How I survived 60 days without a domestic helper, and still felt great, was productive and didn’t feel like I was defeated?
Maidless = Helpless ? How I survived 60 days without a domestic helper, and still felt great, was productive and didn’t feel like I was defeated
Every time I face a challenge, my husband always says to me, “Divide and conquer”. So, here’s my 7 strategies on how I managed to keep the house clean and organized with my husband and my triplet boys after my helper went back to her home country.
1. Mindset shifting
This was the first time my DH had gone back to her home country for two months. Previously, every year she went back for one month, I would have many negative feelings flowing through me. I was constantly worried, uncertain, afraid and angry.
But, this year, I decided to shift my mind to focus on positivity only. I was taking this time to do some self-reflection. Instead of choosing to blame her and get frustrated with her wrongdoings, I chose to channel these feelings to make things productive. Every time I felt a negative feeling, I would channel the negativity and focus on doing something productive e.g. organizing my storage room or decluttering the papers. Because of that, I felt more productive and empowered because I was in more control of my own home rather than feeling that my helper and external things were controlling how I felt.
I took some time to show gratitude towards my helper too. Every time I was challenged by a difficult chore, I would thank her for her assistance over these years, helping me solving the problems at home. Also, I felt happy for her because she was in her home country spending time with her family, especially her son. With that, I felt grateful for what she had sacrificed and contributed to my family and she was a good helper.
2. Behavior changing
The whole family’s behavior changes too. Everyone in the house is no longer pampered. They have to contribute to the household.
Starting with my boys, I slowly broke the tasks down into smaller tasks based on their capabilities.
- They had to refill and take their own water bottles and put them in their school bags and carry their bags into the car.
- They had to take out their school uniforms from the wardrobe and put on their uniforms themselves.
- They had to wash their own dishes.
- They had to put their belongings in their designated places.
Also, any appropriate self-care activities e.g. shower, changing clothes and brushing teeth, I would leave it to them to do without my help.
Jun washing his own bowl.
I delegated the household chores to my children and husband too. I assigned appropriate chores to the boys and they helped me with simple chores such as putting laundry into the washing machine, putting laundry in the dryer, vacuuming the rugs, putting the cutlery and kitchen utensils into the drawers, etc. My husband helped out with other chores such as taking out the trash, grocery shopping, and paying bills.
Hao took the laundry out of the dryer.
I started to declutter the things I found useless and things that I didn’t love anymore. Every time I was cleaning, I would declutter at the same time. As for my boys’ things, I would go through the decluttering process with them by asking whether they still wanted to keep or discard something. Surprisingly, they were clear with what they wanted to keep and throw. They merely answered a simple, yes or no. With lesser things, the process of cleaning, tidying and organizing was simplified.
Instead of throwing the things directly into the garbage, I chose to declutter responsibly i.e. sell, repurpose, recycle, give away and donate.
Despite having a simple organizing system I developed for my helper to maintain, I found out the system was breaking down. So, I took this time to audit my own system. Like every system’s flaws, it lacked maintenance, auditing and improvement.
I looked for ways to simplify and improve my organizing system. It wasn’t easy. So, I needed to do it section by section. For instance, my storeroom was in a huge mess. So, I didn’t organize the entire room because it would be too overwhelming for me. I chose one section which I wanted to organize first. The first thing I organized was the recycling bags. Every time I saw my neatly organized recycling bags, I would be happy to continue the organizing in other sections on subsequent days. Slowly, the storage room became more organized than before. Once I had finished organizing my storage room, I could see everything in its designated place making it easy to find, store, retrieve and put back.
That’s why I love organizing because the reward is immediate, and you can see it instantly.
With those repetitive chores, I automated them as much as I could. I had a washing machine and dryer to help me save time and effort on washing and drying clothes. I had a cooker, which partially helped me do the cooking. Dish washer and robotic vacuum cleaner, which can sweep and mop, are in my to-buy list. With more automation, I hope I can lighten my burden and get more time for other important activities.
Any chores which I felt could be outsourced, I outsourced them. I outsourced the cleaning to a part time cleaner. I got the part time cleaner to come clean my house for 2 full days. That way I could leave the cleaning to the cleaning expert while I focused on decluttering and organizing. As for picking the cleaner up, I outsourced it to the cleaner by asking her to use Grab to save me time in transporting her.
Lastly, after everything had been done, I just sat back, embraced the change and drank my favorite drink, coffee/peppermint tea.
Hi! I’m Josephine Yap and I’m a clutter liberation expert, a wife, a daughter, a homemaker, and a mom to my active triplet boys. I’m super passionate about decluttering. My wish is to share my decluttering journey so that everyone get inspired to reduce the clutter, make their life at home easier, and enjoy the comfort of their space at home with the people their love.