one room to another every day. My husband and I both picked the living room as the place we preferred to be cleaned first. I'm glad MJ suggested focusing on one room because I do feel better about the progress I've made in the living room. I also don't feel like the other rooms look that different from when I was spending more time on them. I feel like cleaning for 15 minutes in any room is usually just picking up from the day and then a little bit more than that, so it doesn't lead to a big difference when you are starting with a big mess.
Even with focusing on one specific area, I feel like the living room is still a wreck and that I'd be very embarrassed to have company. It isn't very motivating to observe after all the time I've spent trying to get it in better shape. I decided this past Monday to make cleaning the living room for 45 minutes a challenge every week day. That said, I've only completed that challenge once in the last three days. (Tuesday I had to help out family with babysitting unexpectedly, and I went to an evening meditation practice. I still completed several challenges, so I feel okay about that. But today I was home, so I should have worked on it.)
I did move three boxes and two large items in a storage unit a few days ago. My hubby told me that he felt a difference in our apartment, so that was very nice to hear. Unfortunately, I still don't feel like it is a good idea to decorate for Christmas when we still have stuff everywhere. I don't feel like we'd really be able to enjoy the decorations with everything else going on in the room, so it doesn't seem like it is worth the effort and time right now. We don't have the space for a (real) Christmas tree, which is one of my favorite parts about Christmas. So that is a bit of a disappointment, but it is keeping with my general goal of making choices that best support our family at the time.

My goal for the next few weeks is to continue focusing on the living room and work on it for at least 45 minutes 4 times a week. I hope in a month that it will be 15 minutes from company ready.

Kitchen and Bathroom
Feeling pretty good about these areas considering where our apartment is at right now. I feel like the nightly routine really goes a long way with helping me feel positive about how they look. Just tidying and wiping down the kitchen sink and counters and the bathroom counter makes me feel a lot better about how these areas looks. I feel like it wouldn't need a whole lot of extra work to be passable if company came over. If I complete the nightly routine regularly, I even have been able to skip the bathroom counter on occasion and clean other areas (like wiping down the outside of the cabinets or trashcan for example). It is always a little bit exciting when one area has stayed clean, and I have the extra time to focus on cleaning something else. I also enjoy having an empty or almost empty sink when I complete the nightly routine.

Since the bedroom isn't part of my nightly routine and I have chosen to focus all my current efforts on the living room, no progress has been made in the bedroom. It is still a wreck. I did manage to clean (or re-clean, I can't remember) the area in the front of the bed so we aren't stepping on things when we get out of bed, so that is nice. I am currently not planning on focusing on it next month, as I still want to get the living room in a good place first. I have been enjoying having some extra room in the closest after pulling out clothes to take Goodwill. I'm also still implementing the backwards hanger system to show which clothes are getting worn and which aren't, which I find interesting.

I really enjoyed MJ's challenge of having all major gifts purchased by December 1st.
It felt really good to have almost all of our gifts purchased by that date, and I've enjoyed not feeling stressed or rushed to get presents this month. We didn't get all our gifts purchased, but I got almost all the gifts for "my side" purchased over a week before the deadline as well as many for "his side"!
The hubby and I went shopping that last week and finished up with most of the gifts for his side. I feel very accomplished that we got gifts for about 20 people by December 1st!
A couple of the gifts we simply couldn't purchase by December 1st. For instance, he is going to order a video game for his friend in New York and have it shipped there, so he wanted to wait until it was closer to Christmas. I'm planning on buying a movie gift card for my dad, and the theater by him isn't in Texas. So I have to wait until I go up there to visit for the holidays.

I still need to buy something for one person that I just recently found out for certain that we are exchanging gifts. I do have some ideas, so I hope to be finished with that in the next few days.
I would like to make a few things if I have time. It would really just be extra gifts, so it is nice not having the pressure of not having a gift if I don't finish them.

We really only have one person that we have struggled with and still have no idea what to get for. She asked me to go shopping with her on Friday, so I'm hoping third time is the charm (went shopping with her twice in the last few weeks) and I can finally get an idea for a present for her!
I do feel like the last two weeks have flown by, and next year I hope to make wrapping presents a goal that I get completed by this time. Having decorations up will almost be a goal for next year.
I do feel great about the progress we've made this year with gifts though! :)


Dec. 14th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC)
I think you've made great progress! You've got a great start on your living room and by focusing on that I know you will have it to a place you are comfortable with in no time. I'm glad you are looking back and remember all the hard work you have been doing - because you have been doing A LOT! Glad you are seeing your benefits of your nightly routine in the kitchen and bathroom. :) It's good to feel calm in even just one room. I agree, next year I need to make the goal to be gifts purchased AND wrapped!