Horizontal Surfaces Are It!

I had concluded a few things about cleaning my home:

  1. There are two kinds of cleaning: maintenance and heavy cleaning.
  2. If I want to heavily clean the entire structure 2x a year I need a plan AND I need to do the maintenance cleaning too.
  3. If I don’t do both, every week, I’ll never make it.

Previously, I’d made lists which were the heavy duty cleaning for each room. Then I made the maintenance cleaning list. My “maintenance” cleaning had to be 3 items per room or less, 2 preferred.

In EVERY room of the house the 2 items ended up being the horizontal surfaces: table tops, etc. and the floors. They are:

  • Decluttering/straightening horizontal surfaces
  • Maintaining the floor

The extras added for high-use rooms are:

  • Dishes for the kitchen
  • Laundry for the laundry room
  • Glass on the wood stove for the hearth

My realistic expectation is that I can do all these chores once a week, at minimum. When I manage it, the house will be tidier and the floors will be cleaner than they are now.

If knowledge is power, I’m doing great!

Now, *all* I have to do is actually do it, that’s all!

If you don’t get why that might be a problem, see my post from yesterday.


On the other hand. . . because of writing this post, I swept the entry, stairs, hearth, and did more cleaning/culling on the kitchen counter. Took a load to the antique store too.

People Ask

me these days

  • Do I enjoy knitting?
  • Is the house clean yet? And, am I happy with it?

The answer is no to both. But that’s not specifically what I want to talk about.

There is a perception out there with PTSD ( or maybe other things too?) that if you do a certain amount of work, get to where you can undo a lot if not all of the consequences or symptoms of something — it’s gone.

Yes, I can knit now without a major anxiety attack. No, I don’t know what the trauma was. I did enough knitting last year that it no longer affects me like it did. However, that said, the anxiety does still come up on occasion.

Yes, the house is cleaner. Yes, the living room is mostly decorated. No, it isn’t “clean.” No, I don’t mange to maintain it consistently.

Habits are anathema for PTSD folks. Habits make you predictable and therefore vulnerable. I seem to have this more than a lot of people because of the triple whammy of being emotionally abused (you can’t win in a really dysfunctional situation, by definition) by an alcoholic (where the rules change all the time) and it starting so young. (I only remember a few days before the abuse, although that started when I was almost 4.)

Anyway, no, I’m not having anxiety attacks about either the knitting or the house, but my ability to work on either comes & goes. Why people think that at some point, you just finish the thing as if it’s not the hardest piece? I don’t know. Finishing something is harder for me than not doing it — it’s another whole level of being vulnerable.

There’s one of several reasons that I haven’t touched the memoir retype for months, hadn’t tried to knit for months, haven’t touched my office, etc. Doing a little knitting a little work on the living room, some dishes and other things is about all I can manage right now. If that seems completely ridiculous to you? Well, I’m sorry. You have your anxieties about whatever — I’ve got mine.

Healing isn’t a straight, even line for me. It comes & goes. I think my mind decides I’m going to do something — and I do it, for a while. Then my body kicks in and everything stops until my body decides the new thing is at least not a complete threat. Then I can pick it up again and push ahead.

People say things to me when I’m getting things done like, “You make me tired.” but you see, there are MONTHS where I get damned little done. I numb out, backslide, and hide. Then I get another spurt of productiveness and go like mad, as long as it lasts.

This cycle is irritating, but it’s how I get things done. If I plan to do x or y and z every day? Huh, that may last one day or maybe two — maybe.

Working on long-term projects this way is damned annoying and there doesn’t seem to be a “finish line” (no pun intended) — if I get something done 78%, then I’ll just finish it. It doesn’t work that way — I wish!

To Do List 12/5

  • Living Room: caulk & trim paint, as needed. Furniture is being replaced without a plan. Decide about coffee tables. Sell unused table. Add wall art. Bring down round coffee table. Maybe? Black & white rug: Finish up fabric strips.

to do list 1

Long Term: Trim piece against kitchen wall, window trim, stair rail. Replace interior trim on double window. Mod baseboards. Caulk/paint floor/baseboards. Move kitchen door? Replacement ladders for blinds. (http://www.fixmyblinds.com) Buy material, shorten the blinds. (Buy a miniblind used to play with to learn how before buying ladders.) Blue plaid project. Blanket project.

  • Hall: Replace smoke detector (future). Add corner detail on doors (future), caulk & touch up as needed. Sell the records, replace the cubes with the black table currently in living room.
  • Kitchen: Make plan without the Hoosiers and dismantle too-large counter. Install shelves where window used to be. Sell Hoosiers. Remove boxes from counter. Finish new window/shelf. Final paint on sidelight, new shelf. Remove crates on counter. Find new homes for the pieces stored there or sell/donate or discard.
  • Dining: Remove crib rail? Candlebra? Reuse the hanging baskets and/or rail elsewhere? Rehang cabinet. Paint drawer units? Paint china cabinet.
  • Laundry: (longterm) Get switch thing set up. Storage bins.
  • Attic:Decide what to sell. Get bookcases upstairs and bays built.
  • Office 1:Clear/clean counter & take it upstairs. Remove everything from bookcases move them.  Get sewing machine legs detached from base. Recycle, reuse, or dump. Put dresser in office. Stack on top of it (same size, and small) the 2nd dresser, currently in the storage. Red rug?
  • Entry: Caulk as needed.
  • Pantry: Add trim and final paint.

Cull/Clean (general): Take old window bits to dump. Put window trim in woodshed. Take stuff for sale to antique store or to storage so that it isn’t cluttering up the living room! Clothes & cloth need a serious culling!

  • Bathroom: Clean corners, window. Replace caulk as needed. Repaint room. Match trim to the rest of the house. If new gallon is enamel paint and not the flat, paint bathroom? Replace floor and sink and required wall upgrade.
  • Bedroom: (Cull/Clean) Get tapestry on stretchers. Quilt rehab. New: Start making pattern to reupholster chair.
  • Attic: Get the remaining  base cabinet from kitchen, after fridge rehab. Move the bookcases. Build bays.

Storage: Remove the 2nd Hoosier. (Base is in my  car, top piece also needs to be moved from the storage.) Move to smaller unit. Get the 2nd dresser home and bookcase donated/sold.

Get the windows done. SR door panel 27.5 x 64,

Get the online and computer files cleaned out. (Drafts here = 40 11/30 43 10/11, “Tally” page information (tab, this blog) moved to history 9/17.) Unsubscribed from 5 mailing lists. 11/30.

Wood stacking: 1 2 3 4

Writing:

  • Memoir retype effort: 62.5% complete (I’m amused that I seem to do this in 3% chunks. I’m not counting or anything, it’s just that the sections are short, and it’s difficult emotionally, especially the first 3rd, so I’ve been doing it until I felt like quitting, then I let myself stop.)
  • 3 stories into novel:  Worked a little on one of the stories, call it 07% 9/20
  • kitchen book: nothing new
  • possible future editing jobs: no good news

Other:

  • All-In-One Organizer: clean up & print
  • Make stickers/stamps
  • Books out, boxes?
  • Canister labels designed. Most supplies procured. Still to do: print labels and use! Various technical issues which need to be resolved:
    • My wordprocessor doesn’t have the right label template.
    • Avery doesn’t let you do a merge for their online template designer, etc.
    • Order the correct magnets. Make tutorial.
    • The simple answer would be to cover the labels with scrapbooking or other paper and print some clear labels to go over them. I may do that, or may not. My last step was always going to be putting clear shelf liner over the label to make it waterproof.

Cheap & Nonconsumer Holiday Season

My mom was a working mom. Because of that, for a few years, she was really broke and couldn’t buy into the whole consumer thing for her son (my older brother). She found ways to make it work.

At various times, for a lot of reasons, there have been periods when money was tight and a lot of stuff or spending a lot of money just wasn’t possible.

Given who we are, my husband and I, we have kept or discarded many of the usual “traditions” and do the following, not all of them, not all the time, but a mix and match as time and resources allow.

TREES & DECORATIONS:

  1. Buy your tree on Christmas Eve, they are usually 1/2 off.
  2. Or, if you have more space than money and can swing it, buy a good fake tree AFTER the holiday when they’re on sale, and use it forever after. You’ll save the gas, time, and money you’d have spent locating, buying, bringing home, and then discarding a tree.
  3. If you have land and the right sort of tree, then cut one of course!
  4. Make decorations and garland and keep them rather than buying glass or other fragile ornaments. Or, if you must buy them, get metal, plastic, wood or paper ornaments which will last, rather than fragile ones.
  5. Cut snowflakes for the tree from the end of last year’s wrapping paper, if you have any. We did that when I was a kid, but I don’t keep wrapping paper around any more.
  6. Make bead “icicles” (or buy permanent ones) rather than tinsel. Doesn’t take much room, costs less over time and there’s less waste.

TRADITIONS:

  1. Start traditions which are cheaper and less consumer oriented. The Aunt who hosts the largest family Christmas in our family has a “Yankee swap” where you gift a gag or nice gift, or several.
  2. Buying a tree on Christmas Eve fits here too.
  3. One year, DH was out of work. We just couldn’t afford to spend the $ we’d spent before making cookies etc. for the neighbors, so we made bread on Christmas Eve. Twenty plus years later, we’re still making bread. The recipe we make takes 1.5 hours start to finish and we’ve made up to 14 loaves on Christmas Eve,families with kids get 2 loaves, couples without kids get a single loaf. A fave memory of mine is going up and down the street with a bag of still-warm bread to give away on Christmas Eve. Everyone seems to like it and it costs us much less than the expensive cookies we used to make. (One of my acquaintances here made a large array of cookies every Christmas. She used the cheapest ingredients she could find — the cookies were awful. I refuse to do that. I’d rather make ONE cookie or something that’s decent than a plate full of unpalatable stuff.)
  4. Last year, I gifted my SIL, her husband and 2 kids with decorated cookie tins.  They aren’t all that large, but at my request, she sent the tins back to me after the holidays. During the year, I’ve put the little bits I found for everyone in their tin. Next week, I’ll mail them. It isn’t their large gift, but it’s a piece of it and it means that I don’t have to buy wrapping paper, boxes, and ribbons for these. I just have to tape them shut and put a tag on them. I might put ribbon on them, but that’s because I have a lot of ribbon and I’m trying to use it up.
  5. We put up the tree on Christmas Eve and take it down on New Year’s Eve. My family’s tradition was that we burned the tree in the fireplace on New Year’s. Since we heat with wood and the tree is almost always pine, we don’t do that. We adapted my family’s tradition: when we take down the tree, we cut a log off the bottom and tie a bow on it. It gets put in a bag and put away in the trunk with the ornaments. The following year on Christmas day, we burn the log. This costs us nothing but the space to store the log and it links us to our past in a nice way.

WRAPPING AND TAGS:

  1. Design your wrapping/gift tags to use (and use up) as much of what you already own as possible. I frequently use metallic or printed tissue for wrapping paper. It’s light, looks great over a layer of white tissue and it’s pretty cheap and takes little space to store.
  2. I’ve been whittling down my yarn/cord stash for some time with my Christmas wrapping. Last year I wrapped everything in black and white striped paper and then used a collection of blue, green and teal cords for “ribbon.” It worked. One year I used a ball or two of yarn I’d bought to make a sweater . You can, if you save them, make new tags out of last years’ Christmas cards. (I’m always afraid I’ll give the person back the card they sent me, so I’ve never done this.)
  3. Wax paper is great for making “snowy” cards.

Minimalism in Food Storage: refrigerator & freezer space

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/the-huge-chill-why-are-american-refrigerators-so-big/280275/

Because our big fridge broke earlier this year, we’ve learned to live with a 10 instead of 18 foot fridge. Having one copy of the 18′ refrigerator die three months or so after we bought it, we don’t have a lot of faith this one will keep working for long, after these repairs. We’re planning to replace it in the next year. We think we’ll buy a small, 8 foot or less fridge and perhaps a 10 foot or so convertible fridge/freezer.

We get produce from a farm, 6 months a year. The idea has always been that we’ll put aside food during the months we get farm food to help feed us the other 6 months. So our need for fresh and frozen food storage varies hugely.

The used commercial freezer we bought this year works, not as well as we’d like, and it’s a dedicated freezer. It should be nearly empty by winter’s end.

We have decided on counter depth units, as they’re shallower; there’s less space for food to “hide.”

We’re working on our minimalism. This includes making the best use of the farm food, something we haven’t managed.

  • The first year I had no idea how much food we’d get.
  • The second I tried but got overwhelmed.
  • This year I managed at the beginning of the season, but the fridge dying being fixed then dying and being fixed again and other factors made it impossible.

In the meantime, our 18′ 4 year-old fridge/freezer is working again and we’ll use it.

I like the idea of the underground fridge thing, but I think it would likely be expensive and impractical here. (Look for underground refrigerator, it’s a plastic bubble which is buried, with a walkway out of it.) I want a California closet (Not the brand of closet organizers but a form of unpowered food storage.). I would love a root cellar, but that’s not practical here.

We’ll see!

 

Stuff & Minimalism

If you can have a “capsule” wardrobe, stripped down to only the most basic items, can  you do the same for your home?

Why not?

The first answer which popped into my head was that you do more in your home than you do in a given piece of clothing, functionally anyway. Clothes you wear — that’s it. A home you sleep, read, eat, prepare food, garden, play, etc. If you take only 10 pieces of clothing (excluding underwear and outerwear) as your “limit” or 20 if you have winter like we do, then why not 10 items per verb in the list I just made?

So what do you need, minimum to sleep? (static: bed)  changing pieces: sheets (2) pillow, pillow case and blanket. Absolute minimum = 5 for one person, 1 pillow, for 2 people and two pillows, add 2 or 7. With real seasons, double it = 14

What do you need, minimum to read? A book or tablet, ideally, you don’t have to own any of these you can rent them or take them out of the library.

What do you need, minimum to eat? Food and utensils, as needed. If you think about it, you don’t need anything to eat a banana, but eating stew without utensils would be difficult! So, the answer for this one is that “it varies.” Not very successful in terms of trying to be minimalist.

I’m going to mull this notion over a bit.

I’m helping someone learn English. In doing so, I’ve been trying to find the language “short cuts” first. There aren’t many things in English which are always true, but some are. This is a working adult person, not a kid.

The living and stuff thing needs a similar approach. What are the things which are always true, that you always need? Do that FIRST.

We’ll see how it works out with stuff, here.

It seems to me that a beginning can be made by using Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, again. This:

maslow-pyramid

The bottom layer is what your home is about.

Food/eating, water/drinking, warmth and rest are at least some of those basics, so is security and safety. When you add the psychological needs things get more complex.

So, I’m going to make some assumptions:

  1. I’m only talking about STUFF here.
  2. That emotional reactions to STUFF aren’t part of the equation.
  3. The security here is physical security only.

Given those parameters, I’m off to write some notes and thoughts.

 

 

 

Thataway!

I read this short blog and really liked it! You might as well?

https://psycpost.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/7-habits-of-happy-people/

For a long, long time my goal was, “Stop hurting.” Certainly a worthwhile idea. But it seemed “greedy” to want to then be happy? Since I’ve managed the one, the other felt like just asking for way more than I should. This is an interesting notion on that topic. . . .

Teacup