Cat · Organization · The Dreaded House

Vacuuming Scares the Cat (and other excuses for not cleaning my house)

I have a great title for a book. The ADHD Guide to Getting Your Sh*t Together (and throwing it out.)

I’m a really good housekeeper on the inside. Inside my mind, I mean. I absolutely love the idea of a comfortable, minimalist home where there is only what we need and use, and everything has its storage place, and everyone puts stuff away properly after they use it. I fantasize about hiring one of those “we take your junk” services, and a couple of strong men, and ruthlessly going through our house saying, “Take that, and that, and that, and that, and that…” and ending up with so much stuff just….gone. I don’t want to have to sort it, or have a garage sale, or haul it away myself, or sell it, or donate it, or see if one of the kids wants it. I just want it out of here.

But that is a fantasy because … I have slight hoarder tendencies. Not like newspaper to the ceiling, or anything. I have lots of stacks. Books I bought and don’t have room for on my shelves. Mail, both important and unimportant. LOTS of yarn. Three junk drawers in the kitchen. I am very territorial about my stacks. I have a general idea of what is in my stacks, and I get anxious if anyone moves them around.

I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I found it inspiring. I know people like to make fun of the spiritual aspect of it, but for those of us who have anxiety about letting go of things, it sort of helped. I would never take the time to address each and every item before letting it go, but there are some things that do require a little ritual to get that tiny extra push to get them out of the house. What I really found most useful about the book was Kondo’s different technique for purging. She advocates tidying by category of stuff, not by the room, or the drawer, or the closet. This appeals to my ADHD ability to hyperfocus (which is a negative term – I like to use the term super-engage). I can super-engage with purging one category of stuff without running into the constant problem of distraction (mostly).

For instance, if I start, in the traditional way, to clean out a junk drawer that has hundreds of items in it, I have to make a discard or keep decision about every item. That part is not hard, I am pretty ruthless. But then I have to make a “Where does it go?” decision about all the keeper items. If I find the stapler and the staples that fit it, I have to decide, “Does this really need to be here? I only staple something about twice a year. Wouldn’t this be better in a plastic box with the hole punch, and extra ink cartridges, and paper fasteners and large mailing envelopes? And where would I put that box? In the downstairs closet under the stairs! Oh, but there’s stuff in there already… .” And before you know it, I’m downstairs going through that closet and all the keeper stuff from the junk drawer is still spread out on the kitchen table. You see my issue.

I’m actually a good cleaner, once a room is uncluttered and everything is stored away. It’s that “putting everything away” part that kills the ride. That and the neurotic cat that hides for hours under the bed every time I vacuum.

The Dreaded House

Extremely Amateur Woodworking

Yes, the kitchen renovation continues. We changed our minds about the flooring, and so that’s not done yet. We have lovely plywood sub-floor, complete with random splinters. I’m loving the counter tops and the new sink and faucet. We are so close and yet so far from being finished. But, hey, it has only been a year since Gary got up one day and started unexpectedly peeling off the 1990’s wallpaper.

While we’re waiting I guess to get up the courage to go buy the flooring, we started building the new trim work for the windows. We are removing the plain builder’s trim and replacing it with craftsman trim. Going from this:

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to this:

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Neither of these pictures is my house. My house looks like this:

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We finished the lower sills yesterday and today we will do the rest. Then I will caulk the ever-loving out of it to fill in the cracks where our best efforts at measuring fell short. Interior trim work is not a job for an obsessive perfectionist. Or maybe it is, because I’m learning a lot about creative adjustments to get pieces of wood to fit together, whether they want to or not. And caulk is an amazing thing. It is my friend. I’m also learning to love sandpaper.

There will come a day when we paint the walls, and we move all the food back into the pantry, and put things on the counters and the walls, and this room looks like a usable kitchen again.

That day is not today.

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Nemesis. He’s loud, scary and smells bad.
The Dreaded House

I have to stop going out in public

Every time I see anyone I know, they say, “How’s the kitchen renovation going?”

It’s like when you’re pregnant and huge and someone asks your due date and you tell them and they go, “Oh…You still have a while….” Yeah.

What I really want to say is, “Remember what it’s like to have that first poop after you’ve had a baby?” To which most women will say, “Oh, god…yes?”

It’s like that. Continue reading “I have to stop going out in public”

Kitchen · The Dreaded House

May the kitchen renovation gods help us.

We’re at the stage of kitchen renovation where it looks like it can’t get worse, but it probably will, before it gets better. I’m trying not to have a full-blown episode about it, but that is not easy.

In case I haven’t mentioned it, this is a weekends (mostly) totally DIY project. I can’t remember exactly when we started, but obviously, we’re still in demo phase. Progress has been made. Walls have been knocked down, a door closed up, sheetrock replaced where there were holes from where the walls came down. Wallpaper has been removed, and as of yesterday, the textured ceiling is scraped and smoothed.

I would like to say we are at the messiest moment, but I’m afraid the mudding and sanding of the sheetrock might be worse.

It will be worth it. It will.

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The Dreaded House

Tiny organization victory.

Not up to tackling anything big, today I went for something small that has a big impact because I open this drawer several times every single day.

The dreaded bathroom vanity drawer.

I don’t know how this is possible, but I threw away half a garbage bag full of stuff from one very small drawer!

It’s easy to be ruthless when it’s just one drawer. I got rid of everything I don’t use, and organized the drawer with the stuff I touch every day near the front. I bought plastic organizers to hold everything, and I lined the bottom of the drawer with clear plastic liner that keeps the organizers from sliding around.

Here’s the finished product:

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See how tiny it is? I don’t know how all that junk was in there!

In other news, I dropped a hard plastic box on my poor, flip-flop clad toe in Bed, Bath and Beyond. It BLED! From a stupid little box. I wanted to cry, but I held it together.

Tomorrow, kitchen cabinet #2 (the one over the vent hood). Check back for a really scary “before” picture!