Category Archives: cleaning

The Voice In My Head

To The Voice in My Head,

Please excuse me while I attempt to discern whether you are friend or foe. I need to know if you are intuition revealing to me the secrets to my success or a distant cousin of OCD promising me ridiculous, infomercial-type control of my environment.

Are you here to inspire, lead and direct or distract and pacify my anxiety. Please tell me so that we can carry on, would you?

You insist that if I devote time now to putting systems and plans in place (and that will be A LOT of  work), I will have more time for the rest of the year to do some things I want to do. You say if I declutter, sell, donate, give away and otherwise dispose of extraneous items from my house and put cleaning, meal planning and other nasty little chores on automatic systems, I can be relieved of some of the burdens that are giving me a pain from the inside of my left shoulder blade up to the back of my head.

You assure me that ‘Spring Cleaning’ is not, in fact, reserved for Spring and NOW – right now – is the time to wash the cabinets, mop the floors and wipe down baseboards. You are completely certain that one full, top to bottom scrubbing of walls, windows, shelves and anything that will stand still is the answer to even my most existential questions.

Do you really have answers or are you trying to make me crazy?

The thing is, I am starting to believe you. Now, do you happen to know where I can get seven, magical days in which to clean & organize everything I need to make the year easier? Does anyone know how to stop space & time? Message me.

Sunday Scenes – Cleaning on a Sunday

Here is what I saw and photographed on Sunday.

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My Xbox Avatar – I like her!

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A common sight to see – the back of Ethan as he walks into my mother’s house. His favorite place to be.

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He had to see if he still fit in the sink. Why?

My brain told me to clean the living room.

I tried tidying.

It said ‘clean’ – as in move furniture, wash floors, cull books, dust lightbulbs (yes, my brain is like that) and clean the windows. If you don’t have a shred of obsessive-compulsive tendencies, you would not understand a brain that tells you that if you comply, and do what it wants, all will be well and right with world.

All will be right?! How could I not?

As I cleaned, I found a tragically lost library book. If you know anything about my library habits, I have on occasion had 99 library books out at one time – and I DO NOT lose library books. I searched for it and made it the topic of prayer ~ and here it was wedged behind a small book shelf partnering up with silvery gray dust bunnies in an effort to hid itself.

Now it is found.

All is right with the world.

My brain is good like that.

Skillz

I have a list entitled, “Things I Want The Boyz To Learn”.

Algebra, world history, and chemistry have not made my list. They can pursue these things if they wish – or their schools require it, it’s just that my list is way more important.

How to tie and tie, clean a bathroom, grill a steak and an effective way to make a sincere apology ~ those are on my list. How to start a charcoal grill, light a fire in a fireplace and jump start a car. It’s a long list. I take every chance I can ~ or make sure someone else can ~ to teach them things they simple won’t and can’t learn in school.

I needed to send a paper registration and a check – what?! no internet? – to a government agency last week. I sat Sean down to do it with me. Trust me, these things are WAY easier to do without an apprentice – but it must be done. Return address, stamp and address. Nope, he didn’t know what a zip code was. I explained that we could send almost anything through the mail and stamps are actual currency. His idea of mail was junk mail and Amazon deliveries. He liked the ‘check’ idea too. His usual exposure to any form of payment is ‘the swipe’ 🙂

I made some homemade soup for a sick family member last week. I called the boyz off their various electronic devices and sat them at the kitchen counter – do you think they were thrilled? They have NO concept of why food preparation might be hard if you are ill or grieving. Their food magically appears without much care for the planning, the list, and the shopping. They are getting better at cooking – and don’t worry, “how to make lasagna and chicken soup” are on the list. I explained disposable containers were imperative and not asking, just doing, is the preferred method for providing food – that most people will say that they are ‘fine’. We are men of action – remember that, boyz.

DSC00082Two of the boys, unfortunately, had the experience recently of learning how and why we send sympathy cards. Mikey, the sweet boy, asked if sending a card did not just remind the person of their loss. As sad as it was, I was glad we had a chance to talk about why we participate in certain social rituals regarding loss.

It takes a certain level of mindfulness to remember to pull them or push them into circumstances in which they can master all types of practical life skills. It is usually easier to do these tasks yourself, but not a good, long-term plan.

Other wise moms have reminded me that when there is a huge sink full of dishes – I am not the only one with working arms and when we are out of cookies….

Memorize & make Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Memorize & make Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kondo-ing

Have you read it? Do you know about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? I’ve read it and now I am putting into practice the wisdom of the magnificent Marie Kondo.

But, I did not always feel this way about Ms. Kondo. She wasn’t jiving with me. I didn’t feel her. The videos I watched on Youtube did not do her and her theories justice – or I just couldn’t ‘hear’ it yet. Then, some interesting things happened. First, although I was on the waiting list for her book at the library (36 of 52!) I found the book on the ‘It’s Your Lucky Day’ table. And it was indeed. Her written words found their way to my heart. Not coincidentally, I have also decided to engage in a particular type of therapy (the kind with a therapist) that has a lot to do with ‘unburdening’ parts of yourself.

People, if you don’t think things and clutter are all mixed up with the ‘things’ and ‘clutter’ inside of you…well, they are. This sister is more than ready to part with all the issues and stuff that rears it’s ugly head in both therapy and in the ‘Kondo’ing of my home.

So top to bottom, I am clearing out the crap. And it’s not all crap – but that doesn’t mean you have to own it. Some things are useful, some things seem sentimental, some things can still be used – none of that means you need to keep it.

“From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. That’s why the task of putting your house in order should be done quickly. It allows you to confront the issues that are really important. Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.”
Marie Kondo

Do not take anyone else’s word for how to sort your things with the KonMari Method – you really need to let her words sink into your psyche on their own. I thought I was good at this – not so much.

Her method is better. I have done my clothes, my dresser, closet, pantry, china closet, and most of the kitchen cabinets. I am doing the bathrooms, attic and linen closets.

Here are my beloved baking supplies. I don’t even think the first picture ‘looks’ that bad. I have assumed for a really long time that all was well in that cabinet. But, Ms. Kondo has you empty the entirety of the cabinet to assess what’s going on. I swear – I thought I had this.

Above, is my spice/cooking cabinet. I thought the same thing about that. Turns out I took a whole tash bag full of things out these cabinets. I found multiple items that were grotesquely expired. I found things I had three of and donated or gifted them to friends and family. I found things that I thought I would use someday – it just doesn’t happen and it is time to accept that. Because being ‘unburdened’ feels…well…like being unburdened.

This is a small example of Kondoing – and yes, I am using it as a verb – because it feels like a verb.

She explains that this ‘cleaning’ up time is an event. You should not have to do it forever. Those methods of slow, progessive decluttering only prolong an event that could be over & done with. She says ‘organizers’ are hoarders ~ gasp!

As an chronic organizer, I have to agree. So I quit.

I am over here, Kondoing. Even the books. Yes, even those. So far, no regrets. I feel lighter, I feel freer. I just know that this is step in the right direction for whatever is coming next.

Do you think that is from the cleaning or the therapy? Maybe they are one in the same 🙂

“All you need to do is take the time to sit down and examine each item you own, decide whether you want to keep or discard it, and then choose where to put what you keep.”

Clean

Clean. Cull. Swipe. Wipe. Scrub. Dust. Sweep. Buff. Polish. Shine. Purge. Disinfect. Arrange. Shine. Tidy. Mop. Scour. Stack. Pile. Collect. Organize. Brush. Cleanse. Sanitize. Fold. Fluff.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Yeah, that.

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