the cleaning bug

20 Mar

Today is one of those random days when I just get the itch to clean something. For those of you not keeping track at home, this pretty much never happens. Even weirder, I just flew back into town late last night and then went to work the first part of the day, and on top of that I’m coming down with something, too. It makes no sense – so much time that I spend hearty and hale and only when I am tired and congested do I decide it would be a good time to do a deep clean in our bathroom? Whatever. When I am blessed with the energy and desire to tackle these kinds of household jobs I just go with it.

Honestly, I think I know where this newfound (and certainly temporary) motivation is coming from. I went and saw my bestie, Sarah, in Austin this weekend, and her house is adorable. Your first time staying in a friend’s new (to you) home, you’re definitely looking around and checking things out. A lot of the stuff she has is the stuff she had shortly after we graduated college and I’ve seen it, but it’s a new place with some new things added in, and it’s just totally adorable – well-decorated, expressive of who she is and what she likes, and CLEAN.

Now, I realize, most people do clean before guests come into town, and it’s possible her house isn’t always that clean, but it’s probably always that uncluttered because she just doesn’t have as much shit as I do. After my visit with Sarah I found myself thinking two things: one, I want to have less shit, and two: my bathroom is filthy.

And I’ve had people over with it looking like that. And I knew it looked like that, and I didn’t care that much at the time. But I found myself profoundly appreciative of how clean and orderly her bathroom is and when I stopped to think about it later I was like “huh, probably because I actually hate how dirty and cluttered mine is, but also equally hate taking any time to do anything about it” – and then I subject my friends and family to the product of my laziness.

Also, Sarah was like the world’s perfect hostess – inevitably I compared myself to her and found myself sorely lacking in the clean-places-to-go-pee department, no matter how advanced my skills in alcoholic-beverage-refilling and better-side-of-the-couch-sharing. Also my Christmas tree is still up.

Secondly, I’ve been watching a lot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy ever since it showed up on Netflix. They go into these single-straight-dude bathrooms and point out how dirty things are, how disorganized everything is, how no one should be subjected to these bathrooms – and, let me tell you, the Fab 5 would be pretty grossed out to see mine – they’d probably be like “wait, a woman lives here? aren’t they supposed to care about this stuff?”

Anyway, the point is: I’ve been cleaning my bathroom all afternoon. The toilet is beautiful now. I cleaned the sink and counter, and I’m currently trying to unclog the sink drain a la Jezebel’s recent post on the matter. If I get nothing else accomplished all week, every time I walk in my bathroom I’m gonna feel pretty fine with that.

I’ve said this before, and it hasn’t taken hold yet, but I really think the idea of just cleaning one room or one area at a time works best for me – I can only go on very focused cleaning frenzies. I’m not one to lightly clean everywhere so much as to deep clean in just one place. And then the rest of the house may be disappointing, but at least I have one room that’s perfect. My strategy moving forward is just to clean like this – one task or one area at a time. But I also DO need to go on a major throwing-shit-out, giving-shit-away bender if I ever want to have the uncluttered home I desire with a place for everything and everything in its place.

Being me, my first impulse is just to run out to Target or The Container Store or Ikea and go apeshit buying up all kinds of organizational bins and bookcases and the like – but I really think that’s foolish. I mean, I do need more things to help me keep stuff organized, but I think step one should be getting rid of a bunch of crap. I just kind of have a girl-woody for the idea of organizing – actually doing it is not as fun as buying the cute little patterned boxes and such. So I’m making a new rule – I’m not allowed to buy new storage unless I have first cleaned out an area and will actually have an immediate use for said storage, which should actually also make my storage shopping a lot more focused and useful. See? Just the idea of picking up a few of these storage boxes makes me want to get started cleaning out the hallway closet.

But not today. No, not today.

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