For those of you who find my "abstinence concept" scary ...
I totally get where you are coming from.⭐ I've been a member of this forum (and the prior forum) for a total of 3 years and 8 months. (adding together the time on both forums).⭐ I was only able to write this thread a month ago. I've only NOW become ready to consider maintenance.⭐ Before one month ago, reading such things would have made me run screaming from the computer.
And even now, it is difficult to contemplate.
I suggest that you encourage and accept where you are now. And ... completely delete the word "failure" from your vocabulary.
I think this is especially important to note because ...
We are NOT layzee and we are NOT failures.
(For newcomers, note that the word Layzee (L@zy) is bleeped out by the forum censor into *** ..... because we don't speak of ourselves that way here).
We are NOT failures. We are simply people who have either
- simply never learned the skills of housekeeping .... OR
- somehow lost the ability to efficiently housekeep due to trauma/chaos/poverty/stress/depression .... OR
- have an undiagnosed illness such as thyroid problem or anemia that is giving us severely lowered energy .... OR
- have an undiagnosed mental illness .... OR
- have a difficult physical disability ... OR
- have a natural inclination to resist overbearing routine .... OR
- have a combination of several of the above issues ... OR
- the original reason for messiness is buried in the past and doesn't matter anymore, but the messiness habit has become ingrained.
These may be WHY someone assumes
we are failures or layzee bums. But we are NOT failures. And we are NOT layzee bums.⭐ MANY members of SOS have been verbally/emotionally abused by parents, caregivers, or spouses.
It is this type of negative self-talk that we often heap upon ourselves -- because others once heaped it upon us.
⭐So PLEASE, remember, you are NOT a failure or L@zy because you cannot perfectly maintain a home!
⭐ You are intrinsically valuable as a human being, just the way you are, right now.
Here is how we do things here at SOS:
You get out of bed: We say: YAY! Wonderful!
You come to SOS to read: Success! Hooray!
You log on and post something: Amazing! Terrific!⭐ ⭐ ⭐
You pick up one piece of trash: Congratulations!
For every tiny thing you do to make your life better, we will cheer you and encourage you and celebrate you!
If you are "at-this-moment-unable-to-do-things-perfectly" we just give you a big group hug.
It's not failure. It's imperfection.
ALL human beings are imperfect.
We just celebrate that you are alive.
You are intrinsically worthwhile, just as you are !!!
We love you, even if you do nothing today. ♡ ♡
SOS is NOT about judgment, recrimination, or perfectionism.
We are here to encourage you, wherever you are at.
A great example of this concept is the daily thread on ListZilla called Working In Threes (W.I.T.s)
Everything you do, even drinking a glass of water, is celebrated as a success.
And if working in threes is too much, people sometimes start threads called "working in ones".
Lots of people talk about "just do something for 15 minutes." When I joined, I was incapable of doing that. The concept was paralyzing and terrifying.
Someone said: "Try five minutes!". Nope.
"One minute?" Uh-uh.
Then someone said: "Try 30 seconds." I was able to do that! For the longest time, that was all I could commit to. I had to gradually build in patterns of working on my house in 30-second spurts. Eventually, I worked up to 3-5 minutes.
Even now, years later, the longest I can do is 20 minutes at a time, and that's during important crunch deadlines.
I think a parallel could be drawn about the quantity of areas you are able to maintain.
There is a thread on the ListZilla forum called"Zero Degrees of Squalor Areas"
The link is here:takeonestepatatime.proboards.com/thread/4933
It is NOT about having Zero Squalor in your entire home!
It is about finding one spot, such as a chair, or a small table, or a corner of the room, or a single shelf ... that you keep free from clutter. And practicing maintaining that one single spot. Eventually, you build up to including maintaining another spot, so that you are now maintaining two tiny areas or shelves or chairs as squalor-free. This may take a long time to build of a pattern of success. Eventually, you gradually expand this concept.
There is another thread called"The Special Spot Method of Desqualoring"
The link is here:takeonestepatatime.proboards.com/thread/4206
It suggests making one tiny spot (a corner or shelf) in your house sacred or pretty or "empty" -- in a way that makes it a "special spot" for you ... something meaningful ... and defending it. And then gradually add more Special Spots and Clear Spots to your home.
Sometimes you need to let maintenance "sneak up on you". Just do positive actions, and then one day realize you've maintained something!
Another way to approach this would be to take ONE of the tasks I mention on my list in the opening post of this thread.
Example: Just focus on cleaning up spills after yourself. Make that a regular habit, and celebrate every time you do it. Ignore the rest of the ideas on the list.
Then, add another habit to the list, such as always putting dirty laundry onto a designated dirty laundry pile. (eventually you will get a "laundry hamper" system set up, but ... one habit at a time). Practice always putting the dirty laundry where it goes ... and NOT leaving it in the middle of the floor. Congratulate yourself every time you maintain this habit.
Eventually, you can add more habits to the maintenance list. I would recommend scooping the litterbox as one of the first habits to cultivate. (And i KNOW it's hard to do. I struggle with it. But I know it's for the sake of my cat's happiness and health).
Remember, if you "fall off the wagon" ... you are NOT a failure and you are NOT layzee. You are just imperfect.
Don't beat yourself up. That wastes energy. Just pick up the next spill or the next piece of dirty clothing and go on with your progress.
Progress, not perfection !