Tag Archives: cleaning

After 5 Days

Cleaning up and Clearing every day? There is still too much stuff here. Still it isn’t as clean as I’d like.

So, I think I’ll ask some folks over for a meal this week and see if I can’t get through another spate of culling and cleaning beforehand? I have plans over the weekend, which makes this idea more difficult.

We’ll see?

By Friday last week I was pretty well burnt out. I spent 5 days intensely cleaning and culling, six if you count the flea market on Saturday and the purge after that. Then just cleaning Sunday – Thursday, and by Friday I really didn’t want to do anything more at all.

This past Saturday (2 days ago) we didn’t do as well at the flea market as we had the first week, but we still did it AND donated a batch o’ stuff to the Salvation Army afterwards.  Then I stopped at the market and bought the groceries for our lunch company the next day.

Sunday DH did a dump run early, which was good: the bins were full, there were 2 bags of garbage (our usual is 1) and things to donate.

 

Trying to Avoid Becoming a Clean-Freak Minimalist

I have a tendency, and have since I was a kid. I go from one extreme to the other, then find the happy medium. I’m trying to avoid that with transforming from being a hoarder.

book hoarder

I worked more on the cleaning plan today and “discovered” some new ideas: mostly, that the more often you use something, the more frequently it needs to be cleaned and/or maintained. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

But because I’ve never seriously “let” myself think about cleaning up except as an intellectual exercise (It was dangerous. Remember the reason I became a hoarder wasn’t to keep things, complete collections, or perceived value — it was the safety I felt in the mess, and the panic I felt when my space was neat.) this is a newish concept.

Accordingly, floors need to be cleaned more than anything else. Even if you only walk through a space, like in a model home at a real estate development say, the floor gets used more often than anything else. So, they need cleaning more often. The other thing which needs to be dealt with every day is stuff, things you can pick up in your hand: food, books, papers, clothing, bedding, towels, etc. It’s stuff which makes up clutter. (The notion that clutter is made up of things we pick up and put down — was the last big AHA! I found.)

So, I modified my ideas about what has to be dealt with/how often. I’d figured the kitchen floor needed daily maintenance, but not other floors. I changed that.

Now I have a mental list of the areas in my home which need routine maintenance. Maybe not “deep cleaning” but maintenance seven days a week, or Monday – Friday. Some chores can be put off over the weekends, others can’t.

I swept from the entry to the hall this morning because of this. And then the stairs. [I kept finding more to do.] I swept the hearth, [twice]. I started to go into the kitchen, [but did the hall, again] — and made myself stop.

Then I cleaned the dustpan and the brushes (didn’t wax them, had done that last weekend) and the broom. [And started again, made myself stop.] Put everything away, twice.

See the flip side of the hoarding peeking out? Definitely one of the first times the idea that hoarding/OCD is a spectrum really became obvious in me. Intellectually, I’ve known this for a long time, but I always thought, “I’ll never have that problem!”

Sigh.

empty room

In my old age I  will need to monitor not only my stress levels (because of the PTSD) but keep myself from tipping over the edge from hoarder to OCD/minimalist/clean-freak.

Oh joy.

J

Slow, Snowy Day

except that I think I was rather busy!

Not only did I make soup (see the last post) but I cleared out the top shelf of the freezer, mopped the kitchen floor, made marmalade, kept the fire going and worked on a knitting design.

The yield today is: cleaner and more usable freezer, cleaner kitchen floor, better knowledge of what’s in the freezer, a design idea for the knitting, 1 pt of orange marmalade, less wood, and more warmth.

Much better than my yield for Storm Sandy. (You can read about that here.)

So, Different . . .

My helper and I tackled the kitchen, again. I started dehydrating veggies, again. And last night after dinner, DH and I cleaned up the kitchen, again.

The difference was that I wouldn’t let it go — just do the dishes. Having spent around 2 hours cleaning both sides of the sink and the large counter just wasn’t ready for it to be a mess, again.

This morning, when I got my coffee, I washed the few dishes in the sink — usually I’ve waited ’til there’s a lot.

When I was a kid, the most unflappable mother in the neighborhood was Mrs. Olson. She had FIVE kids and a doctor husband. They had a veggie garden out back, and she canned. The house always smelled fresh and clean and I don’t ever remember it being a mess. I know we’d make messes as kids, but it was weird, I also never remember seeing her actually clean anything, except maybe wash dishes?

She was phenomenal. They moved and bought a “ranchette,” with a swimming pool, barn, corral and house — big enough for all 7 of them, their grandparents too. It was still immaculate, she bred dogs. Then they moved up to their summer place. Visited them there, once. Still immaculate, big space for the now 3 or 4 people who lived there.

If I’ve ever had a role model as a housekeeper that I wanted to emulate, it’s Mrs. Olson. I’m sure there were messes. I’m sure she got flapped now and then, but the overall image was a clean/bright house, delicious food, and serenity.

How I wish she was around so I could ask how she did it!

less-mess

I ask my friends who seem to manage their homes better than I do (well, that’s everyone, or nearly everyone) for hints and tips. One person said, “I always start whatever I’m cooking with cleaning up first, so that what I’m cooking doesn’t make a bigger mess.” Another said, “I have to clean as I go.”

Seems odd at this stage of my life to be worrying about something so basic as learning how to order and maintain my space, but I’ve never done things the way others do. I guess that’s part of my “charm”?

The one thing I keep bumping into is that it’s two things: maintenance and consistency. You have to do the work to begin with then you have to work to maintain it. Since for years I kept myself from “seeing” the messes, the first one is difficult. But the second is harder. Every thing in me, all the PTSD bits that is, scream when I start new habits. And, I usually panic and stop. The observation about maintenance and consistency isn’t new for me, the being able to do it at all without the panic is.

I have no idea how long this will last, as usual — we’ll see!

Soooo Bizarre!

It just occurred to me that I haven’t panicked about the house. I won’t go back and look for how long, but here I am, whaling away at the painting, thinking about culling, nearly every.single. day. And no panic?

NO PANIC????

Not that I want to panic mind you, but it’s just really, really weird if you’re me.

Part of this is that I’ve tied it to the living room painting project I think. But part of it seems to be that I may have healed enough?

panic

And of course, the “gotcha” with my PTSD is that having noticed this, and having had the audacity to say it OUT LOUD?

Now I’ll panic!

 

Chore Status 8/15

Decided because it seems as I get things done I’m also adding more things to do, that I should repost this every Monday. Also, that I should remove from this list the things I’ve done, so that I start each week with just the still pending list. The old list is available, with the struck through text, on the last list!

Living Room:

  • Clean (wallboard): kitchen, interior stair.
  • Spackle: kitchen, interior stair, stair rail.
  • Primer (1st coat): kitchen wall, entry wall, interior stair, stair rail.
  • Primer (2nd coat) : kitchen wall, oak wall, front wall, wallboard walls, stair rail, between logs too.
  • Caulk: entire room trim to walls and floor, as needed.
  • Final Paint: entire room (street, oak, kitchen, bookcase wall, hall walls (closet, bath, pantry), stair wall, entry, stair interior wall, and stair rail.
  • Cull/clean: get fabric to Jeannie’s for reupholstery. Window replacement on north side.
  • (long term) Sand and redo floor.

In broad terms what remains in the living room prepainting effort:  the kitchen wall needs to be cleaned, spackled and primed. The interior stair wall needs to be spackled and primed.  These walls need to be primed: kitchen, interior stair, and entry.

AFTER I get everything primed at least once, then the spackling, between log painting, and caulking can be done. Then we sand, again. Then we primer, again. THEN we paint! I need to remember to order the paint!

Measure room and furniture. Make a floor plan so you move the furniture and books ONE more time, not more than that!

Hall: Replace smoke detector (future).

Kitchen: (Cull/clean) Get the 2nd Hoosier into the kitchen.  Dismantle the f’n 30 square foot counter and redo it to something saner!!! (long term) Pull the windows, put in the new wall and windows.

Laundry: (Cull/clean)  (longterm) Get the switch thing set up so you don’t have to pull the dryer out anymore!

Bathroom: (Cull/Clean) corners, window,  clear out.

Bedroom: (Cull/Clean) get couch downstairs. When reupholstered chair returns, put it here, not living room.

Attic: Get the 2 1 base cabinets in there (or elsewhere) and the cabinet from the storage. Get the bookcases from office 1 into the attic.[1 base cabinet used in kitchen 8/20]

Office 1: . Get the counter cleaned. Remove everything from the bookcases on the north wall and get the cases moved into the attic.  Bring in the new dressers?

Office 2: Clear off the blue desk. Sell/cull items waiting for that.

Dining Room:  Take down candlabra, sell. Paint china cabinet and relocate the 2 Hoosiers.

Storage: Get the table to the person who owns it. Remove the folding screen. Remove the 2nd Hoosier for the kitchen.Get at least 5 boxes out and deal with the stuff in them. Move to a smaller storage unit 10 x 20 instead of 10 x 30 which is what you have now.

Garden: Continue, finish and keep up the weeding, so that the weeds don’t take over the yard and next year’s vegetable garden is a disaster accordingly! [Worked on this 7/24-5]

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

Get the online and computer files cleaned out. (Drafts here = 51 as of 7/27, 50 as of 8/1, 48 8/9)

Systems, Mostly Long Term: Heating: order 3 cords of wood. Finish basement insulation. Order 2 more cords of wood. Roof: get back roof replaced. Water: get clips installed on both roofs. Get guttering/water barrel.Landscaping: Walls, fences, gates, plantings as needed.

Secrets

Next section of the living room wall is available. The only real question now is whether I do only that  or move an additional smallish chunk ‘o stuff first, then move the flat file — and access the entire remaining piece which needs knot sealer. It’s tempting to only do the piece we uncovered earlier today by shifting things, but I think I’ll wait till I can move the flat file (it’s 6′ tall and 5’ wide, and on wheels). All of the living room’s log walls are at least cleaned, sanded and then cleaned for the second time (tack clothed) 8:46pm.

Then I can do the actual priming and sanding, first coat.

Some of DH’s family are coming to visit. They’re going to pick up furniture. Hopefully they’ll help us get the table out of here, the cabinet out of the storage to here and also take the dresser and table they’re coming for. That will be hugely helpful! I keep trying to institute a “rotating work week/end” thing among the relatives. Two of them live in the midwest. I’d gladly spend a week out there helping one or both of them doing maintenance and house chores, like painting or yard work, or . . . and I’d like the same in return.

They already do that, to some extent. Well, one of them helps the other. Not sure if it ever happens the other way. . . .

If the dresser is leaving my office, that means that I can get the dressers which are supposed to replace our double dresser painted and maybe in the house? Maybe? One of them is in the wood shed, the other is in the storage.

In order to deal with the cabinet coming here from the storage and into the attic, I’d need to clean up the entire attic — yesterday, or maybe the day before would have been good. (Tomorrow I’m working for someone else.)

Today my helper was here and we caught up. Folded the laundry which hadn’t gotten put away, he taped the trim on the space which is ready for paint, and he dried dishes while I washed. I put them away. All catch up, but necessary.

I also felted a blanket, but that’s another blog.

We had salad and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. The salad was romaine and argula for greens, I’m proud to say that we’ve eaten up all the bok choy, mustard greens, etc. Usually, by this time of year there’s a mountain of green slimy ick on one shelf of my fridge. This year, not. WIN!!! Between working at this, and drying things I am NOT tossing food like I have in years past. I found 1 bag of spinach which needed to join the compost heap and a bag of herbs — that’s it. As I said, by this time of the summer, there’s usually far too much green slime in my fridge.

The dinner dishes are done. I’ve learned that if I leave a mountain of dishes to do after dinner — I won’t. But if I can manage to clean enough before we sit down that all I have is the last of the cooking and eating things to clean? Yep, I’ll do those.

A lot of this dehoarding stuff is learning a new mindfulness. I always thought I’d just know what needed to happen, when. Not so. I ate my cheese sandwich and when I was done, reached for the big salad bowl to get some — and put it on the plate I’d eaten my sandwich from. Before it never would have occurred to me that by doing that I’d have one less dish to wash, it just wasn’t on  my radar.

It’s more of the “adulthood” con job I think? As a kid I always thought that adults and some other kids just “got it” and I didn’t. That adulthood would be conveyed to me at some magical age — 17 was the number for many years. I was really disappointed at 17 and later when I realized there was no magical transformation into adulthood.

Since, I’ve discovered the secret, it’s that con job. As you get to be an adult, you get better (hopefully) about learning what you’re likely to forget/not do/need to do and how to compensate. To do lists, calendars, alarm clocks, whatever.

As I’ve aged, I’ve gotten much better about such things. I rarely really lose my keys these days, or wallet, or am late to an appointment, etc. I did all of those, fairly regularly, as a kid and young adult. But the housekeeping has always been beyond me because of the panic.

The secret to a clean house seems to be consistency (or repetition) and mindfulness.I get to learn how a whole new set of the secret adult “cheats”!

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