Tag Archives: cleaning tricks

Going to the Other Side

This blog was started to track my attempts at dehoarding. And, although I can’t say that I’ve completed that goal, in many ways, I have.

DH got sick in August this year. He seemed to be wasting away in front of me and I expected him to die this winter, if not before, as he seemed to be getting weaker, daily. It was awful. There appeared to be nothing I could do. In an attempt to flip the negative into a positive and because I had to do something, I started to clean the house. My idea was that whatever it was which was making him sick, it wouldn’t be the house.

So I started cleaning, daily. I vac’d, washed dishes and kept up with them, etc. The house started to emerge from the clutter and I didn’t panic — I couldn’t — I was already in full panic mode there was no room left! All the panicky energy went into cleaning and trying to cook tasty food he could eat. (He was having a hard time swallowing too.)

Okay, so things got better. I stopped cleaning compulsively. But something was still different — the clean spots stayed cleaner — and no panic.

The panic and panic attacks have been, for decades, what stopped me. It’s damned hard, maybe impossible, to stop yourself in the midst of a panic attack and get yourself to realize that it’s just nonsense.

After I stopped compulsively cleaning, nothing happened. I realized I was waiting, again, for the other shoe to drop. It didn’t. So, I’ve been cleaning again, because of the new wood stove — and more of the house is emerging.

Yesterday I worked on the living room, set up a bookcase, filled it, came up with a pile of stuff to go away, went through some papers. Started off the day energized and psyched ( l love the new hearth we built and the new stove) but I was bummed by last night.

Couldn’t figure out why? No energy to work on things at all. Looked at the clutter, stuff littering every surface from pulling things out to clean them and felt worse. Worse? The clutter makes me feel worse? I’ve lived with so much clutter for so long it has been NORMAL. So I tidied what I could. put things in boxes, straightened piles, etc. and realized I felt better again but I was tired.

The world sure is different these days!

I have been also noticing my OCD side starting to come out . After months of looking, I finally found a black metal small dust pan. No big deal you say? I couldn’t clean inside the wood box with the old aluminum one, so I wanted another. Found it. Got it home and waxed it. Use it, clean it out with a rag and every now and then (not daily) I wax it again. Apparently, my OCD at least at first is emerging as being a fiend for cleaning tools after they’re used. I’ll take that as a compulsion with no apologies! So, I’m already going to the other side, somewhat. DH and I have been laughing about my emerging OCD. Hopefully, it won’t ever get to where it’s truly a PITA, but we’ll see!

Starting Phase II, again

It’s obvious that indeed the four basic items have become habit. I decided absolutely this was true last night, when in sub-zero temps, after a warm bath, I went downstairs to wash dishes before going to bed. Previously, nothing short of having a gun pointed at me could have induced me to go into the coldest part of our house to wash dishes at 2 a.m., much less when it was -0 degrees outside!

So Phase II needs to start. When I’d tried this the first time, I panicked, again. The most urgent item on the Phase II list (walls, windows, doors, floors, and ceilings) is floors.

Figuring out how much/how many things I have to do is what caused the panic last time. I think I just need to start cleaning at least one floor a day. If that works for 30 days, I’ll add something else.

We’ll see how this goes!



Let’s see. What’s new with me is that I have beat the shame and got the PTSD under control. So, is my house clean?

Well, no. Cleaner, yes. Clean? Not yet. I still have safety issues to deal with. I’m certain they’re related to the PTSD. I have been doing my “surface cleaning” thing since the end of July. As I said, the house is cleaner, if not exactly clean. I figured out not too long ago that my problem wasn’t being disorganized or unwilling to clean, it’s just that there’s too much stuff here, still!

And although I find it frustrating when I can’t find a book I know I own, I’m still reluctant to purge stuff. Why, I’m not sure. Doesn’t matter. We have company coming for brunch on Sunday. I want my house clean. These are folks who know us, if the house won’t pass a white glove inspection (it won’t) or it’s cluttered, that’s not going to change their mind about us. I know that. Still, I’ve been whacking away at cleaning the house for the past two weeks, off and on.

The first few days were easy. But for some reason cleaning the big rooms is harder? Don’t know why. I’ll figure it out. Maybe because it’s hard to see the end in a quick bite? Like I said, I don’t know.

The only big cleaning revelation I’ve had in the past week or so is realizing that I purely HATE doing large loads of dishes after I eat. I want to sit and relax. So, the answer is to take the time (and there’s almost always some) when things are cooking and do most of the dishes and clean up then. Then after eating all I have to do is wipe down counters and wash the few dishes we ate from, and I don’t mind that so much I won’t do it. This means the kitchen is staying cleaner, longer. Yay!!!

The data that filter down this way are few and far between. I wish this process was faster, but then I wish most of my healing was faster too.

So I’m working on it! More to do, more to do, more . . . . (repeat, for a very long time).


A Square Notepad

it came off of something or other , I don’t remember. Anyway, it occurred to me that it might be the perfect low/no stress “to do” list? Filled, it will take only about six items.

Right now, those are:

  • trash cans (they got washed outside, need to be brought in),
  • limes (make syrup),
  • rug (next piece of that work),
  • laundry room (background cleaning, where the rug is going to go),
  • start memoir clean up (due for delivery to editor in 2-3 weeks) and
  • laundry.

That list is more than enough. I’ll divide the tasks based on how long/how much of me or how many resources are required to finish them, as below:

ONE SHOT/5 MIN: (tier one, unless overwhelming in number, do these 1st or 2nd): trash cans


SIMULANTEOUS: (tier two, do concurrently with other tasks, do this  1st or 2nd as needed swap w/ 5 min tasks): laundry


MORE INVOLVED: (tier three, longer tasks, can be completed in one smaller chunk of time, can be put off usually, if req’d): lime syrup


INVOLVED/NOT GOING TO FINISH: (tier four, longer tasks, a piece can be completed, but will not be finished today): laundry room, rug, memoir

What is realistically likely to happen is that I’ll bring in some of the trash cans, then work on the garden a little since I’m outside (not on the list), then come in and start some another task, maybe on the list, maybe not.

In order to get some of these done, I can “trick” myself or back myself into a corner: I strip the bed, for example and haul the sheets down to the laundry room. The problem here is that I’m starting to get stressed about the “shoulds” and “have tos” when the point is to find ways to do this stuff that doesn’t involve stress!

I wish frequently that I was just a different person! I know people who do this stuff and other tasks simply because 1) they can’t stand to live otherwise or 2)they really enjoy the result. They don’t have the judgement pass/fail thing that runs through (even still) everything I do.

I can approach that 6 item list with no stress. I can even enjoy thinking about how I might do things as above? But then it suddenly transforms into something nasty and all the old crapola surfaces.

The cleaning idea has been working. I am mostly doing the 4 items a day: dishes, kitchen counter, toilet, bath sink. I do them once or many times during the day, I do them however well or badly. Sometimes I don’t do all of them, but mostly I do. I can handle that without the judgements. I suppose that I just have to take the success I’ve gotten, be grateful for it and try to add to it a bit at a time, as I can?

It’s just bizarre, but I’m undoing brainwashing, fighting a fight-flight response, I guess it takes time and patience, although it seems like it should be easy!

I have to say that I hate

most cleaning schedules I find. They assign tasks to a given day, week or month. I don’t want to do that, there’s too much stress when I get behind. Then I can’t catch up, so I quit  altogether.

My new schedule has only 4 things I need to do daily. The rest are weekly, monthly, quarterly, every now and then, or whatever is appropriate for the task. If I don’t get to something in a given day or week, I just do it the next time. Because there’s no hard & fast rules about what has to be done on a given day,  I’m actually doing it, or more so than any other cleaning schedule I’ve ever tried. I like looking at what has/hasn’t been done and picking one to do.

Most cleaning schedules to me feel like a guilt list — I know I won’t do them, so it’s just a list of what I’ll feel guilty about, later. This way I don’t have that!

Maybe this means I have no discipline, but mostly I think it means I’ve had bad habits. 😀

I learned a long time ago to use what works for me, and it’s working!

Do you have a cleaning schedule?

I’ve decided I need a new one, one that reduces my stress about cleaning as much as possible. I’m looking for ideas, techniques, etc. I have read the Aslett books, know about Flylady, etc.

If it’s something your family does and you’ve never heard of anyone else who set up their cleaning that way or it’s an unusual technique, tool or schedule — I’d be very interested in hearing about it.

Talk to me!

New Habits

Okay. I’ve gotten to where I’m vacuuming or sweeping daily. Our downstairs is a hard floor, upstairs a carpet. So I’m spending 10 mins or so, daily, doing that.

I’d rather NOT do fire drill cleaning — like spring cleaning — ever. I actually like my daily clean the floor routine. It’s easy, takes not that long, and it makes me feel good. It doesn’t feel oppressive, just like a worthwhile chore — all good. So, how do I apply that idea to the other cleaning?

I’m not sure, but I’m “thunking” on it, obviously, as this is the 2nd post I’ve written about this. Sorry for the repetition!

I’ll post the first tally for July later today.

Stuck in Suzy Homemaker mode — that’s me!