As the title of this post says, I've been asked how I do it all, with it being taking care of the house, the animals, bills, and all the other things, like working and helping out animals in need of a little bit of loving. Well, it isn't easy and some days I just want to have a Calgon-take-me-away day, but all in all it is so worth the seemingly constant work and effort.
What I had to do was eliminate stuff that sat around collecting dust and taking up space; space that was sorely needed for peace of mind, comfort, and movement. Getting rid of things took time, ingenuity, and effort, as well as soul searching on my part. As I had been raised by a parent who never threw anything away - and this included wads of tissues in her purse, which ended up taking up more room in her bag than the things she needed - I had gotten into the habit of keeping just about everything someone got rid of that I felt had the least bit of value or attractiveness. Many, many yard sales, trips to charity shops, and bags of broken or worn out bits of this and that which ended up as trash or recycled items had to be created with even less coming into the house later. I made it a rule of thumb that, for every bag of groceries or other shopping that came into the house, five bags had to go out. If things exited the house for yard sales, none of them were allowed to return and were given away to charity if not purchased by someone who found my trash to be a treasure.
At first, this didn't seem to be working; there was so very much shoved into every nook and cranny of my abode, but eventually, I found I had this superbly wonderful thing beginning to emerge - SPACE!! As space began to reveal itself, things began to get a bit easier around here. Seriously, this cleaning out and cleaning up took about five years to complete, while productivity inside the house began to pick up and household stress began to subside.
After that, I was able to then get to doing things for the house - such as cleaning and re-organizing - as they needed to be done. Since I don't watch television very often, the time one would normally waste on mindless viewing of the idiot tube I spent moving things about and actually utilizing my new-found SPACE. I also found that I wasted significantly less time having to look for things as they now had a place to be and, believe it or not, were usually there when I needed them - what an oddity!
Now, I also have significantly less animals to care for as I am no longer active in rehab. Where I had a constant influx and outflow of birds and other beautiful creatures of all ages, I only have my babies that I can care for. They eat their breakfast or dinner and I immediately begin picking up and washing their bowls as I walk through the room. As I pamper all of them with bedding of their own, I now have plenty of extra, freshly laundered bedding at the ready to change keeping them comfortable and healthy. When changing their bedding, I also make sure to take a few minutes and sanitize the areas where they like to eat and sleep.
I clean areas of my house as I walk through it, too. If the bathroom sinks need cleaned, I take a minute and scrub it when I wash my hands. If the commodes need cleaned, I take a minute and do that nasty little job when I see it. I have the supplies needed conveniently placed so I can do this without having to go searching. I can do this because, once again, I have lovely SPACE to do so since I've gotten rid of so much extraneous stuff.
And, in regards to all that "stuff", I realized I didn't need to have fourteen sets of dishes; two usable sets for everyday and two sets I've kept that used to belong to my Grandmother are more than sufficient. I didn't need to keep every glass my family had ever used, unlike my Mother who wanted to keep every glass that had a memory to it because someone we loved used it once upon a time. I didn't need to keep every little bit of paper or receipt from 1981 or chicken scratch my daughter had done twenty-seven years ago - important documents and good pieces of artwork or writings, yes, but every scrap, no. Over 95% got shredded and trashed in one way or another. It's absolutely amazing how much space papers will take up, along with old magazines that no longer serve any purpose other than being pretty. Stuff like that just had to go and I pay attention to it not accumulating again, while also re-organizing that which does need to stay from time to time, oftentimes tossing out even more of what I thought mistakenly was a necessary thing to keep.
Periodically, when chores seem to be caught up with, I look around to see what hasn't been done in awhile. Things like cleaning the oven, washing the windows, or washing the drapes get done during these times, along with cleaning under and behind the refrigerator, clothes washer, and dryer. Things stay kept up with this way.
This has become contagious to my husband also. He finds that he enjoys going through and organizing his own spaces, keeping his clothing hung up and his medicine cabinet neat and usually clean. When he pulls the lawn equipment out of the shed, he finds he's inspired to straighten and clean out some of the stuff in there, along with in his own tool areas of the garage. The interior of his car is no longer a mobile garbage container of used drink cups, fast-food wrappers, and old newspapers either - that's a blessing and quite a saver of gasoline as the car can now be used as a transportation vehicle for more than just garbage.
I'm less stressed, my husband is less stressed, and my animals are happier than they've ever been, even though they were pretty darn happy to begin with. This makes for a less stressful environment all the way around, with greater productivity and a better ability to get things done as they're needed to be done. Try it yourself and just realize that holding on to too many things causes you to be overly stressed, with the things owning you and your time; not you owning them or being able to use your time. And another thing - turn off the television set and get off the computer once in awhile!! Unless you have to work on the computer you sincerely don't need to be on it so much, telling everyone on Facebook that you're feeding your face - Really, no one cares! Turn off your computer and the video games, turn off that television set and the cell phone, and actually enjoy your meal, or whatever you're trying to enjoy doing, instead of reporting about it or getting upset because of someone's dramatic rant. Tune out everyday so you can tune in to your life, be more productive, and less stressed. That's what I do and it definitely works well here, so it will for you, too.