Coming Clean

comicme.jpg“Well. I really like what you’ve been doing to your house.” So said The Commander, who is down here via the GG and Froggy Taxi Service to attend her brother-in-law Jerry’s funeral. It is an interesting taxi service, since it involves driving The Commander’s vee-hickle down here. Anyway, I really haven’t done *anything* to my house. Except that, for the last year, I have been deeeeeee-cluttering it! Am I finished? No, I am not. When will I be finished? I dunno. It took 22 years to get it into a landfill-like state and I don’t expect it to get cleaned up in a matter of weeks. What was that old saying about building Rome in a day? Or whatever. Actually, the place probably hit a critical mass, oh around four or five years ago. Right around the time people started fledging out of the nest. Somehow it took me until last winter to get around to taking some action.

But the house does look pretty darn good if you don’t go down into the dungeon. I have a confession to make. I didn’t get to this point alone. A couple years ago, I was yet again kvetching about how awful my house was. Elizilla happened to be the receiving end of that particular volley. She said, “Moom, you should check out Flylady’s website. One of my friends uses it. Maybe it would help you.” Out of the mouths of babes, er, 21-year-olds. I did check out the website at that time and, I have to admit, I thought it was a little hokey. Why did I need a little bug lady to email me housekeeping routines and missions and things. Back in the dark ages, I used to do that stuff myself. I had regular housekeeping routines that I kept up religiously and I was a master at meal-planning and I even had a spreadsheet that was coded so I could sort it to make my list fit into the aisle configuration of all my favorite grocery stores. And even at the worst of it all, I was keeping the kitchen and the Blue and Only Bathroom clean and doing the laundry regularly. So was it really that bad? I stuffed the flylady website way back into the back of my mind.

I don’t exactly know when everything started to head south. But a year ago, when the holidays were over, after a couple years of school and funerals and living out of an ancient LL Bean duffle bag and a couple of dirt-encrusted Hondas, I was sitting there feeling like I’d been run over by a train. Something had to change. Tentatively, I went out to the Flylady site again. Tentatively, I subscribed to the email group. It turned out to be what I needed. Constant gentle reminders to keep up with regular chores and reassurance that if you pick away at disaster areas, eventually you will get them cleaned up. The whole plan is based on 15 minute chunks of time (or even less sometimes). What can you do in 15 minutes? You might be surprised.

I’m proselytizing a bit here, I guess. My house is still messy. And meal-planning still eludes me for the most part. But I am making progress. My *mother* even noticed it. My favorite Flylady saying (among many) is “Your house is not a museum for other’s people’s stuff.” Yes, yes, yes. Except I may have gone a bit overboard when I rejected the old red footstool that I can remember from the beginning of time. Thankfully, the GG and Froggy rescued that and it now resides at Houghton Lake.

Good night and may your house always be spotlessly clean and have no clutter (kidding 😉 )
Kayak Woman, formerly Garbage Woman

4 Responses to “Coming Clean”

  1. Kathy Farnell Says:

    Hi. Glad to hear that your mom made it down for a visit. Sorry about her brother-in-law. Hopefully you can do a few enjoyable things while she is visiting. Doug and I are at HL for the weekend. Sally said that Bill stopped by her house. We thought he was on his way here. He must have been on the way to your moms house to get her. Well, enjoy some time with your mom and don’t clean anything. Your’e making me look bad, Anne. First Mouse finishes a project, now you clean your house. Pressure! Can’t stand the pressure! Love ya anyhow. Kathy

  2. Pooh Says:

    There was a TV ad for Pledge touting how it saved time, by keeping the dust from resettling, or something or other. I was laughing b/c I save even more time by not dusting. “What, Never? Well, hardly ever! Hardly ever dust at all…” (Name that tune, G&S fans)
    Once a year, whether it needs it or not, or something like that. Or when out-of-town guests like my parents are visiting.

    I did clean out a couple of drawers last week. WOW, were there some way-back items! Such as the square-necked Mexican peasant top from HIGH SCHOOL! And the hand-dyed hot pink CSC softball team shirt, circa 1979. And the bathing suit that was so old the elastic sounded like Rice Krispies when the milk is added. And the exercise wear that might still fit, had I kept up the exercise! And so on. I cleaned out one drawer completely, and consolidated the other stuff and my bike clothes into one drawer. YEAH!

    So, congratulations on your de-cluttering. Keep up the good work. May the “Story of Stuff” not be an autobiography.

  3. kayak woman Says:

    Well, my house is still nowhere near perfect and I am not a great duster and I *hate* vacuuming!!! But there is progress and I’ll take it.

    The GG drove up to Siberia on Thursday to attend a North Country Trail board meeting. He stayed overnight at The Commander’s house and drove her down here yesterday — in one of her vee-hickles.

    Tomorrow we will drive her back up and return to the southland on Monday, which we both have off work. A short visit but good to connect with the MacMullan clan.

  4. jane Says:

    I don’t know the exact name of the song that Pooh quoted (sort of), but it’s from HMS Pinafore, and it’s the tune referring to never using a big, big D! well, hardly ever.

    speaking of hardly ever – dusting! hate it. although I am a fan of Swiffer dusters. following in Banana’s Tevas I am in the midst of de-cluttering. I have to get rid of much stuff and finally am doing it! once I open a box, almost all of it ends up in the trash. slowly but surely I’ll get thru all my stuff and in the end I’ll have much less to deal with. woo hoo!