I wrote a few weeks ago that when my head is a mess, I am compelled to order my environment. In practical application, this means three things: cleaning. purging. painting.
and I guess decorating. If you count framing stuff I’ve been meaning to frame for…ever. and putting new flooring in downstairs. and getting rid of useless decorative items that just take up space in my house.
Like a bowl of rocks.
at one point in my life, I PAID for a bowl of rocks and put them on a flat surface in my house. To hold candles. Candles that are – to this day – still wrapped in plastic.
purging. This particular purge isn’t so bad. The biggest purge I’ve done was after my hysterectomy in 2009. That was bad. My house and it’s contents suffered nearly two years of female neglect because of chronic anemia and limited activity, followed by another 6 months of recovery after the surgery.
This purge is deeper.
A stripping down to basics purge.
On May 31st, I said I wanted “I want every superfluous thing in my house gone. GONE.” I’m looking at EVERYTHING in my house as if I were moving. Would I want to pack it? or get rid of it?
I’ve thrown away and shredded so. much. paper. We’ve already made one trip to the dump. I’ve completely emptied every bathroom cabinet and only put back the things we need. I’ve gotten rid of pointless dust collecting decorations, including the bowl of rocks. I’ve even gotten rid of over 100 books.
I’ve been posting some of my progress on my public facebook page. You don’t even need to have a facebook account to see it.
Yesterday’s facebook post:
An entire pick-up truck load of furniture and multiple boxes of books, clothing, appliances, and pointless decorative dust collectors – all now in the FUMCO Whale of a Sale storage POD. I have zero dining room chairs and I do not care. I didn’t love them and they took up too much space, so they had to go. Based on that criteria, all members of my family will be staying. I suppose the cats can stay too. Tomorrow? The linen closet purge. I have to make room for the single tablecloth and the single set of placemats I’m keeping after giving away my buffet. #pruning #purging
Today’s facebook posts:
11:57am – Can’t decide what to do today. So I’m going to do everything. 5 minutes at a time. & fb/tweet my progress for accountability & motivation.
12:15pm – 1st micro-action of the day: Weeding the rose bed. Took 10 minutes. Love it when a huge bunch of weeds turns out to be a lot of runners.
12:23pm – How many fridge shelves can I clean in 5 minutes? Three. & I cooled off enough to go back outside. I’m gonna need shoes. #microactions
1:15pm – Prune long neglected roses-10 minutes, put roses in vase, download & learn photo editing app-15 min. #microactions (click any of the photos to enlarge)
3:06pm – An hour deep cleaning the kitchen, including the window, the front of the cabinets, the wall, the prints and my cobalt. More dust collecting decorations to get rid of. #microactions
3:13pm – This is going to be hideous. & hot. But tomorrow is yard waste day. Any guesses how long it will take? #microactions
4:06pm – If you do it fast enough, weeding is cardio. (posted “before” pic earlier) #microactions
4:56pm – 20 minutes to make this mess. But my view is much clearer. Gotta bind all this up after I pick PinkGirl up.#microactions
9:28pm – Got on a roll. FavoriteSon and I mowed and he whacked weeds while I bound up what seemed to equate to a small forest. I ran out of daylight. And I may have discovered a new smell. A cross between sunscreen, bug spray, gasoline and sweat. #pruning #purging
I took an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory. Hopefully, I’ll be good to go tomorrow. I never did get to that linen closet today.
[CLICK HERE to see a listing of all the blog posts in this series "the search for Joy."]
My husband is scared right now.
happy. but scared.
Happy because of all the stuff I’m getting rid of. And I’m getting rid of a LOT of stuff. a LOT of stuff.
Scared because of the honey-do list that goes along with ordering my environment.
I’m so thankful to God for him. He is my density.
In the middle (and at the bottom) of stirring this mess in my head, he said: “You really need to work through this. I don’t recognize you. It’s like you’ve given up. I don’t know whether to encourage you or give you a swift kick in the butt. You’ve lost your mojo.”
mojo. is that another word for faith?
It was bad. I couldn’t even pray.
What does faith look like when you can’t even pray?
it’s not pretty.
I needed to think. I need to think.
And so I clean my house. I paint my house. I purge my house. of books even. over 100 so far. I want every superfluous thing in my house gone. GONE.
GONE I tell you!
physically and metaphorically.
But in the middle of all the thinking I’m reading two books right now.
I know. But yes. These two are thick.
and not in a benchpress them kind of way.
FirstHusband suggested I re-read these books. Smart guy.
I’ve read both of them before. But I was younger then. Not that much younger. But still.
They were both responsible for pivot points in my faith.
In all my thinking and purging, I need to go back to bones of what I believe and why.
Messy deep digging blog posts ahead.
Even so, if you know me IRL (in real life), don’t weird out when you see me in person. If you’re at a loss about what to say, we can talk about the little blond girl’s face at the end of this commercial. cracks me up every time.
[CLICK HERE to see a listing of all the blog posts in this series "the search for Joy."]
oh, you get to see the ugly now. My last few 5 minute posts have been in line with my goal to spring/deep clean my kitchen, but today’s post is about a DAILY struggle.
I have to believe that my kitchen counter is not the only one with magical magnetic properties. Magical in that it attracts all materials, not just metal.
We’ve got paper, plastic, wood, glass, medicine, vitamins, food items, cleaning supplies, a doorknob (don’t ask), even flat out GARBAGE. Maybe if I put the garbage can ON the counter…
But I digress.
I decided to find out if I could clear it in 5 minutes. If so, maybe it won’t seem like such a daunting task in the future. Maybe if I SEE that I can do it in 5 minutes, I’ll be more likely to do it every day.
Bwahahaha! (in our house, that would be referred to the Zack and Cody laugh. a statement, followed by a brief pause, and then a burst of mocking laughter.)
Did I make it within 5 minutes?
I’ll admit right now that this was challenging, simply due to the distance I had to travel to put some of this stuff where it actually goes. Which is probably WHY it got dumped on the counter in the first place.
Nobody wanted to go the distance.
I did cheat a little bit and put the items that were supposed to go upstairs ON the stairs to carry up the next time I go.
You watch, the next 5 minute post will start with a picture of my cluttered staircase.
What can YOU clean in 5 minutes?
And I just want to state right now, that I am confident that I can not clear my minivan of CARbage in 5 minutes.
UPDATE @ 2:34pm: Right now, there’s only one thing on my kitchen counter. A crock pot full of Cream Cheese Chicken
Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer.
Still applying my long time practice of microactions to tackle deep cleaning my kitchen. Today, I had 5 minutes, so I completely emptied and cleaned out the knife drawer.
If THAT photo doesn’t show how bad it really was, THIS one surely does:
I followed the same steps as yesterday’s 5 minute drawer cleanup: emptied the drawer, cleaned the bottom, scrubbed and dried the drawer organizers and put everything back. This time, I didn’t get rid of anything. It may have been dirty, but it’s stayed organized like this since we had the kitchen redone in November of 2000.
2000. I wonder if that’s when I last cleaned the bottom of this drawer. no . . . NO. I’ve definitely cleaned it since then. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.
What can YOU clean in 5 minutes?
But that was only the knife DRAWER. My favorite knives live in my Kapoosh (Amazon link) And I know I clean THAT multiple times per year. because it’s fun. and easy. and it takes less than FIVE MINUTES to clean it.
1. “crud.” That’s what our dishwasher is leaving behind. It is also what I am saying about the fact that our dishwasher is not washing our dishes.
Crud is NOT the word I used when I Googled my Kenmore model and found a forum with over 750 entries by owners who have problems with this dishwasher. Instead, I said, “ARRGG!” What? I love that word. Try it. “ARRGG!”
2. “EWWW!” That’s what I said when I sat down at the piano to help PinkGirl with her scales and smelled cat urine. EWWW is also the word I used when I saw the output tank of my SpotBot after cleaning the source of the stanky smell. I will spare you a photo.
3. “Dang It!” That’s what I said when I saw cat foot prints on the SpotBot track marks the next day. I need to get some Enzyme cleaner. Fast.
4. “Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.” That’s what I said over and over again the day after using my SpotBot on said carpet stain. On my hands and knees for 15 minutes moving my arm back and forth while holding the SpotBot wand and my abs are KILLING me. I thought it would be okay, it’s six weeks post-op for cryin out loud. Ow.
5. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!” That’s what I said to FavoriteSon this week! 14 years old! When did THAT happen?
6. “Bummer.” That’s what I thought when FirstHusband sent me a text message on Wednesday night that read:
“On the ground in Birmingham. Wasn’t planning to be in Birmingham today. Always a risk flying into Atlanta.” and then “Finally . . . 4 hours late.”
He sat ON the plane, ON the runway in Birmingham for THREE HOURS waiting to fly into Atlanta on Wednesday night.
Then I said “Bummer” again on Thursday night, when I got this text:
“Plane late out of Atlanta. Currently scheduled to land in Orlando at midnight. Be home around 1am.”
And no, he wasn’t sitting in the Atlanta airport that entire time. He flew from Atlanta to somewhere else and back between Wednesday and Thursday evening. He got home around 1:45 this morning and was already at work before we got up this morning. BUM. MER.
7. “YES!” That’s what I said when I
got rid of graciously mailed out FOUR, count em’ FOUR free books to other paperbackswap.com members. Let the purging continue! Want a free book? Join paperbackswap.com, list some of your unwanted books, PICK ONE from my list and I’ll send it to you FREE!
The Saturday before last, we learned we had critters invading our back porch. Little critters. And not cute critters like squirrels or chipmunks or hamsters. Bigger than hamsters. We had foolishly left birdseed on the porch in their original bags. First, we vacuumed up LOTS of sunflower seed shells. Then, after blocking up all the possible entrances to the porch and laying out a few appetizing cubes of poison, we discovered that critters were not INVADING our porch. They were LIVING IN IT.
So, Sunday afternoon was spent COMPLETELY purging the porch of critters and their warm cozy home – which happened to be underneath an old portable hot tub. The hot tub was buried under a mountain of junk and clutter. These photos are from August of last year, so add about 2 feet to the height of the junk and clutter:
Amazingly, after a only a few hours of digging through the pile, it was clear. I went inside like a total girl, and watched as FirstHusband tipped the hot tub on its side. The critters immediately ran out and scurried around the porch before finding the open door. FirstHusband and FavoriteSon rolled the hot tub out right behind them and it sat in the back yard for a week.
The NEXT Sunday afternoon, FirstHusband hauled the hot tub to the dump. My porch is so CLEAR!
Now I need to clean and organize the shelving unit behind the teak screen – but the screen has been pushed back more than 4 FEET! I was finally able to move my chair under the ceiling fan! It has been very peaceful sitting out there this last week.
The evacuated little critters have been munching on poison cubes every night for the past week. We’re pretty sure they ran into a shed on the side of the house, so unless they politely go off somewhere in the forest to die, finding their remains in the shed should be fairly easy. FirstHusband bought some stackable bins for the bird seed, so hopefully, the temptation to invade our porch is gone.
2. Speaking of birdseed. FirstHusband is still working on his raccoon learning curve. He has once again modified bird feeders with zip ties in an effort to thwart the raccoons and squirrels. I’ll let this photo serve as his notice that we’re down to three zip ties on this bird feeder.
And we did buy a new bird feeder for thistle. The label said “Squirrel Proof.” Shhhhh. I think I just heard a bunch of squirrels laughing. Yes. I’m sure of it.
We did figure out a way of preventing the raccoons from dragging the suet feeders up into the tree. We hung a big ol’ wooden birdhouse to the bottom of the suet feeders. Raccoons may be smart, and they may be persistent and they may have some chewing capacity – but they cannot lift this bird house unless they join paws and pull together.
Short of taking down all the bird feeders – which I REALLY enjoy having, due to all the BIRDS they attract, we’re not going to get rid of the other visitors to our yard. We back up to a small pond and beyond an embankment, a RIVER. There is a forest behind our house. At night, we get deer, raccoons – and last night, for the first time, we saw a possum. Unless we leave cheap feed out on the ground – AWAY from the house and easier to get to than the bird feeders – these visitors vandalize the bird feeders. If they don’t find any food out in the yard, the deer will come right up to my porch and eat my rosebushes down to stumps. Very rude.
So, we usually buy a 50 pound bag of cracked corn for $6.75 and leave the corn in bowls under the tree – again – AWAY from the house. We’ve learned that when we are diligent about that, the bird feeders stay intact, the more expensive seed remains in the feeders for the birds and I have roses in vases in my kitchen window (for the cats to eat, of course).