The Fix Your Hot Mess Challenge: Phase One

I realize how much I hate talking about myself….and also how I’ve let that hold me back from pursuing a life I really wanted. I’m sure I will dig deeper into that later on, but today we’re talking about housework. More broadly: hitting the reset button.

I spoke yesterday about my struggle with regaining control. At least I hope that’s what you were able to take away from it.


One of the reasons I’ve never been able to get my shit together. I wanted to live healthier and do more with life, sure. But then I’d essentially sit here and feel like a deer in headlights for a while. I didn’t have an actual plan, and I wasn’t addressing the key triggers for my shortcomings. So, I made a plan this time. I’ll probably post it under the Lifestyle section so if it’s something you may want to try, you can give it a go too. I’d love to get some feedback, and it’s probably the most honest and relevant challenge I can create for myself. If it helps even one other person, I’d be excited.

So, I created a “Fix Your Hot Mess Challenge” for myself.  This challenge isn’t like these 30-day challenges that don’t always encourage lifestyle changes that have a deeper meaning. This is what I am going to be doing for the next….well, there’s no time requirements. This is a do-it-at-your-own-pace kind of thing, but I assure you that it will change your life for the better. It’s a win-win if you finish it, but even falling short will leave you a little better off than when you started. Don’t be hard on yourself and have fun with it. Some parts will need to be done concurrently, and some won’t. Some will be a lifestyle change. I know it’ll impact everyone differently, so give me a shout if it works for you.

Today we’re going to talk about Phase One.

The first objective of the “Fix Your Hot Mess Challenge” is ensuring your home is a positive and welcoming space for you. For some of us, that’s not a big challenge, especially if someone in the home (or yourself) has a more organizational bone. But for those of us who struggle in that department, it’s a biggie. So this may take you a short amount of time, or it may take you weeks or months- it will differ for everyone. This is where we begin.

You have to take an honest look at your home and decide what it would take for you to be happy/happier with it. Is it due for some carpet cleaning? Is it cluttered? Are you itching to rearrange a room? Debating overhauling the landscaping, but would have to do it yourself?  Mortgage payments being a strain? Find out what it is that you would need to do in order to cut back anything that is holding you back within the home. 

For me, this has been my biggest struggle, and perhaps a strong factor in my feeling of aimlessness lately. I don’t feel like I’m in control of my home. I know part of the cause is because Roland and I did not adjust well to change when I moved here and then moved in….we see things two different ways. He can be very methodical about some things (like, he had a routine for the basics) but was more into the material, physical things. He also had a housekeeper that would come here once a week to do a thorough (though, not really) clean. That’s not abnormal here, and it made me uncomfortable. I feel most comfortable in a minimalist environment because it’s easier to maintain and being able to maintain it myself. The house isn’t that big. The kids were also very anti-chores because they claimed they never had to do them at their mother’s house, spare making their beds. Roland also wasn’t a fan of pitching in consistently when we didn’t have a housekeeper, and I crumbled. I was already struggling professionally and just didn’t have the mental capacity anymore to handle the stress.

I also struggled to “find my place” in the house because it was already fully furnished and aesthetically bland. It wasn’t functional for me as a home-based professional, and Roland had a lot of things he had packed up but never really figured out where to put it. I also felt like the kids regarded the house as one they visit time to time rather than their home. Now, I was really lucky (and still am) that my parents were a solid team and continue to be to this day. I never had to deal with them ever being anything less than united. I could still easily imagine that the kids didn’t feel they were part of the house. It needed structure.

It took me years of kind of gently pushing for improvements (with the periodic burst of “screw you, I’m going to do it my way”) and a lot of strain in the relationship, but it’s to the point where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel more clearly. We went through a couple of housekeepers that kept damaging things and were so disorganized that things would disappear for months and then we’d find it in a random box. There were also the times that things totally disappeared and there was no logical explanation other than “the housekeeper may have stolen it”. You can never tell when it’s one of those moments, though, because you risk accusing them just to find out months later they were really bad at their job.

I don’t have that extra set of hands now, and there’s really no reason I can’t manage it in my free time if I make a plan, right? The hardest part of the “Fix Your Hot Mess Challenge” for me right now will be figuring out how to make my home one I am happy with. It’ll also mean facing some core flaws that have long needed addressing when it comes to holding myself accountable and leaning on excuses.

I have to break my plan down into particular objectives, including:

  • Thoroughly organizing each room in the house. NO cutting corners.
  • Addressing improvements that will ensure the home is running properly
  • Revive the aesthetics (decor, furniture…make it look nice)
  • Declutter
  • Make a routine and get everyone on board with it
  • Create the home office we need
  • Address the problems that are causing constant issues with my allergies
  • Revamp the landscaping

There are some bigger tasks like replacing the roof that might not be viable right now, but there’s so much I can do to get me into a place where I am at least happy with my living space. And today, I am going to come out swinging…I hope. I start my process of giving the house a good scrub and realize that this is going to take more than a day because I’ll need to organize and declutter each space as I go along. I want to do this right so I don’t have to keep doing it. It’s supposed to be about creating a functional space that will be easy for us all to maintain…and make it pretty as I go along. Getting each space cleaned properly will help me eliminate a huge emotional and mental hurdle in my life. I’m also doing this for my family, who has been a big motivating factor in this very slow process.

How is it going to be different than how I’ve been slowly plodding along for years? I have objectives. I know what I want in the end. I realize I’m the only one holding me back in the process. So my Phase One will be making our home into our ideal home. I want it to be a space where I can really focus on my dreams and finally make it something all four of us can be incredibly proud of. I’m not sure how much I will be able to get done today, but I sure as hell will make sure to give it my best. I’ll be sure to document the process I personally went through as best as I can because this one will be a long-term doozy.

Did I mention I hate talking about myself?

Queue the workout playlist. I’m going in with a bottle of bleach. How about you?


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