Spring Cleaning Week #2

I mentioned last week that I’m doing my spring cleaning less in a “this room, then that room, then another room” way and more of a piecemeal concerted attack. If you’re coming along for the ride (ie joining in on my suggested “to do” lists), stay tuned for this week’s “homework.” Hey, literally!

Since last week we did anything ceiling/wall-related (+ some) on our first floor (or the main living area of your one-floor digs), this week it’s time to do some heavy-duty floor and woodwork/baseboard cleaning. Top to bottom, see? Also, it’s time to turn to storage — which, in our house means our DVD/”extemporaneous what the what?” built-ins, our main “coats ‘n crap” closet, and *dun dun dun* the kitchen. Since, think about it: what’s a kitchen beyond some landing pads, a couple of “specialty” areas (sink, oven, spot for cats to eat), and a buttload of storage? Am I right?

Here’s my little “to-do” list to keep up for Week #2; do with it what you will:

– Scrub woodwork with Old English (or whatevs…if you want to be all eco, use olive oil and essential oils or somethin’); if it’s painted, clean it with a rag and soap OR if it’s really in rough shape, attack it with a Magic Eraser. Poof. As my mom would say, “You can do this with the TV on in the background!” (Easier said than done, but she says it, anyway. Do I really need to see what’s happened on “Little Women” or “My Girl” for the 200th time? Beth and Thomas J. still die. *sad face*)

– Do organizational bursts. See how quickly you can get your main closet and kitchen cabinets emptied, sorted into piles (KEEP IN CLOSET/CABINET, KEEP ELSEWHERE, THROW OUT, DONATE), then (sometimes the hardest part) neatly put it all back in. If you need a new storage system or don’t think what you’re doing is working, jot down if you think you need baskets or to peruse the organization solutions in your favorite store to see if anything pops out at you. *So far, I’ve done the dining room built-ins and sidebar, as well as the front room trunks. Doesn’t sound like much, but just looking at the minimally-decorated sidebar and knowing how neat and tidy it is on the inside gets me jonesin’ to do more.*

– Sweep and mop the kitchen floor — move EVERYTHING out and give this the real once-over. Wipe down all kitchen surfaces (including the grease + dust + cat fur combo that has cemented itself to the tops of the fridge and microwave, open shelving, cookbooks, etc).

– Anything you didn’t complete last week…like, admittedly, my downstairs ceiling fans. There’s only two, but they’re beasts, and I’m one tired mama. This isn’t a “look what I can do!” run to the finish line, people. 

– Positive affirmation time! You can do this… “Because you’re good enough…you’re smart enough…and, doggone it, people like you!” Go one at a time. Listen to music while you unload. Make a game out of it (see how much crap you can find that you hardly/don’t use!). Do whatever you have to do to empty/best use your spaces.    

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Next week? Upstairs! (And any downstairs bathrooms or offices you may have. :-D) How’s that sound??

Spring Cleaning Projects

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Okay, so although our weather argues otherwise, it’s time to finally start spring cleaning. I allowed myself a weekend of “not muchness” after the show ended (plus I had a battle with a cold/bug and some scary migraine incidents last week, so it took a lot to make dinner let alone consider cleaning), so ’tis time to get motivated.


See, cleaning (kinda like exercise) isn’t the hard part. It’s the motivation and mental capacity to tackle the huge projects. Heck, I don’t know the last time the whole house was really, fully clean.

I was originally going to “chunk” the projects in a more manageable weekly list (like “bedrooms this week, living room and dining room the next week, etc.”), but since I started to attack different things in different areas, that may be tough. Sometimes we throw our own plans outta whack, huh?

So, instead, it’s kind of an overlap. The only way I can see myself staying motivated and engaged with the process is by checking in with (at least) weekly lists of what I’ve already done. It may give me a better idea of what I still have to do but it might be a little pat on the back to keep going. I’m just a bit bummed because it may not be super helpful to anyone reading to give them an idea of how to attack their OWN spaces, so I think I’ll give a little “assignment” to help motivate each of you weekly. (It’s not mandatory by any means…just use it if you’re having a hard time knowing where to start.)

Sunday was the first day that I was able to undertake anything, and this is an idea of what I worked on:

– vacuumed, swept and mopped front room; wiped down walls; dusted; went through chest and purged some fabric and blankets; took some stuff (including hardly-used sewing machine) to basement
– vacuumed living room and started wiping walls; (always kept generally picked up; need to go through closet, shoes, coats, etc.)
– washes bed and crib sheets and blankets; switched to slightly lighter comforter (still have one heavy blanket to launder)
– wiped down bathroom sink, etc. (normal maintenance; still need to go gung ho here)

Lots more to do, but I won’t bore you with a list of THAT (far longer!). 

So, so you make an effort to clean anything and everything around you for spring? Or are you waiting for me to dole out my assignment for the week? Well, how sweet of you to wait for lil’ ol’ me! Here’s this week’s “duty” (hee hee…):

WALLS AND CEILINGS — Use a Swiffer, a duster, or even just a rag with mild soap to wipe down your walls and ceilings in your main living area. (If you have a “downstairs,” your downstairs. If you have only one level, as much as you can — maybe everything but your bedrooms, or more if you’re feeling adventurous.) If you have ceiling fans, wipe them down. If they’re REALLY bad, take attack them with hot water and detergent and take out the glass parts to clean in your sink. As Shirley Temple’s mother once said, “sparkle!”

(Next week, the floors and storage — closets, cupboards, etc. Just in case you want to get a head start. ;-))
And for some inspiration, your Clean Quote of the Week: “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” – Goethe

Springing Back to Life

The show is officially done, after some wonderful audiences and far too much fun had on the part of the cast. And, of course, during the day last Saturday I started with the postnasal yuckiness, so by this point I’m part sad and part relieved that things have come to an end. I’m going to miss my buds (and even a new friend or two! Hooray for getting out of the house!), but I’m ready to get back to some normalcy.

While my head feels like it wants to fall off and my brain is having a tough time formulating, um, y’know, words, I thought I’d mention a few things that I’m jonesin’ to get into that I’ve put off over the duration of the show. Time has a tendency to stand still and life gets put on hold while a person does a show. Not complainin’; just how it is.

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So, yeah. When I finally get some rest and feel normal again, I’m hoping to turn my focus to SPRING (said in a sing-song fairy voice) and tick a few things off this ol’ list:

Spring cleaning. Ugh. I’m far from excited to get this done. I’m actually not sure the last time I actually COMPLETED a spring cleaning checklist. I get enough of it done, but not EVERYTHING. This year, since we’ve been chatting back and forth about making a possible move this spring/summer-ish, I’ve gotta find a way to actually get this fully accomplished. Even if I have to take it a week at a time, it’ll get done — and I’ll bring you along for the ride, of course. You lucky, lucky folks, you.

Spring-ify the joint. Kind of in line with spring cleaning, I’ve gotta turn my attention to the fact that I’ve still got winter-on-the-brain; at least, as far as my decor goes. We’ve still had FREEZING temperatures and snow, so the fact that we’ve got *gasp* temps in the 40s later in the week makes everyone excited even more for spring.

So, I’ll officially wipe off my “Let It Snow” chalkboard art (maybe I’m the jinx who has made winter stay put all along…oops) and take down my rustic winter scarf decor (a variation of which I’ve had since Christmas) and figure out a brighter, lighter, and probably simplified decor scheme. For my husband’s sake, if for no other reason. 😉 Heck, I finally pulled down the Christmas cards last week, but I don’t think he was impressed.

(Pssst. You know what that means. I’m gonna be wasting more time on Pinterest soon!!)

Start a-paintin’. I think we’ve pretty much finalized the color we’re going to do the dining room (wait for it…), so I’d like to hit up Lowe’s and grab a buttload of primer to get the show on the road in there. I also need to freshen up our kitchen cabinets, inside and out, with our usual white trim paint…which opens up Pandora’s box since there’s probably a thousand other places that need a little touch-up while I’m at it. 

Hoeing out. Along with spring cleaning comes the inevitable urge to get rid of stuff. While I tend not to “spring clean” the basement, I’d like to take a stab at ours as far as organization and what we actually NEED to have down there is concerned. I may end up hosting a spring/early summer garage sale to help with the excess.

So, what about you? What are your spring plans? Are you already done with your spring cleaning, or is it not a part of your vocabulary? It’s hard for me not to get bogged down with the guilt of cleaning every square inch of your dwelling this time of year; my mom raised me with insanely high standards. 🙂 Love ya, Ma!

When Things Get Tough, Make a List

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freedigitalphotos.net
(This isn’t our kitchen…)

With nearly every weeknight being taken over by theater rehearsals (not that I’m complaining! It’s been a blast) and twice weekly physical therapy sessions (okay, that I kind of AM complaining about), it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Super duper stressed. It’s nice to have something fun to focus on, but the rest of this crazy life can get pretty nuts.

But, I’ve done pretty well. How? By chunking. Then listing.

Chunking means a million things (one of which involves child literacy, but that’s not what I’m talkin’ about here). In this case, I just use it as a coping mechanism; a way to handle things in smaller amounts. One day at a time. One meal at a time.

Since the things I look forward to most are at the end of the day (ie rehearsal and seeing Hadley and Dave at the end of it all), I look at each day in sections: morning, work, dinner/physical therapy/shower (those are one thing because they happen quickly in the span of about an hour +/- post-work), then “fun.” (Yes, sometimes the “fun” part is stressful, but it’s the almost-guaranteed positive in my day.)

Sure, sometimes there are positives in the rest of the day. Like, the morning rush almost always gives way to my daily phone chat with my mom. That’s generally a happy, high point of the day, done while eating breakfast or folding laundry or what not. If I can fit little tasks like this in while getting other stuff done, I feel a) more productive, b) less overwhelmed later on (no one likes that “I’ve got NO clean underwear!?!?” feeling), and c) happier (see “a”; laziness makes one beat oneself up, whereas productivity gives a boost of adrenaline…it’s a thing).

And, most days I can find SOME bit of happiness in the “work” side of things. Despite being a librarian, I despise putting books away. (My stack of books can attribute to that.) But if I chunk it into sections — putting away chapter books on one day, or half of the “easy” books, or all of the pet and sport books, it’s more manageable, even with a constantly full schedule. Plus, there’s almost always a happy moment with the kids that makes the rest of the stress easier to take. Even just being in a good mood and laughing along with them (ie not letting their annoying habits break me down…and remembering they’re only kids) helps.

As for P/T…well, that’s a post for another day, but let’s just call it a necessary evil. I go. I do. I feel awkward. I then become frustrated realizing that the exercises I have to do at home just doubled and I’ll be getting up at frickin’ 5:30 to get fit them in. I get grouchy. Then I move on. It’s a cycle, and I’m used to it now. (Well, not the getting up early thing. It’s not in my blood. I was meant to be my grandmother — Grandpa got coffee and breakfast ready for HER.)

When I don’t have P/T, I run around getting a “nicer” dinner ready and grabbing a shower (I shower at night out of convenience and time constraints…don’t say “ew”). The time still flies, and I find myself running out the door to rehearsal.

*SKREEEEECH* (Not the dude from “Saved by the Bell”; let’s not go there.) This is where my listing comes in.

I’m not great at to-do lists. Sometimes, it’s a must. Like anytime I go shopping for example. Groceries or otherwise, I will inevitably forget something if I don’t make a DETAILED list. Like…if I don’t put down the COLOR of the shoes I was going to get, I will immediately walk into Target and go into a Target-coma; must look at EVERYTHING in the store. Inevitably walk out without the shoes I came for. Beat myself up later. (Same works with food of all sorts. Or toilet paper. Hate that.)

However, making a list of the food I have in the house or, better yet, the meal possibilities (some savvy bloggers refer to them as “meal plans”, but I’m hardly a “planner”…so, I guess it’s a “meal list”) on my fridge’s white board helps in this regard.

Of course, the first week I dared use this method (the craziest week yet…until this week, during which the show opens), things got thrown around…but, it was still nice to have the list and use a couple of the “suggested” dinners. Like, Dave and the munchkin stayed with his parents for dinner a couple of nights. Still fine since I could make the omelet I had listed as a possibility. And, saving grace, I had chicken in the slow cooker the night of my incredibly longer-than-usual P/T session last Thursday — which meant I had time to scarf down half of my dinner before heading to the theater vs. not having ANYTHING to eat. Wasn’t great, but was better than takeout (which…ahem…we don’t really do these days).

So, what about your house? How do you handle the stress when you know it’s gonna be a week from Hades? And are you a lister? What kind do you make? Are you like my mom — whom we buy blank paper pads in bulk for, she makes so many lists?

Minimalist Mama

Similar to my zero-waste and French child rearing posts of yore, I’ve found a new inspiring (or frustrating, depending on how you look at it) concept in the cause of living simpler – the minimalist mom. Spoiler alert: I’m pretty sure it’s not something we’re going to adhere to, but stick with me here.

I saw this article on the Today Show’s website which, in essence, talks about a British family who, after the mum lost her job and got slammed with the holiday marketing blitz, vowed to strike out against consumerism by not spending ANYTHING on their son (and now daughter — yes, having a newborn and buying NOTHING for her). This is, of course, aside from any medical costs and food (although she doesn’t buy into the “food marketed specifically to kids” thing). And, after a year, they’re deeming it a success, and even continuing the project (with a monthly “get out of jail free” card).

After checking out the mom’s blog, I get it. The fact that her “rules” on the site go as such —

1) Mama don’t preach. This isn’t about telling anyone else what to do. If you’ve read my blog before, even a couple of times, it should be pretty obvious that I DON’T KNOW. I have no answers. Just a few jumbled ideas and a wobbly will to try to do the best thing I can for the kids. Most of the time. When humanly possible. On good days.
2) Liberation not deprivation. If it turns out that any of us (Johnny, Frida, my husband, me) are less happy, more stressed, less healthy, or just generally flourishing less (wilting?) due to cutting out spending in any area, we’ll reintroduce that thing. This isn’t about being stoic, or even doing without. It’s about blundering messily but happily towards a way of life that makes us happy and content.
3) Honesty is the best policy. I will be honest. I’ll always tell you what’s going on. No sneaking purchases past this blog. Hand on heart.

— is refreshing and lovely. She doesn’t seem to be doing this to jump on the “a year doing *fill in the blank* to get tons of press” bandwagon. She genuinely knows how toxic it can be (figuratively) to have to deal with the constant onslaught of C-R-A-P as parents (and children). I mean, just look at this video:



Adorbs! Doesn’t that just say it all?

Ahh. Stuff. That recurring theme of ye olde blog. I mean, just think of the influx (dare I say FLOOD) of toys (this isn’t including outfits) we received for Hadman’s birthday. Cuh-razy! (We’ve got a buttload more since Christmas, mind you. Le sigh.)

We’re of the mindset that if folks would just give ONE toy (and maybe one outfit, if they get “the itch”) for these special occasions, it’ll make everyone a lot more comfortable (my mother’s officially “scared” to get him ANY toys, and it’s not because of me…simply put, it makes me super sad) and help Hadley to realize that it’s more about showering him with love and kindness and appreciation and to let him know he has true worth. No one is allowed to “buy” his love, as far as I’m concerned, and we’re going to have plenty of family conversations with him about it as time goes by. Y’know, when he starts to understand things better.

We also don’t buy into (ha! Get it?) the “toy of the season” mentality. There’s nothing he “has” to have. Not the latest Elmo thingamabobber. Not everything-Sesame-Street-because-he-likes-Sesame-Street. (Although the Easter Bunny has mentioned wanting to bring one SS-themed toy. Darn him.) Lord knows munchkin HAS more than enough already. If you took the sheer number of toys, he’s reached his life quota. Seriously, that many. And he’s not 2 yet.

Stop the insanity! (Remember that? From the ’90s? Er…’80s, maybe? Susan Powter?)

The items that we get him tend to be creative or pretend toys that will hopefully stick around for years and years of use. Other toys that he has make him feel overwhelmed and bored SO. QUICKLY. Can you imagine? Having two huge containers of toys, literally overflowing, and feeling bored? I can imagine it. Because I see it. (Heck, when I look at all of his toys, I think, “Um, yeah. I’m going cross-eyed. Too much.”) It makes complete sense.

We want him to have an imagination…and to use it. To play WITH him using OUR imaginations; inside, outside, with pots and pans and bowls and spoons, with sheets and boxes and recycled egg cartons. What greater gift is there than that? My best childhood memories are of just these things.
And there’s also SO much to be said for “free play.” You know, going to a park or running around your backyard like a giggling fool or digging in the dirt or…well, you know.
So, let’s meander back to the topic at hand. Could we go a year without buying ANYTHING child-oriented?

It definitely got the ol’ brain juices flowing. I buy him Annie’s bunnies (but I eat them, too, and they’re not necessarily kid-centric…just cutesy), but I also buy the whole milk yogurt that’s perfectly portioned for toddlers (I swore I’d never do it, but saving 5-7 minutes in the morning? Psht.) I don’t buy a lot of clothes or toys for him (family hooks us up on this front, mostly), but we have failed at cloth diapering. (Sad to even admit that.) So, purchasing dipes ‘n wipes is a big one on the list.

Clearly, we couldn’t fully go without getting him ANYthing…plus, I’m too spineless/lazy/imperfect/flip-floppy to do one of those “for a year” challenge thingies. Hey, at least I’m honest. *wink, wink*

However, there’s a lot that I (or we, if you find it appealing) can learn from this experiment. I haven’t utilized Freecycle much…er…at all. Ever. And I should. Same goes for Craigslist. So much of what she says is true, though. There’s definitely a stigma that they have to be playing with the “right things” or wearing the “cutest” stuff. I find myself by nature anti-licensed character clothing. (I think it’s because I didn’t have much as a kid and realized I didn’t really like it; exceptions are the ONE Punky Brewster t-shirt and a TMNT shirt {Michelangelo FTW!} that I owned, and maybe a hand-me-down Betty Boop sleep shirt.) I also find myself turning away those gifts because I don’t want those obnoxious cartoon faces to inundate our own animated munchkin’s face, y’know?

That’s a tug-of-war right there. If it’s willingly given, do you just accept (I actually know for a fact that doing that tends to open Pandora’s box, causing us to receive even MORE stuff) graciously (which, believe me, we ARE truly grateful!) or do we pick and choose what we allow through our doors to better control what he (and we) are subjected to? Like…he’s never seen a full-length Disney movie. (He knows Mickey and the rest from short films and watching his playhouse at Grandma’s.) So…should he have shirts and pj’s with a million images of Lightning McQueen all over them? Then there’s the slipppery slope that we simply MUST own that movie (and a million others). Again, I only owned a handful of Disney flicks, and they were ones we already knew that (as a family) we loved watching over and over again. Not 50. Not 20. A handful.

And I turned out just fine. 😉

Obviously, my head’s still wrapping itself around this concept. I highly doubt we could do a full-blown challenge (even a month’s worth…? Maybe? Maybe not.) like this, but it definitely is good to help consider our needs vs. our wants vs. society’s perceived “you need to want”s.

Whatchya think?

Bursting My Clothes

Burst time again! So, my 15-minute challenge this time was my own clothes. I knew I couldn’t do my closet and dresser at one time, so I just tackled the worst place — the overflowing dresser. (No “before” shot, but just envision a tall dresser with a stack of clothes on it. Always a husband-pleaser.)

Most of the drawers were okay, but I did find a handful of items to put in our Goodwill pile.

The worst spot, however? My two (T-W-O!) drawers for shirts.

I’ve got a problem, people.

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Yes, those are all shirts. I had 10+ tank tops. Seriously. WHY would I keep those around when we have a foot and a half of snow outside? Into under-bed storage they went.

I also found a few larger size tops from post-pregnancy which I put into storage, too.

Then, I stacked them based on usage. I have old tees (which I probably shouldn’t have, but they’re SO COMFY!!!! And I can paint…and sleep…in them…..and now my mind is wondering why my husband even hangs around with me wearing a 12th grade t-shirt from “Once Upon a Mattress” smeared with paint), work tops, and in-between t-shirts (nicer than the nice ‘n soft, crappy ones). The nice ones went in the top drawer; comfy ones below.

Which left me with a nice, clean bed again. Beds are great for organizing your stuff, aren’t they? Perfect negative space.

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The other spot (of which I shan’t be sharing pics) is my underwear drawer. My GOD. I need to shop for new underwear. Again…my poor husband.

I decided to take out all of the frilly stuff I don’t wear often (I’m not a stockings girl, but was raised to own every possible configuration ) and put it into one of my smaller top drawers that wasn’t being used.

(I was also thrown back in time to my post-baby days with a stack of nursing bras and hospital underwear…yes, hospital underwear. Underwear given from the hospital. I kept those. God only knows why. And now you can sleep soundly knowing THAT little tidbit.)

The one thing I didn’t achieve in this 15-minute burst? My jewelry drawer. Ugh. Hoping to find something to artistically hang my necklaces and bracelets on (no pierced ears here). Oh, and it’s all pretty much costume. Nothing too valuable here. 😉 (Just dusty boxes.)

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Have you been getting any organizing done lately? This is not representative of how on-top-of-things I am lately. It’s a miracle I’m dressed and upright, with all I’ve got goin’ on. Yet, I am, and it feels like a feat in and of itself.

Toddler Clothes Burst

I recently shared my first “burst” of energy — ie using 15 minutes to accomplish one cleaning task. Today, I’m back to tell you about the burst of 15 minutes I spent in Hadley’s room.

Since I technically spent about 20-25 minutes on the first project and about 5 minutes on the second, I’d say I reached the goal of 15 minutes each.

Cheating? Naw. My house, my rules. 😉

With a growing little (or, NOT so little) guy, we regularly need to switch out Hadman’s clothes. Of course, this regularly DOESN’T happen. So, his dresser starts to look like this —

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That’s a nearly-full bin of size 18-month clothes next to the dresser. He’s comfortably in 24-month right now, so I went through his two drawers (the bottom is for sheets and blankies) to pull out too-small items and switch in some 24-month stuff we still had sitting around.

Ta-da!

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By the way, I’ve totally gotta use one of my 15-minute bursts to take that changing pad off. He hasn’t used it in, like, a year. Der. (And the cat toy is with its rightful owner…)

So, that burst took about 20+ minutes, which will sometimes happen. If I hadn’t given myself the 15 minute goal, I would’ve spent 30+ minutes, and there would’ve been some crying over how big our baby has gotten. But, not the case. No tears this time. Just a speed-cleaning. Bam.

This also had one of those overlapping effects; our office went from clothes mountain to “whoa, there was a desk chair under there!” (So maybe I did 3 bursts in 30 minutes. Sweet!)

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While I was at it, I organized the two under-crib bins that we use for the clothes that don’t fit the munchkin quite yet. I always keep his next size (sigh…2T) in the one on the left and anything higher in the one on the right. That way, at a quick glance, I can see that he’ll need undershirts or more pants for his next growth spurt. (BTW, isn’t “burst” better than “spurt”? Yeah, I almost considered using that word instead. You’re welcome, hee hee.) This system works SO well for us.

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Another side note: Dave has been stock-piling some Woot shirts in the smallest size for AWHILE. Needless to say, we don’t really need any shirts when he’s in a 4T. This one’s my favorite (others are eyebrow-raising…like the passed out Cookie Monster who’s been on a milk and cookie binge…I laugh, but others may not) —
 

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So, after about 30 minutes, Had’s clothes are under control again. Ahhhh. Nice.

And maybe…just maybe Winston helped.

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Maybe.

Bursts

Happy Presidents’ Day, guys!! Home with the munchkin today.

For whatever reason – winter doldrums, lack of exercise, the “the less you do, the less you can do” syndrome (I just made up) – I’ve got wicked low energy lately. And, of course you know what that means, right? One thing has to fall to the wayside. The same thing, all the time.


Cleaning.

At least, that’s what gets neglected around here. Don’t tell my mom (sorry, Mom!!); she’s got very high cleanliness standards. She called my sis and I “Cinderella” (and maybe our brothers from time to time).

At least I suppose the standards are there to some extent. I know and cringe when something’s filthy or dusty or precariously piled. But finding the energy to get it checked off the to-do list is another story.

I’ve seen something interesting about cleaning on no less than 20 other blogs (and probably 20 magazines before I was a blog reader), which tells us to use a 15 minute period throughout the day (as we find them) to accomplish something.

It could be spending 15 minutes doing the prep work for some freezer meals. It could be 15 minutes working on a small project you’ve had on your list for years. But, more likely than not, since cleaning is dreaded by so many people, it’ll be performing a chore around the house. And I’m calling them “bursts” (get it? A “burst” of energy?)…’cuz I’ve gotta categorize everything. Weirdo.

I decided to use my kitchen dry erase board to make a continual list of chores that can be accomplished in about 15 minutes. Y’know — while on the phone or just to achieve that “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” philosophy before heading to bed or for that moment that I sigh after putting the baby down for a nap when my brain goes blank.

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While I was at it, I decided to start in the kitchen with one (yes, one) cabinet shelf. But, it’s the dreaded baby shelf, which I’ve been planning on organizing for awhile since Hadman only uses a particular type of sip-cup. So, in under 15 minutes, it went from this…

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to this…

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with this left to lug into the basement (which I did…but it all needs to be re-organized, of course)…

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It’s funny how kids only use ONE particular “style” of beverage receptacle, huh? And it’s sad to be packing away the last of the bottles, but it’s all good.

Oh, and by the way, the cabinet is completely clean (I scrubbed it), but it’s in dire need of painting — along with the rest of the kitchen cabinets. Needless to say, that’ll be a burst of more than 15 minutes worth of energy. 😉

I’ll be sharing a handful more “bursts” I’ve already used to get myself off my hibernating hiney. Otherwise, it’s so darn easy to wile away a snow day! 

Hanging Around – Round 2

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! With how much I’ve been doing with him and the civil rights movement at school, I feel kind of guilty that I’m sitting finally writing a blog post while the baby naps rather than going out to honor his memory with some duty-filled action. Well, he’s with me in thought, at least. Is anyone out there filling their karma bucket with all sorts of humanity-oriented activities today?

The last time we hung (hanged?) something on the bathroom walls, there was cursing. There was disappointment. There was anger. Knowing this, my hopes were low and my defenses were up when we finally got around to installing our floating wall shelves.


I was fearful, first, that the shelves would look disproportionate in our tiny potty room. Spoiler alert: They turned out to be the perfect size for our needs. Secondly, when it comes to an item that needs to be level, picture me sweating bullets — especially in this notoriously uneven house. Again, things worked out for the best.

Miracle of miracles!

Here’s how these things work —

1) Hold up the shelf to get an idea of where you’d like it to go. We lightly marked the wall (top and sides) with a pencil. (I erased these marks after we marked for the anchors.)

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2) Mark and drill spots for the support and anchors to go. I love that anchors exist, but Dave HATES them — and with good reason. The directions often say to use a particular size drill bit, but 9 times out of 10 when you start to hammer it in, the hole’s too small. This time, we were missing the bit they suggested to use, so he used a smaller size and kind of hollowed out the hole to make it the right size. While I wouldn’t advise this method, it worked fine.

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3) Hammer anchors into wall. Hold up the support bracket and drill into anchors. There are actually more holes to use than screws, but as long as you don’t put all the screws on one side (um, duh? I know you guys are smarter than that…right?), you’re golden.

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4) Slide the shelf onto the bracket and drill the the two screws in to attach it to the bracket. You can either have the screws facing upward (so nobody sees them) or downward, depending on your need. I did the bottom one downward since no one would really see it, and the top one facing the ceiling since it would’ve stuck out like a sore thumb.

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And, by all means, if you can get a trained professional to oversee, please do.
Ours is named Winston.

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Aaaaahhh!!! Beauteous!


5) Load stuff on and style it to your heart’s content. I’m sure I’ll adjust this a million more times, but for now it’s so nice to have the additional storage back (we used to use a run-of-the-mill over-the-toilet storage unit, but I’d dreamed — yes, literally dreamed — of having something more modern and open like this forever) and fun accessories to play with.

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Thar’s Q-tips in them thar mercury glass.

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Yep, the hubs really and truly uses an old-school double razor thingamabob.
With a boar’s hair brush.

I love that guy!

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I moved in one of my all-time favorite cheap-o DIY art pieces. Old game numbers (antique shop) + unused matted frame + glue (+ burlap, if needed) = vintage-y art.
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More vintage with that turquoise blue side-bottle.

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While we’re at it, I thought I’d show the shower curtain that I finally put up. I kept my previous white one (it’s not in the best of shape thanks to a cat claw or two, but it IS white) in case it’s advised that we tone it down when we one day sell the house. But, for now, the punch of fun, bohemian color makes me happy. Plus, it makes the space go from boring tan-and-white to something more special and “us.” Unfortunately, I also realized that the color in the painting that I made was a tad too pink to coordinate well, so after trying to glaze some deeper orange into it (it’s better…but that’s a hard frickin’ orange to match!), I think I may go with something simpler.

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I do love it, though!

So, all I really have left in this room is to figure out a window treatment, then attack the shower surround. For now, we’ll just keep the shower curtain drawn and assume it’s finished. *wink*

It’s funny how it has taken so long to git ‘er done, but once I finally picked up steam, it came quickly. That being said, I’ve got some more painting/fixing-up to start in a couple of other rooms soon, too. Is anyone else full-steam-ahead on any projects?

Coat Closet 2.0

Alternate title: Skeletons Scarves in the Closet.

So, I cleaned this closet a couple of years ago. I’m pretty sure that I’ve cleaned it since, but not for quite awhile. Liiiike…I didn’t have to switch our coats out when the cold weather came around this year. Let’s just blame it on the fact that parenting an infant was our priority over supah clean closets last year and move on, m’kay?

The issues with the “before” is mostly the pit of nothingness on the bottom, the fact that every time I put anything on the top shelf it fell back down immediately, and the sheer number of coats. SO. MUCH. CRAP. My breast pump (which we no longer need) was still in there…but it’s not like you can even see it. Purses? A puffy vest? Scarves? Unused yoga mat? Those, we see. 

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The top had a few issues, but was relatively quick compared to the rest of the hot mess going on.

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The thing is, I sat in the living room for countless hours thinking about what a pain in the bum it was going to be to get this chore done. Hence, it sat unfinished. Isn’t that how it usually works? I could’ve pulled a “put a favorite movie on and just pull everything out.” But, regardless, I finally had a moment of clarity, realizing that it would actually be relatively simple enough to do, even with a little one running around. Not fun, mind you, but not hard.

So, I attacked the coats and scarves mercilessly. I couldn’t get rid of too many jackets since our weather likes to flip flop a lot this time of year, but we did purge a couple. The scarves were another thing, though. The ones I don’t use whatsoever, I put in a pile to donate. There are a couple that I’m on the fence about, so I’ll keep a thumb on the situation and purge them as needed. It’s a process.

Then, I turned my attention to the bottom business. Snow pants got hung on the Command hook I put up back in the day, purses got emptied (probably the lengthiest part of the job, but it was kind of entertaining finding two flash drives — after buying a new one for myself for Christmas — and notes and lists from several years ago) and flung in a tote in the basement or donated, and so on. That being said, one of my favorite yet busted-but-maybe-someone-will-like-it-anyway purses was donated, so I’m on the lookout for yet another. I’ve got a million medium-sized bags, but need a larger one that’s easier for everyday; read: in which my lunch and water bottle will fit. A big style-factor and ability to match the almost constant brown or black that I wear to work is a must, as well. Sometimes cleaning makes you realize what you don’t need, and what you REALLY, REALLY DO need.

Finally, I pulled out the step ladder and pulled out and reorganized the top shelf (namely, the two cheap little shelf thingies and the large fabric bin with long-since-used mittens, gloves, hats, etc.) It’s nice to know where those random things I always find myself searching aimlessly for will be easily at-hand now. Oh, and not pelting me in the head when I open the door. That’ll be nice.

Here’s what it looks like now:

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Those two metal hangers on the door were here when we moved in. They seem pretty old (maybe the ’50s?), and I almost got rid of the one on top. Luckily, I didn’t, since Dave got “into” old-style hats.  And, yes. The door closes easily again. Isn’t that really the ultimate goal in life? To comfortably close a door? Or is that just me? *1,000 points for anyone who can name the picture on our calendar in the background, or at least the artist.*

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Closed!

Speaking of finally getting on top of a dreaded task, let’s just say that we’ve been spending a bit of time in the bathroom…and, no, we don’t have the stomach bug. 😉 I’m not done (of COURSE!), but most of it looks finished, and that. Is. Exciting. Exciting enough to keep me motivated enough to finish the last couple of bits before, y’know, 2015.