Friday, January 13, 2012

Make Your Bed. Lay Down. With Your Cat. And a Loved One.

Because I am in love with The Hairpin, I was reading this article yesterday and was instantly inspired. I've had a rash of a few days off lately (it's all either every other day off or a hundred days on--no middle man with this job, it seems) and I was just laying on my couch feeling lonely and terribly bored. I considered going downstairs and hanging out with Arryn's kids but I knew it was nap time. So I read this article and, like I said, was immediately bit by the bug. I wanted to be organized immediately and no later.
Organized like woah.
My house has never been, by any stretch of the imagination, spottless. Maybe never even clean by some standards. But there are no bugs. There will always be piles of overlooked bills and dust in the corners. It's a fact. And if those things have been assessed recently, well, then I'm sure the garbage is overflowing in the bathroom. But my house is generally pretty reasonably tidy. And when I say "reasonably", I am comparing it to much of the living conditions of a select few roommates during my time at college. Reasonably means that the only dishes left in the living room overnight are usually only drinking glasses. Garbage is usually taken to the bin the morning after a party. Books and magazines are generally never really moved--but at least smooshed together into a semblance of a stack wherever they may lay and on my coffee table right now are... 6 bobby pins, three pairs of earrings, 4 magazines, two bottles of nail polish, a camera and a wrapper from a squirrel nut zipper. Peanut butter caramels, you guys, from the glory days.

But my bedroom--I have thrown "reasonable" to the dogs. This is a space where organization comes to die. But no longer. I walked to my room and saw the floor completely covered in laundry. The side table covered in dust and kleenexes and the table lamp which, I might add, is completely far away from my bed. It's useless over there. My dresser is stacked with books and hair ties and bobby pins and pocket change. Abandoned laundry that, for whatever reason, didn't even make it to the floor. Zero usable space atop that puppy. My unmade bed and laundry, laundry everywhere but not a stitch to wear! I look at the clothes all over my floor and think about the kids in the Compassion International flyers who are wearing sweatshirts that advertize clear Pepsi and say, "da bomb!" and here I am trampling my fine polyester cotton blends! My first world has problems!

I marched to my room, stood in the doorway and texted Alyssa "I don't think I know how to clean my room." Honestly. Want me to make you a fine batch of Choux Pastry? Not a problem. How do you clean a bathroom? Shower, sink, toilet, floor. Work from the top down. Do your socks need a good darning? I could swing it, probably. Cleaning a thoroughly neglected bedroom? No idea. So I decided to do it--write down what I did and then blog about it because while I may be the only person in the world who doesn't know how to clean her bedroom, I'm not the only person who would want to read about it. What? People don't want to read about how to clean? Well, I'm too far in to stop now and do you really think you're going to close this window? I'll bet you don't.

Step One: Survey the Scene. Make a list of the obvious problem areas. What do you hate the most? For me it was 1. Laundry. 2. Clutter/ disorganization. 3. Dust.

And once I recognized what I was up against, I cut the room into sections and tackled. I'm a multi-tasking cleaner which is why I can work for hours and it'll look like I haven't done a damn thing. I'll be cleaning up a table, take a glass into the kitchen, wash it, throw away some stuff, notice a stray bobby pin, take it to the bathroom, clean the mirror, and then what? Nothing. Nothing looks any better.

Step Two: Take it Piece by Piece. Because of my lack of concentration, I knew that I would need some small-timey goals. Easily attainable, easily celebrated and then easy to move on from. Any time I reached a goal, I rewarded myself. Step two-and-a-half: Reward thyself.

First things first, I cleaned off the top of the dresser. When that was clean, I allowed myself to bring in the laptop and stream ancient episodes of This American Life (I think I might mention TAL in every other post--if not more). This was dangerous because where the laptop is, there also is Facebook. But it's all about self restraint. And... I was having some fun.

Next, on to the side table. I cleaned it off entirely and that area looked very short and blank. I didn't like it at all, really, so I brought in the doors that I took off of the china hutch when I turned it into a book shelf a few years ago. They're about three feet tall? That's an estimation from a woman who is absolutely terrible at things like estimation. So, anyway, I wiped them down, leaned them up there and scotch taped up a few old post cards that I keep for sentimental reasons. It adds height and brings in a friendly atmosphere. Now, if anything falls, then this will be the world's worst mess to clean up what with the glass and the spilled wax but for now--looks fun! My reward for successfully completing this area? New Scentsy smell. This really was a treat because I've been wanting to warm this bar of Linger that my sister gifted to me. It's January's scent of the month and it smells so good and feminine without being girly. To quote: "Pink grapefruit, sugared apple, lavish praline, and flirty marshmallow create a fragrance that says 'stay'." So... that's in my bedroom right now... Any.way.

Step Three: Accommodate Habits. Don't fight them. I realized that I was picking up piles of bobby pins and hair ties and pocket change and try as I might, I know that's never going to change. I'm always going to wait to take my hair down until after I get into bed. I know that about me. Instead of trying to break that habit and just setting myself up for inevitible clutter, I just plan to contain it.
Years ago Jamie made me this "mortar and pestle" in a ceramics class. It doesn't really work for a mortar and pestle so it's being used for the first real time since she gave it to me. To hold things that come out of my hair. Something tells me that Jamie doesn't really mind.

I also know that usually, after I get into bed, I remember that I didn't wash my face. But I'm, you know, already in bed and stuff. For the longest time, I'd just fall asleep and wonder if I am a gross person. But, now, I keep a pack'o these things in the top drawer of my dresser. It's pretty much the greatest idea I've ever had (or stolen from Real Simple magazine).  Lets not kid ourselves--you still need a good scrub-a-lub on that face every now and again but sometimes if you just need to take off your makeup--these are more than adequate. They make my face feel soft and clean and they smell awfully pleasant. Which brings me to the need for a little bitty waste basket within arm's reach.

After I accommodated my habits, I took care of the things that I couldn't completely take care of. Or... I took care of the things that I could take care of and piled up the rest. Don't worry--I'll show you the truth, too. I could hang up all of the clothes that sat in the "I'll get to it" pile. Ten points for getting to it! I shoved all of the huge, hunky sweaters into the top of the closet, and I carefully and thoughtfully put away my shoes into the Ikea storage unit that Alyssa gave to me as a part of my birthday gift. That is to say:
Which brings me to Step Four: Plan for the Future. Obviously I've neglected some rather important aspects of adulthood. Things like--laundry hamper (?!) and shoe storage. But, seriously, I see stuff like this and this and this and I know that's not me. I know that sometimes it's amazing that I have the decency to kick my shoes to the corner of the room when I take them off. When I go to put on a pair of tennies and the laces are already undone, I can't help but think, "good on you little lady--unlacing her shoes." So, hanging them up delicately or storing them in individual boxes is not reasonable for me. What is reasonable is finding a nicer basket than the current Ikea storage unit and stowing it away in the open space beneath my side table. Something like this would do. It's not sexy but this girl knows her limitations. I'm 28 years old and I don't have a freakin' laundry hamper! That is to say I consider this room to be cleaned:
Real talk.

My not-too-distant future plans include finding a basket for my shoes--this isn't a dorm. Implementing some semblance of a laundry system (my reward for finishing my bedroom was a no-holds barred pass on Pinterest until Ryan came home from band practice and that was fun--I got some okay ideas. I'm going to keep tiny people as slaves and make them wash my clothes by hand in my bathtub).  Also, hooks. I have too many cardigans/ hoodies/ sweatshirts/ scarves/ hats and not enough patients or space to keep them all folded and tucked away. There are few things I love more than the convenience of handing something one a stinking hook. It's up--it's out of the way. It took eight seconds.

If I can keep my room clean until the summertime, I will reward myself with new bedding. I have had the same sheets since 2008 and my current comforter was one that I settled on at a garage sale. It's nice and squishy and comfy but it's pink and there are flowers all over it. It would make perfect duvet stuffing.
Step Five. Make your bed. Lay down. With your cat and a loved one.

1 comment:

Curly-T said...

I've kept my shoes in a green laundry basket from high school until a year ago. A year ago we moved, laundry basket storage changed, and the green one nestled better with two others, so now a white, refuses-to-nestle laundry basket holds my shoes. It is perfect.
Kudos on the clean room - my master bedroom is always the last cleaned too. Huh.

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