Last week Michael had some leave from work, and so I took a break too, the strange thing about this was although it was lovely to spend some time together, the majority of the week disappeared. Except for Thursday when we met our goal of getting to the seaside we (or I) suffered from an organising breakdown. I would be amazed if this story is not a familiar one. You spend so many hours at work, that when you come home, you can’t face dealing with what feels like more work. So you put off DIY or large cleaning jobs until you are on leave from the office. Then because you are on holiday, you don’t want to be doing work! Well, whenever Michael has some leave, we always make plans to do some of the decluttering jobs that I don’t have enough spoons to do, and they never get done. The whole thing ends up causing an organising breakdown.

Is Someone to Blame?

Of course not, I am categorically not blaming either of us for this happening, even when I was single something similar always seemed to happen, but I would like to look deeper into the situation briefly. Not that I am a psychologist or anything, these are just my thoughts.

Expectations of Time

When you are employed by someone else, no matter how much you enjoy your job sections of the week can drag, not to mention dealing with the Monday Morning blues that for many people kick in on Sunday evening. In short, on a Monday morning, a week feels like a long time. For some reason, you completely forget the fact that Friday comes around really quickly because the Monday Morning sensation is so intense. Therefore, when you know you have a week off work, this feels somehow like a massive amount of time. When you are leaving the office on a Friday, it is easy to have a completely unrealistic sense of what you can get done in the coming week.
Living Creatively with Fibro | An Organising Breakdown caused by the Unrealistic Expectation of Everything you can fit into one week off

Unscheduled Freedom

Another thing employees often don’t like about their jobs is having their time scheduled by someone else, be it their working hours or even the frequency of meetings. Therefore, when it comes to having a week away from the office the last thing you want to do is stick to another agenda during your vacation time (I do not include things like package holidays naturally). This spot seems the ideal place to bring up another complication. If you are a couple, there is a good chance that one of you is going to be more interested in being organised or productive than the other. There would be nothing worse than replacing the work you get paid for with labour provided by your significant other.

The Results of Disorganised Time

Now, as I sit here looking around me, nothing has changed. I had planned in my mind (and even on Trello) that lots of organising and decluttering were going to happen last week, I thought we might even get some painting done. What went wrong then? It is simple; I didn’t think about how Michael might like to spend his week off! We didn’t have a conversation about it other than me mentioning some jobs that I wanted to get done. So regarding my initial plan for the week, it can be seen as a disaster because nothing has happened. On the other hand, if the idea was to relax and enjoy ourselves, we played computer games and watched a whole series on Netflix amongst other things, so it was a success. I must add in at this point there were no disagreements or falling out at all during the week, it was more about the lack of communication over how we would spend the time to manage both our expectations.

Joint Planning

Going forward the first thing we are going to do is decide together when we would prefer to tackle some of the more critical jobs. Do we want to give up what will be a week’s leave for Michael and to a lesser extent (as a work at home blogger) for me? Would we prefer to keep holidays for pleasure and relaxing? Therefore completing the jobs on weekends or even summer evenings. Let’s be honest due to my Fibromyalgia I am entirely reliant on Michael to do the more substantial work as it is.

Communicating Importance

Naturally, there are going to be tasks that are a lot more important to one of us than the other. That is why I have now introduced a !, !!, !!! system to our joint Trello boards. Instead of me creating tasks and allocating them to Michael on set days and times I am now going to prioritise them and add a due by date. So it is entirely up to him when they are done by or if he has different thoughts on the plan we can discuss and potentially change how we will tackle projects.

Having a Reality Check

The first step is to be realistic. In our case, we live in two rooms with a short linking corridor, situated on the second floor (3rd floor for my American friends). There is a bedroom, but the other space is a multifunctioning kitchen, living room, office and craft studio, so there are a lot of possessions to fit into it.  Our spare kitchen work surface barely exists once you have taken into account the oven, microwave and other small kitchenware. There is no real potential for vertical storage due to the sloping ceilings because they are attic rooms. We (or I, in particular) still have far too many possessions to fit neatly into the space we have. When I manage to declutter, the containers of items (including heavy things like books) have to be carried down all the stairs to get them out of the house. It is challenging keeping full rooms clean; it is even more difficult because this is an old house and there are parts of the building below that are partially decorated with exposed old plaster (this part of the house is not ours to do anything with), however careful you are this dust gets brought upwards. There are also cracks in our walls. I am not making excuses but giving myself a reality check. I have Fibromyalgia, and Michael has Diabetes (not to mention a recovering shoulder injury) there is only so much we can do.

Losing My Way

You may remember the catalyst for my organising project was when I initially talked about shopping your craft stash. From this came my ongoing Midweek Minimise project. This challenge for myself began by removing ten items a week, and it was going well but somewhere along the line I caught the decluttering bug. I spent far too long pouring over Pinterest Images of amazing (large) craft rooms and beautiful houses. Let’s be blunt you can’t go into a burger bar and expect a perfect steak any more than I can transform this temporary flat into an ideal home.

Recovering from the Organising Breakdown

But… I can continue to declutter the draws so that the things on the top of cabinets will fit within them.  I can continue to share with you my victories, one shelf at a time. I can (and this is a massive one) admit that I may be based at home and have all this extra time, but that is because I have Fibromyalgia which reduces my capacity. Here is another hefty one too, I need to spend a little bit more time enjoying the good days rather than wishing my life away until we can manage to live somewhere else. Ultimately, I need to take the advice of Melissa Maker in her Clean my Space book from Amazon and decide upon my Most Important Areas and try to do something with those while letting go of the perfectionist who wants everything immaculate.

Next time I will be back on track continuing with my Midweek Minimise decluttering, this may feature the following shelf of my bookcase which will allow me to create more craft storage space or maybe I will tackle one shelf in our hallway corridor. The box of spares I put together when I cleared out under the kitchen sink is still waiting to go into that cupboard; it is sitting on a chair in the wardrobe. They are both pressing; I may have to flip a coin – spoonie style.

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