Category Archives: Life Lessons

New Ideas About Cleaning

Aside from the PTSD, bad habits and panic attacks, as if that wasn’t enough, I’ve had one other major problem about cleaning up the house. No one ever taught me how! This means that no one ever showed me the “right” order to do things. I was taught at boarding school how to make a bed, clean a toilet or trash can, but not how to make a schedule or plan to cover the basics, regularly.

And, I admit, that doing anything regularly wouldn’t have happened anyway, because of the panic attacks. Cleaning is like writing a novel or any other longer piece, you have to keep slogging away at it I’ve found. Difficult for me, if not impossible for much of my life.

That said, I have discovered a few things:

  1. Always clean more than you have to. That is, if the dishes are done and you have 1 item in the sink, find a candlestick or decorative something to clean too. This also applies to sweeping the kitchen, putting clothes away, whatever. Especially if the chores aren’t involved or big, add something minor. Cleaning the bath counter? Wipe down the box on the shelf, etc. etc. etc.
  2. Hard surfaces, impervious to water are the easiest to clean; where soft surfaces, which absorb water are the hardest.
  3. Clean the areas used the most more than others.
  4. Clean the most obvious areas first. (I have [had?] a tendency to clean closets and drawers when the urge to clean hit me. Before I realized the clutter was what I needed to feel safe, it was dumbfounding to me that I could spend a whole day cleaning and you couldn’t tell. This is, of course, backwards from the way most people work. And that’s the reason why those “toss this” lists really didn’t work for me.
  5. Find whatever works for you and run with it. I spent DECADES trying to use flylady or other cleaning plans, and couldn’t.  This caused more of the internal I’m stupid, flawed, and just screwed up mantra.  I figured “Of course this doesn’t work for me and it does for Mary or Jo. It’s me after all.” I finally accepted that I couldn’t adopt someone else’s plans, I had to come up with my own — in my 60s!
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Holding Pattern

I looked around this morning, trying to figure out what to do, cull or clean? I realized that many of the larger pieces of clutter are in a holding pattern: a bench, a typing table, the paper shredder, TV trays, etc.

These were displaced by some piece of work (cleaning, culling, redecorating, construction) and now have nowhere to go — and so they became bigger pieces of clutter.

It’s all well and good to cull some area, but if you have nowhere to put the culled pieces, it just moves the clutter, instead of eliminating it.

My plan is to get into the attic and see if I have room to store any of these. I also need to move the trunk which has needed to go into the attic for some time.

Yesterday I bought 4 things: a sweatshirt, a basket, a sifter, and a glass container. The sweatshirt is for DH, if he’ll use it, otherwise it’s for resale, it’s a name brand and in really good shape, but an XXL! The sifter and basket were bought for resale, the glass container I think I have a use for, if not, it will be put up for sale. I also stopped at the book bin and 5 of the books which were culled from the booth last week got donated.

This morning I pulled out the smallest of the nesting wrought iron tables in the hall. With a rug underneath it and a similar one in the hall, it makes a fine shoe rest. I really need a boot tray, but I’m unsure if they make them the right size.  With placing another of these small Ikea rugs in the entry, they’re all being used. (I’d gotten them for the stairs and needed 1-2 more . . . .)

The small wrought iron table (from the hall) joins the bench, etc. which need to be put into the attic. Obviously, that should be my next job.

I made soup for lunch and started a batch of stock, but the water burned out of the stock pan unnoticed, and at the moment the house reeks of burnt food, sigh. It isn’t frugal to throw food away, but that’s exactly what will happen to this black, charred mess. Expensive trash!

I’m off.

J

Wrought iron table, Danish bench, 2 TV tables, some of the extra fridge bins all into the attic!

Friday’s Five, Actually, It’s 12!

Here’s my new list of things to do today:

  1. Tidy needlework supplies and equipment.
  2. Find a new home for the puzzles (displaced when the Hoosier was sent for sale). Done 6:00 p.m.
  3. Put away summer weight coats. (It’s the first day of fall, yes?)
  4. Dust a shelf in the office.10:47 a.m.
  5. Box  yard sale items up for the last sale or put in the dump bin (to donate).11:30 a.m.

What’s left from earlier this week:

  1. Deal with mail
  2. Work on the wood piles (also on the to do list).
  3. Update grain storage: review/cull, clean containers, etc. A tiny piece of this was done as part of clearing the kitchen counter. Weds. 10 a.m.
  4. Prep for the Christmas ornaments I’m making. Finished Friday. Now all I have to do is finalize the assembly!
  5. Dust the stained glass. Done 11:40 Friday
  6. Finish the salsa started Thursday.It was finished, except a small amount needed a container. Done! Friday 11:14
  7. Work on the house notebook.

 

 

 

 

Thursday’s Five, no Eleven

Here’s what’s outstanding from earlier in the week: (I had forgotten the last two when I made this list, but did the vacuuming and couldn’t find it on the list, and searched til I tracked it down. I had dropped two items from Monday’s list, the last two just below.)

  1. Deal with mail
  2. Work on the wood piles (also on the to do list).
  3. Update grain storage: review/cull, clean containers, etc. A tiny piece of this was done as part of clearing the kitchen counter. Weds. 10 a.m.
  4. Prep for the Christmas ornaments I’m making. Started Friday 10:15, requires more work than I thought!
  5. Finish the cull/storage of food from last week’s farm trip.  Finished: onions and tomatoes Wednesday. Peppers and tomatillos finished Thursday a.m.
  6. Vac. under the bed. Done Thursday 8:11 p.m.
  7. Dust the stained glass.

Of these, the most time-sensitive is dealing with the food. If I start a large batch of green salsa, that will take care of most of it. Three small bowls of tomatillos salted, first step for salsa as of 10:30 a.m. 

The fastest will be do deal with the mail. There’s not a lot hanging around, as I tend to do it as soon as it comes in the door. What I do have is the backlog from days gone by. . . .

Here’s Thursdays’ new five, well four. (There’s a reason this isn’t a cheat, but I’m not going to explain just now.)

  1. Clear/clean a dish cabinet shelf Friday 9:40 a.m.
  2. Clear/clean a freezer shelf  Done! 9:40 a.m.
  3. Work on the house notebook
  4. Clear/clean a silverware tray or drawer Friday 9:50 a.m.

Hopefully, this will give me a chance to get maybe one more of the back items finished.

My experience earlier this week has affected how I designated today’s work. Instead of mandating that I clean the dish cabinet, I’ve limited it to one shelf. Same with the freezer and silverware trays/drawers. Hopefully, this will cut the chore time to the 15 minutes or less it’s supposed to be, instead of starting chores which require hours to finish, as I did at the beginning of the week!

That said, this is farm day. The farm is 1.75 hours away. The work there takes about 2 hours, and it’s 1.75 hours back. In other words, farm day from start to finish (the cloth bags I use are in the laundry now) takes about 8 hours: prepping, transportation, food gather and storage. And of course, none of it includes cleaning shelves, drawers or working on a notebook!

So, I expect to be even more behind, even with only 4 items to do tonight, because farm day wipes me out.

Other news: the book rack sold — hurrah! On the not so great side: they’re working on the street in front of the antique store, my sales will be accordingly much smaller — rats!

 

 

Blind

I just looked at a graphic which is about the 7 things you need to do for your “vision board.” I have NEVER been able to do one of these. I made a brief list of where I’m trying to go:

  • House: no more culling required.
  • Writing: projects finished
  • Job: make $.
  • Debt: gone.

I have no other goals. I have no pressing need to become someone else, create something others want, etc. I suppose that after 50+ years of trying to do something I eventually did, that is learn to deal (mostly) with the PTSD and the pain associated with it, the rest is anticlimactic.

I’d like to be DONE with the long-term projects: writing, house culling of stuff, and I’d like us to be debt-free because I worry about our retirement.

All that said? Do I have other things I’d like to do?

Yes:

  • I’d like to sell my crafts, more I’d like to sell articles about doing crafts, so that I don’t have to keep hauling STUFF to shows to try to convince someone to buy whatever.
  • There’s some math things I’d like to play with.
  • I’d like to do the tutorials I’ve had in mind: wood stack, using my cleaning plan, etc.
  • I’d like to learn how to control my body so I can lessen as much as possible the effects of being anxiety-ridden from the PTSD.

Except for the 3rd one, they’re “pie in the sky” and I won’t be depressed or see myself as a failure if I don’t do any of them.

I know where I’m going and I believe that (eventually) I can get there. Why find another person’s image which is likely to not be very close and put it on paper? What’s the point?

I know people I respect who make vision boards.Maybe I’m different? Fighting to see myself as basically not a bad person for 50 some odd years and then getting there makes a lot of things others get bent about pretty unimportant.

That said? I wish I could do a vision board even for this much. But it seems silly to even try.

 

 

 

Saving $$$

Because of the new porch and wanting to pay off the loan we got ASAP,  I’ve been looking for ways to save money.

Usually, this means that I find a lot of sites/data that I already know. However, pleasantly enough, I found one this morning which had info. new to me!

(here)

I get aarp’s emails regularly and from them and other sites, most of the ideas are those I know and have used for years:

  • Drink water at restaurants
  • DIY morning coffee/snack
  • Cook at home, from scratch
  • etc.

The saving $ ideas of mine which I’ve never seen elsewhere:

  • Buy the most concentrated form of soaps, or anything else that you can. If you use it with water, you can add it yourself.
  • Buy unscented products rather than buying “his” and “her” products.
  • Use tank tops as underwear, flipflops as slippers during the winter and other such so that you can buy less stuff to start with.
  • Have a set budget for restaurant meals and plan to eat at least one other set of meals from it, whenever possible. (Our budget for 2 adults = $20, and the 2nd meals make that $5/per meal, still expensive, but a lot more affordable than it might be!)
  • Shop your fridge/pantry and use what needs using first instead of sticking with a meal plan.
  • Use a chamois to “mop up” steam from glass and metal shower/bath rather than using glass or chrome cleaners. The steam is a free by product of bathing, use it!
  • Use “snow” from your freezer as sweeping compound to clean your hard floors.

Not unique to me:

  • Buy in bulk when you can afford to, items are on sale, and you have the space.
  • Have a price book.
  • Share and borrow, as needed.

 

 

dollar sign from zazzle.com

Been Working on the “Temporary” Drains

from the construction site. They and the rough grading of the land around the new patio are done. Supposedly we’re getting a new batch of soil from the contractor. Thought that would arrive today, it didn’t. It did get here and was used. The “temporary” drains became possibly permanent — we’ll see next spring!

Not sure what’s up with the contractor? He was going to come by with a load for the dump today too and add some stuff here to it. Haven’t seen him, dump closes in 15 minutes or so, so obviously, if he was going to add our stuff, he isn’t now. We had a sort of “fight” this morning, no one raised their voice or even disagreed, but things got tense and DH sent an email which essentially said, “finish these pieces and we’re done.” Before that the contractor and I had talked and exchanged texts about the soil and dump. So I have no idea wtf will happen. We’ll get the soil/not? He’ll show up Sat. to take the stuff to the dump/not? He’ll finish the pieces DH asked for/not?

I have no idea.

There was a piece of the work which we’d all talked about, in detail. How to do it, when to do it, etc. We bought all the materials for it, weeks ago. He’s been running on money we gave him 2 week ago, so we knew he’d used it up and expected something like, “Look, this is taking longer than I expected, can you give me $$$ more?” What I got told this morning was that “it wasn’t in the contract.”

Hm. No, but if you couldn’t do it and if you asked for more money instead of being defensive about it, I probably would have dug into the money market or retirement or deep savings to pay you. I’m reasonable. But to leave a chunk o’ work to the end then say, “it isn’t in my contract,” just annoyed us. It wasn’t that you needed more $ to do the work. It wasn’t that at all, it was the way you handled it. And, if you knew that you couldn’t do it, why not say something two weeks ago or more? Additionally, there are things which got done which we didn’t need or even necessarily want done, and there’s some pieces which are just unfinished.

This person is also a neighbor of ours, which makes the entire mess a whole lot more complicated.

Sigh. I wish we’d just gotten the back roof done, period. The first roof, with the same person running the show was easy. And that’s the only reason we let ourselves get involved in this much more complex and expensive venture. Never again.

We will in the future use Angie’s List, ask for complete estimates and get everything written. And no, we won’t work with friends, again. I learned that lesson years ago, I  just learned it again.

(The “cat snarl” tag is because it’s how this feels: like a snarl of yarn a cat’s been into!)