Jolie Maison

Internets, I am about to make a confession. One of my biggest shortcomings is that I am a horrible housekeeper.

I love having a clean house but I hate cleaning. I work hard and when I come home, the last thing I really want to do is clean. On the weekends I would usually rather relax or hang out with my husband and our friends, not spend my time scrubbing toilets and doing chores. I leave laundry until everything I own is dirty, then I dress out of the dryer. I don’t cook often because the kitchen is disorganized or messy or both. I am embarrassed to have people come in our door. I clean for special occasions and wonder why I don’t do it all time. It’s a vicious cycle. One day when I am able, I will have a housekeeper once a month at least. But until then, I am pretty much on my own.

My husband is very helpful if I ask him to do things, but left to his own devices he is maybe worse than me. His old room at his mom’s house still attests to that. If I thought I was a slobby packrat that man has me beat thousandfold! We are a matched pair, mostly in good ways, but this is definitely not a good way.

Our three cats don’t help much around the house, plus they shed like crazy shedding things. They also like to claw, and as a result our almost five-year-old IKEA couch and chair (along with our not-so-old luggage, grrr) are toast. This makes it hard to keep our place looking as nice as I’d like when it IS clean. I tell them frequently that they are why Mommy can’t have nice things.

I would love to move into a bigger space, maybe even a house of our own, but with my husband about to go back to school for a new degree (SO proud of him!!) that isn’t the best idea. We have a cute place with lots of potential, it just needs to get whipped into shape. I want a blog-worthy home that is comfortable, reflects us and our tastes (well, my taste mostly, as he doesn’t really care much as long as it looks nice), and that I don’t let get cluttered and slobby because I am proud of it. Right now we have no organization for things, no art on the walls, little decor elsewhere, too much unneeded clutter and not enough of the right furniture. I feel like I fail at being a real grownup with my own grownup place, and I want to change that. I feel like I can’t truly relax or dedicate time to what I want to do–write, craft, cook, learn–without feeling guilty until I get my house in order and learn to keep it that way.

I’m going to transform my apartment into une jolie maison. I’m going to go one room at a time and get it in good working order, then go the extra mile to make it pretty.

My starting point is our kitchen. We have a great kitchen with lots of cabinets, granite, and a built-in wine rack, but not much counter space. Organization and decluttering is key to managing my cooking and enjoying my time in the kitchen. Last weekend I cleaned out our cabinets and threw out expired canned goods and stale crackers. I did the massive pile of dishes in the sink and cleaned all the surfaces. The husband also reorganized the giant corner lazy susan cabinet that houses our pots, pans and casseroles. It was small progress but it has made a huge difference this week. I am going to continue the progress by cleaning out the fridge, cleaning the oven and moving the non-essential appliances off the counter (bye bye, Foreman grill and breadmaker) to make the most of the space we have.

After that, I want to add some fun touches to the kitchen…a lamp by the sink, a nice soap dispenser and sponge holder, some new potholders and towels, a rug and some framed art. I’d love to add a small rolling kitchen cart for extra counter space.

I’m writing about this here for two reasons: one, I want to document my progress, and two, I want to stay accountable. So many blogs show the pretty side of things…fun DIY, crafty and thrifty decorating, beautifully styled rooms. I want to get there, and it will be a bumpy road for me to become an organized grownup. But I know I can do it. My happiness depends on it!