Category Archives: cleaning

Back to Work

It’s Monday, and despite wtf the calendar says, to ME it’s the beginning of the week. That means I am all full of resolutions, plans, & more ideas of things I should do than I can possibly do in the next 5 days,

So, we’ll see.

It occurred to me yesterday that I had not posted a “to do” list in some time. I’ll post it and make comments below. If/when I finish tasks this week, I’ll mark those too. This to do list is a cut/paste/edit from 3/20, so yes indeed, it has been some time!

to do list 1

 

Get at least one piece of one item off of the long-term list!

SHORT TERM:

  • Replace the north/south doors. (They’ve been ordered, will be delivered tomorrow.)
  • Do more prep before the doors are delivered. Tues.
  • Work on the housework book. Tues.
  • Work on the websites.
  • Denail, clean, prime & paint the removed clapboards from the laundry wall where the new door will be installed. Friday

MEDIUM TERM: (in the next 2-3 weeks)

  • Empty the old coffee table full o’ stuff in the hallway.
  • Resolve the “too many” coffee tables dilemma.
  • Remove the “island” of boxes of stuff from the attic. Sell, donate, or trash enough that the floor can stay cleared.
  • Put food away for winter.
  • The fridge freezer needs to be organized and purged.
  • Clean the fridge’s shelves.
  • Paint the laundry room, inside and out.
  • Paint the bathroom.
  • Get the new shower curtain liner painted and installed.
  • Get through some of the accounting backlog. Weds.

LONG TERM & ONGOING:

  • Get a job.
  • Pay off the equity line.
  • Continue to use up the stored foods: grains, beans, pasta, etc. (The canned goods purge the end of last year beginning of this year worked.)
  • Rebuild the winter pantry.
  • Writing Projects: Memoir worked on the formatting issues Thurs.
  • Writing Projects: Article
  • Writing Projects: Kitchen Book
  • Writing Projects: Novel

 

 

 

 

My Methods

am decluttering/dehoarding the house, a bit at a time. I am changing my ways, although I can’t show anyone a habit tracker with lots of little checkmarks indicating things get done day in and day out.

That said, I have learned a few things about what works for me. I realized that because I’d never really been taught how to clean a house (the housekeeper not only was abusive, but she was also lazy and inefficient) or maintain it. I can read books and lists all I want, but there is a kind of natural pattern which I found which works for me. On the good days, this is what I do:

  1. Get out of bed, turn back the covers.
  2. Go down, get coffee, while it’s heating (if it needs it) I wash or rinse whatever is in the sink or wipe down the sink counter, depending.
  3. Go to office, get email, finish coffee. [Future piece to add to this is to straighten the desk or an area in the office.]
  4. First trip to bathroom, drop denture cleaner tabs in toilet (we have a lot of iron in our water, this helps keep the iron munge down). Wipe down bath sink first time sink is used.
  5. When I return to the kitchen for the 2nd cup of coffee, put away dishes or wash/rinse more, depending again.
  6. By this time I’m usually actually awake. If I remember, this is when I’m supposed to make the bed. (Making the bed is the newest piece I’m adding to this routine; not there yet!)

What I know about myself and shows in the list is that I hate “just” cleaning something. I want to do the maintenance cleaning while I’m doing something else: getting coffee, using the sink, getting my email, whatever. Ideally, I’d never do maintenance cleaning as a “chore” by itself, but it would be done along with something else: the prep dishes washed or soaked while dinner was being made or served is another goal.

I haven’t figured out how to add floor cleaning yet. I have routines for cleaning mirrors, bathroom chrome, and many other items, but some are still in process.

Seems like a PITA? Yes, it might be to someone else, but because setting out to “clean” something as a goal for decades pushed on the PTSD, I had to find other ways to approach the issue, and this works. I can add the little bits of maintenance cleaning to the things I do every day: getting coffee, getting out of bed, using the bathroom, etc. I can’t decide I’m going to clean for an hour between 9 and 10 a.m.!

 

Getting It Gone

Since last summer, I’ve sold our old dining room table, the bookcase which was in the hall, the oak stand which was in the entry and one of two Hoosier cabinets. Still to sell: a double dresser, a marble/wrought iron table, at least one coffee table.

I acquired on a sale rack at a home center not too long ago two jars of paint in “modern finish” (high gloss) in black and white. I also got a high gloss liquid wax which does the same thing, but it’s clear. This morning I cleaned the black strap steel shelves in the hall then lightly coated them with some of the black paint to spiff them up. I didn’t “paint’ them, I used the paint as a “buff.” Worked. It was what I had in mind when I acquired the paint. Black metal looks dingy after a while and cleaning it doesn’t get it looking as good as I’d like.  In the process, a lot of things were put in the car to go to the antique store.

Yesterday I started cleaning out the shed; we both worked on it in the evening. There’s a lot less stuff in there (much of it is in the car for the booth) and we generated 2 bags of trash. If the roof project was finished, we would have set up the bagster we got a while back. That will happen soon.

There is still the storage IN the shed: all the items on the 2 platforms (it’s like a bunk bed) and two shelf units. When we get those cleaned out/cleared/modded and then the stuff we’re keeping stored the way we have planned, the shed will be much more efficient and easier to use!

Today

They’re putting the new rafters in place. I’m cleaning out the shed.

There are a few obvious “go to the dump” pieces: a broken-down particle board bookcase I bought when I had the store. The ones which were put together were disposed of long, long ago. This pile of boards has been in the shed since something like 2001! It’s going today.

When we bought the house, the kitchen lights were fluorescents with a plastic grid hiding them. One of those grids (or more?) are in the shed too. I don’t know how long the grid has been in the shed, but we’ve had the house > 20 years now, so the thing has been in our space at least that long. It could have been an extra stored in the shed when we bought the place, or it could have been moved there when we replaced the lights. I don’t know — and I don’t care. It’s going away.

About 5 (?) years ago, at auction, we bought 2 single-pane sidelights. We have the better of the two installed in the new kitchen wall. (Partially replacing the two windows we removed from there last summer.)  I had the idea we might use the 2nd sidelight on the shed itself, but this morning DH said to get rid of it, so it’s going!

ingrid-catlin-too-much-stuff

At one point the contractor asked if we had any 8 penny nails? I didn’t know, but there was a peanut butter jar with a few huge (he said they were 10 penny nails) in it and I gave it to him. Told him NOT to return the jar or any he didn’t use. One more item gone!

I need to get back to the shed clean out so I can actually FINISH today, preferably this morning. (I’d like to go to the antique store this afternoon and maybe run a few errands too!)

Mundane, necessary, and productive: my day so far. Not too bad!

I won’t get this done this morning. For one thing, it’s noon. For another, the dump doesn’t open ’til 1:00!

REAL Zero Waste

Because it’s summer, we’ve been using our freezers a lot. We have a small, non-defrosting freezer we bought as a back up when the fridge was dying/not dying the second time. The long-term plan has always been to get rid of it, probably next year.

That said, one way we work to keep it more energy efficient (and less of a PITA) is that we keep an ice scraper in it and when the door is opened, we scrape off some of the extra “snow.”

I debated what to do with this and found a solution. I toss it on the ground, push it around and use is as a sweeping compound. It picks up the dirt, leaves a very slight skim of water on the wood floor and when it’s dirty gets tossed into the garden. Water + dirt, and that’s it. No soap, no extra cost, no extra power used, nada.

I had used snow as a sweeping compound on the concrete floor of the bookstore, but it never occurred to me that I could partially defrost the freezer AND do this mid-summer!

I wish I could find 100 things like this, but 1 counts ‘eh?

J

More Work: Tues & Weds

More was done on the roof and new patio on both Tuesday and Wednesday. This makes doing extensive things in the house awkward, but not impossible.

Tuesday:

I bought a bookcase last Friday. It’s shallow (12″) but long (48″) and wonderfully, it has 5 cubbies, 3 of which fit my notebook boxes. Hurrah!

Because of the new bookcase, yesterday I cleared and cleaned most of the space between the jelly cabinet and the end of the stairs, along the stair rail wall. (It’s cutaway to let heat from the woodstove migrate upstairs in winter.)  Anyway, I removed the 3 bookcase boxes from that wall, cleaned things, sorted the books, etc. into “outs” and “keeps” and put the new bookcase into place along that wall with the only one bookcase box and the short bookcase box on top (it had been on top of 2 larger bookcase boxes). The decorative stuff and the CDs and field guides which live in the short bookcase box have been replaced. I need to refill the bookcase with “keeps” from the sort and box up the “outs” so that they can be further sorted into “try to sell” and “donations.”

The donations get donated ASAP, the others will be put up for sale for a limited time. If they sell? Great! If not? They become donations. I am only keeping expensive or signed books these days for possible future sale. Regular books < $20 aren’t worth my time any more. . . .

Anyway, that’s the next step for the house culling.

Otherwise I have to remove everything from the new cap for those drawer units so DH can make a riser to go under it and the top drawers will move again. Then the top will be replaced, and the bookcase will be empty! The milk crates will be put to use in my office and the bookcase will (hopefully) be put into the attic fairly quickly. (If you’re keeping count, the bookcase will be the 3rd piece (the others are one bookcase box from the living room and the trunk) waiting to go into the attic.

Clearing out the attic has become a priority! So I will work on it and my office a bit more today.

This morning I worked on the compost heaps. I need to distribute the compost from the old heap into the vegetable garden and EMPTY the bin. I have 3 pallets made into a U shape which form the original bin. After way too long, I now have two more pallets to add, so  it will be W shape instead! I need to buy the pieces I use to anchor the pallets. I don’t have any just now. When I get the second leg added, the structure will be complete. There’s a “yard” attached too, for a leaf pile. Right now, that is holding the 2nd (current) compost heap and the leaf pile is a mess piled up on the side. I want to make this a LOT neater!

I used the wood ash pile up this morning too. Then used a layer off the old compost pile. The effort to make the new pile, use up the old pile, and neaten up the leaf pile(s) is going to take time and a few sessions of working on it.

It just started to rain here, again, so it’s possible that no more work will be possible until tomorrow. If it dries out? Great! If not, well, tomorrow I guess.

What I really, really wanted to do late this morning on the attic effort was haul everything from the “island” in the middle of the attic out onto the lawn so that it could be sorted into culls and keeps. The culls could either go to the storage, the dump (Weds.) or antique store.

Sigh. I do not have a “good” Plan B. It’s approx. 11:30, I guess Plan B is to have an early lunch and then examine the stuff in the attic and see what I can do otherwise.

Wednesday:

They brought the posts over which will support the new piece of the roof, this is going to be real sometime soon — or so it appears!

Aside from that I spent a lot of Wednesday processing the end of last week’s produce so that the new batch I’ll get tomorrow will go into a mostly cleared out fridge.

Did 3 loads of laundry, the laundry is finally starting to get caught up. Hurrah!

Did 3 loads of dishes too, and DH did some. If I wasn’t chopping, etc. food thru the day the kitchen would be clean, but it isn’t, because things get used as fast as other pieces get washed and put away. Oh well.

Did a dump run this afternoon. DH and I did another this evening. The sheets got changed on the bed. Fourth load of wash in the machine, 3rd load in the dryer.

Lots of work getting done around here. I think I should get another job, I might be less busy!

Next Steps

So, it’s supposed to rain this afternoon, delaying the roof/patio project.

walking

Here’s what’s new:

  1. Worked on the attic. Pulled out 6 citronella candles which we’ll use on the porch if and when.
  2. With help from DH stacked the drawer units in my office and got a top made for it. Needs to come down because of something we didn’t expect to be a problem, one more time, but at the moment, the drawer units have a top, there’s a “hole” in my office, the bookshelf I’m trying to empty has 2 empty shelves (on the stack and in the drawers).
  3. A box of books was removed from the office yesterday and went to the flea market/antique store as was 3 rolls of wallpaper, which sold. There are 2 more boxes of books to remove from my office (well there’s more than that, but there’s 2 more egg boxes).
  4. The attic got worked on Saturday. There’s enough room for the trunk in the kitchen to be put away there. I looked at things and decided I wanted to keep the trunk for sale (now in the storage) and take another to the dump, it’s in the worst shape and is currently full of mildewing clothes.(Ick!)
  5. For a long time we’ve kept empty boxes for big ticket items. We’ve decided we’re going to limit this, which is good, as it’s just storing air, yes?
  6. In the process of working on the trunks, I discovered why the Christmas cull was so easy last December (see here) there were TWO trunks of the stuff in the attic I didn’t touch, sigh. I’m not culling them right now. I have an “island” of stuff to get through in the middle of the attic first. After that, I’ll cull the things along the sides.
  7. That said, I’ve already talked about the fact that I needed to cull china. I did. I need to do it again, probably at least 2 more times. There are pieces I’m not sure where they are. There are pieces which I don’t know if they’re really only the 2nd copy or the 5th? There’s at least 2 boxes of china, glass, and other kitchen stuff unaccounted for. When the missing pieces have been located, or given up as lost forever,  then I’ll do another china/glass kitchen cull. For example, the piece of furniture I call my “china cabinet” at the moment has < 10 items in it, not a single piece of china. Still too much in flux to do more than a really minor culling!
  8. I have books in my car to give away. They were supposed to be gone last week, but didn’t make it because the car has been full of flea market stuff and the house has been chaos because of people working on the roof. I gave a magazine away yesterday, but that’s pretty much it.