Tag Archive | cleaning

Round and round she goes…

…where she’ll stop, no one knows.

Spinning in endless circles, revisiting the same issues over and over and over again. Sidestepping them rather than dealing with them, only to meet them again on the next spin around the dance floor. Good evening, Mr. Clutter. How are you tonight, Mr. Procrastination? So kind of you all to stop by. Well, must dash.

I have a lot of, well, let’s call them “challenges” that I am trying to work through. Or rather, that I’m considering trying to work through. (Mr. Procrastination is a persistent suitor who keeps distracting me from actually doing much of anything, and I let him. Mr. Clutter reaps the benefits.)

The one common root running through almost all of those challenges — financial, health, career, spirit, life — is clutter. Clutter in my environment, clutter in my head, clutter on my computer, clutter in my life in general. Stuff. Loads and loads of unnecessary crap. I’ve let Chaos run rampant through my life, providing me with a ready (though pathetically transparent) excuse: “Oh, I’d could fix <whatever> if only I didn’t have this clutter problem. Oh, well. Too late now.”

I’m calling “Bullshit!” on myself.

It’s been over a year since I completed stage one of dehoarding. You won’t be surprised to learn that not only haven’t I moved on to stage two, but I seem to have gotten worse. (It’s much like dieting — you lose 20 pounds only to gain back 30.) I forget too easily how nice, how much lighter it felt after stage one, how much better I feel without the clutter. (If you’ve never been a hoarder, you can’t understand. It truly is like being a drug addict — you know it is bad for you, you know you’d feel better if you stopped, but you just can’t; the pull of the drug is stronger. And it feeds upon itself. The more clutter, the worse you feel. The worse you feel, the worse the clutter gets. )

I was sitting here today, thinking of all the things I need to do and all of those thoughts led back to this intense need to declutter first. I can’t properly concentrate on anything else while the clutter exists so I’m doing a half-assed job of everything else in my life. That can only lead to heartache, so it’s time I smartened up. (How many times have I said that?) Instead of thinking about all of the other stuff on my mind — job hunting, freelancing, health stuff, my mother — I need to spend the next week (or however long it takes) just concentrating on the one thing with the power over all the rest, the 500 lb gorilla on my back.

Edited to add: Ha, just noticed that my Jonathan Cainer horoscope for today includes the following:

You’re tempted to do whatever’s easiest. But if the path of least resistance leads round in a circle, it may be time to embrace the possibility of change, regardless of how much courage this difficult decision demands of you.

Well, there you go.

Hoarder rehab continued – stage one complete

16:30

So, 48 hours later, my apartment is now clean and ready for the start of decluttering. It’s been a long two days — and a good example of the obsessive part of OCD. I hurt all over. Even my fingers hurt . (One of the many drawbacks to being a nail biter is that the flesh to the sides of the nail tip get very sensitive and scrubbing and the use of cleaners makes them very sore. If there are typos or missing spaces in this post, this is why.) I’m almost dizzy with lack of sleep. I just about asphyxiated myself with over zealous use of bleach. My allergies are in overdrive. My tongue is swollen (enough that I’m lisping slightly and keep biting the sides of my tongue). But it’s done.

Living room, pre-declutter
Living room, post-clean, pre-declutter. The pile on the right is about 5′ high and runs the length of the L-shaped couch to the wall.

I found I started feeling lighter as I cleaned more and more. I need to remember this feeling. I broke the hose on my steam cleaner so no more carpet cleaning until I get that replaced — I have mixed feelings about that. And I got so into cleaning the bathroom that I decided to sacrifice my toothbrush to the cause. Unfortunately, I have barely slept and haven’t eaten much more than a few Pop Tarts so I’m a little loopy.

23:00

Managed to get a small nap in, but got woken by someone knocking on my door at 18:30. My leg was asleep so I didn’t get to the door (and almost broke my neck falling) before they moved on to the next one. Now am wide awake again. The tongue swelling is starting to go away, and I’ve eaten. So I’m feeling somewhat better.

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Winter cleaning…or rehabilitating the hoarder

Thinking positively about the job interview I had last week (I WILL get one of the jobs, I WILL get one of the jobs), I decided a winter cleaning of my apartment was required. I’ve been cleaning for many hours and it’s all a little overwhelming. (Kids, this is why you should listen to your mothers and clean up regularly.)

You see, I’m a hoarder. (Oh noes! According to Wikipedia, it’s a slippery slope from hoarding stuff to becoming the Crazy Cat Lady.) Hardly surprising given my other OCD issues, I know. I’m not quite at the level of the people who have 20 years of newspapers in their front room, but, in my own not-so-small way, I’m very much like them. Books, papers, receipts, bills, boxes of floppy disks, computers and computer parts (there are currently six computers here, only two of which are actually useful at this very moment), empty cardboard boxes, miscellaneous junk…it only gets thrown out if it is broken or damaged beyond repair, if I really expect to never have a use for it, or if I do a seasonal cleaning like I’m doing now. I don’t do seasonal cleanings nearly as often as I should.

Have you ever watched the TLC show “Clean Sweep” before? If you have, picture the big tarp they use for the initial sorting, when they take all of the stuff out of the room they’re cleaning and dump it in one massive pile. That’s what my place looks like right now. There’s a five-foot stack of boxes and bags of stuff mounded on the L-shaped couch and coffee table in the living room. Haven’t slept in my bed in ages because it is covered with more boxes of stuff I haven’t found a home for yet, left over from the last seasonal cleaning. A friend of mine keeps recommending Peter Walsh‘s “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” (my environment and weight issues are siamese twins that reflect the mess that is my head), but do I really need another book I probably won’t read? It’s been in my Amazon.ca shopping cart for months, but I haven’t bought it yet. (Aw,crap, my massive “save for later” Amazon.ca shopping cart is yet another hoard, isn’t it.)

So far, so good. I’ve cleared the floor (even steam-cleaned it) and have started organizing bookcases and cupboards. (I know, you’re thinking that couldn’t possibly have taken hours and hours and hours, but it really did.) Need to finish cleaning the kitchen and bathroom and doing the mounds of laundry that have piled up (hey, cool, I have a ton of clothes I’d forgotten I had) . Then I can start on the decluttering. 

Happy thought for the day? I found  my missing citrine worry stone and some items that I’d forgotten I even owned. (Even found an eBay purchase that I hadn’t ever opened — sorry, eBay seller, I clearly never left you feedback for that item.) Sad thought for the day? I have so much work — probably several weeks’ worth — left to do. *sigh*

End of year cleanout

Have decided to make it my primary goal to finish my “spring cleaning” by the end of the year. Got a good start on it today. I can actually see floor now, though my back is killing me.

And I have a load of groceries that are supposed to be arriving any minute now. (They’d better — there’s only another 1/2 hour left in the delivery window and I would hate to find at the last minute that I have to wait until tomorrow, or worse have my order cancelled.) It’s a mix of healthy food and comfort food, assuming they had everything in stock. If not, I’ll have to cab it out tomorrow to pick up something. Not my first choice of ways to pass my time, standing in line at the grocery store during the last minute Christmas rush.

Added later: The groceries finally arrived. Interac machine wasn’t working so I had to write a cheque — I suspect the store won’t be happy about that and that I’ll hear from the delivery guy tomorrow saying he has to get cash or Interac. I remember the cons with ordering your groceries online now. Many items that I was really hoping for weren’t available, I ordered a couple of items wrong myself, and, despite my insistence that there should be no substitutions, they made substitutions. So I have food that I don’t want and won’t eat. I could contact the store tomorrow about it but it’s really not worth the hassle, and I wasn’t going to keep the poor delivery guy here any longer than I had to in order for me to go through everything — it was 10pm and he still had more deliveries to make. I felt bad for him. It’s weird — some of the stuff I was looking forward to didn’t taste as good as I wanted it to and most of the rest is just mediocre. So that was a lot of money spent for food that essentially is just “meh”. Next time I’ll suck it up and brave the crowds.

Living in chaos

Was talking on the phone last night to my best friend and the conversation turned to cleaning. She was in the middle of a massive house clean up. I on the other hand am wallowing on the brink of cleaning mine, unable to make a sufficient dent in the chaos to keep entropy from reclaiming the cleaned spaces, and it grows. It’s kind of like diets — you lose weight but then you gain more back, ending up even heavier and fatter.

I avoid watching Kim Woodburn’s How Clean Is Your House and Kim’s Rude Awakenings because I recognize myself too much in the people (and houses) on the show. Nik and I talked about living in mess and clutter being an outward manifestation of your inner self. (I remember my mother telling me about an article she’d read that talked about people who would clean their homes for visitors but didn’t feel they were worthy of a clean environment themselves.) We also talked about a couple of her favourite books, including Peter Walsh‘s “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” (I used to enjoy watching him on TLC’s Clean Sweep but I stopped watching when it became clear to me that I just wasn’t ready for that kind of brutal cleanout of my own clutter — did it when I moved up here and it was extremely painful, not mention expensive to replace the things I had thrown out that I ultimately needed again.)

Kind of funny to be flipping through the TV channels today, then, and finding that today’s Oprah episode is all about Oprah’s Clean Up Your Messy House Tour. Even funnier to see that the guest was Peter Walsh and to hear them talking about the very things Nik and I were talking about last night. The Tour consists of six monthly assignments, leading towards decluttering. November’s assignment is to sign the pledge, define your vision for your life and space, and commit to 10 minutes a day.

Big, Fun, Scary Adventure Challenge

NaNoWriMo has started up a “Big, Fun, Scary Adventure Challenge” in which members of the board are invited to make and share their goals for the coming year. I’m tempted — but afraid — so I was just reading the Big, Fun, Scary Goal Central thread to see what other people are aiming for. The first page of that thread led me to the Flylady.

“Are YOU living in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) like Franny in the pink sweats? Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don’t know where to start? “

Hmm, sounds familiar. My place looks like a tornado hit — and left no survivors. My environment reflects and affects my state of mind — the more chaotic my head gets, the messier my home gets; the messier my home gets, the more chaotic my head gets. It’s an endless, vicious circle. You know the saying “Garbage In, Garbage Out”? Yeah. That’s me.

Wasn’t I just talking about synchronicity?