Category Archives: organizing

kitchen love: fridge

I recently heard someone refer to housework as “home care” and I really like that. Somehow just changing the language makes it feel less like work and more like the relationship with the house I was talking about in my last post. The idea of “caring” for our home sounds so much more appealing than “working” on it.

I always tell myself I’m going to participate in the Apartment Therapy Home Cure, but guess what? I know myself too well, and I know that the schedule that’s required to keep up with that is just not going to happen in my life. Instead I’ve decided to just go with a modified version that I can do on my own time. I’m planning to work on each room in the house, one at a time, and give each room a little TLC. And in keeping with the “monotasking” resolution, I’m not going to think about any other rooms until I’m finished.

I’m starting out with the kitchen, which is a room that is pretty much set, but there’ve been some straggler things I haven’t done, as well as some upkeep items I need to take care of. So yesterday, January 1st, I dragged myself off the couch and out of my pjs and took the opportunity to get started by cleaning the refrigerator. Like, REALLY cleaning it. I got all up in that fridge’s business and gave it the cleaning of a lifetime. I found areas that I never knew existed, and accordingly filth that I never knew existed. I found an entire little bag of Babybel cheeses in a weird nether-region behind one of the crisper drawers. I employed the use of sponges and dish soap, toothpicks, antibacterial wipes, paper towels, you name it. I threw out stuff that had expiration dates of 2012. I cleaned that mofo like nobody’s business.

GROSSNESS:

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LESS GROSSNESS:

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So here’s the kitchen list as it currently stands:

scrub floor
wash windows
sand and oil countertops
clean fridge
clean out cabinets
hang a print
clean the oven
wash all canisters
fix vent hood
repaint windowsill
touch up cabinets
hang shelf in window
purge uneeded things
door curtain – wash and hem

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cutting your losses

At least a year ago, I bought a rug on Overstock.  I paid $180 for it – a nice 8×10 orange jute rug.  I thought it would lend a nice pop of color to the dining room.  I got the mailroom guy at work to help me lug it into the car.  Then Greg and I lugged it into the house.  It was like dragging around a dead body.  A very long, skinny, dead body.  We took it out of the plastic slip, began to unroll it, and immediately realized it was way too big for the room.  I’m not sure exactly what my thought process had been in purchasing an 8×10 rug, as it was meant to replace a 6×9 rug that, although drab, fits perfectly under the dining table. But regardless, it was going to cost about $70 to ship it back, so no thanks.  

We spent the better part of that Friday night rolling the rug back up and trying to wrestle it back into the plastic slip.  It was sweaty, exhausting, and dirty work.  Then we lugged it upstairs to the guest room where it awaited its fate.  Until, that is, a few months later when we actually had guests and had to lug it down to the basement, where it lived, propped up on an old door and some cinderblocks, for the next year.

In the ensuing year, I posted the rug on Craiglist several times, just wanting to get some of my $180 back.  I posted it on my office classifieds with no luck.  And all the while we had to climb over and around this stupid thing taking up half the basement.

Finally a few weeks ago, I said enough is enough.  We decided to just load it up and schlep it down to the Goodwill and be done with it.  As a last ditch effort, I asked a friend who had just moved into a rather large apartment that she was trying to fill, and she jumped at the chance.  So last night, after a year and change of kicking this thing around, lugging it here there and everywhere, we loaded it up in the car one last time, lugged it into her apartment, dropped it on the floor and said, “NO BACKS!!”  

This sort of thing happens all the time with me.  I buy something that just isn’t really quite right, but it feels like such a waste to get rid of it so instead I just sit on it for ages and ages and generally avoid dealing with it.  I cringed at the thought of spending $180 on something that we got NO use out of whatsoever.  But honestly, that thing has been such a millstone around my neck that it was just completely not worth the stress.  I think you have to allow yourself to make mistakes like these in life, to just cut your losses and move on. And what we’ve definitely discovered in the past few years of living here is that sometimes the feeling of relief from unburdening yourself of material possessions has far more valuable than the thing itself did.

Oh and as a bonus, my friend sent me a photo of the rug in its new home in her bedroom, and it looks fantastic. Nothing like a little closure.

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A dab of obsession plus a dash of compulsion

I think I’ve posted before about my terrible case of house-related ADD.  The minute I think about a project, there’s about fifteen other projects that immediately jump to mind, and they’re all jostling for my attention.  Over the years I’ve learned that multitasking house projects is a recipe for half-assed disaster. So I’ve been trying something new lately, inspired by my attempt to develop a meditation practice: I obsessively focus one ONE project.

It started a few weeks ago when Greg was away camping.  A weekend alone makes my mind reel with the possibilities of what I’ll get done when I’m not pressured to do annoying things, like leave the house and eat real meals.  Unfortunately history has taught me that a free weekend full of possibilities can quickly turn into a depressing Sunday night of failure when you try to fit too much in.  I typically go through four stages:  1.  Excitement.  2.  Overwhelmingness (yes I just made up that word) 3. Paralysis and 4. Eating a block of cheese and watching X-Files reruns.  

Actually remembering these past failures, this time I decided not to overdo it.  My only goal for the entire weekend was to finish painting the new bedroom doors, and do it well.  A very doable project.  Anything more than that was free game.  So leading up to the weekend, I kept thinking about the doors, and nothing else.  I burned it into my brain.  “Just paint the doors.  Just paint the doors.  Just paint the doors.”  And amazingly, it worked.  I painted the damn doors.  I listened to some podcasts, took time to tape everything off, get all my materials gathered, and do it properly.  And since I felt so gosh darn good about myself for doing that, I was able to spend the rest of the weekend (between coats of paint) doing things like hanging out reading at a coffee shop and going out for dinner and drinks with friends, and yes, watching X-Files reruns.  But it wasn’t depressing, “I love you Mulder, but I should really be working on cleaning up the office” X-Files reruns, it was actual “I deserve to hang out with my boyfriend Fox because I worked so hard on those doors” X-Files reruns.  

So I’ve been putting this to use on other projects and it seems to be working pretty well.  Going into this past weekend, my only goal was to switch out my winter clothes.  So when Sunday came and the drizzle started drizzling, I was all prepared with what to do.  

Next on the obsession list?  Working on the laundry room.  But the trick is that I didn’t think about it.  It was somewhere in the distant back of my mind that the laundry room needed to be cleaned up, but I kept that feeling at bay and didn’t let it get in the way of the “switch out my winter clothes” declaration.  But it was there, patiently waiting in the wings for when the closet
was done, at which point it jumped out and screamed, “IS IT MY TURN!?!  Oh pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!!!”  So Monday afternoon while the rest of the east coast was suffering devastating  wind and storm surges, I was hunkered down with the vacuum, some masking tape and a Sharpie, as evidenced by my last post.

What’s that you say?  Three instances do not a trend make? Well first off that’s actually wrong, according to my memory of plotting points on a graph in geometry. But if that’s not enough for you, stay tuned for the results of my most recent obsessive project…

Cabin fever cleaning

If only we had more hurricanes, I’d get so much done around here. I spent yesterday performing the dreaded semiannual “Seasonal Clothing Switch.” Normally that happens in about January after I’ve made do with layering all my summer clothes over tights for three freezing months. Not this time, no sirree. I finished up work at about 1 this afternoon and spent a few hours reclaiming the laundry room. Unfortunately I didn’t think to take any before pictures, but try to imagine piles of old dog beds and blankets, overflowing boxes, bags of donation clothing, and a metric ton of cat hair and dust. Got the picture? Ok, then take a look at the semi-finished product:

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The pegboard is “attached” to the washer (i.e. propped up against) with magnetic clips and holds the majority of the attachments for my beloved Dyson vacuum. And yes, the attachments do sometimes fall off during a particularly rigorous spin cycle. And yes, it does scare the crap out of us.

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A suction cup hook on the side of the dryer holds our laundry bags.

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The Martha in me wanted to label everything with daintily typed stickers, but in the absence of that nice stuff, I did some half-assed masking tape labels.

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I even labeled the hamper, and hung a bag that’s to be used specifically for bleachable items!

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I also finally set up the folding table that I picked up a few months ago because I was so tired of trying to fold fitted sheets without letting them touch the cat-hair-and-dust-laden floor. Why not fold them on the bed, you ask? Because then they’d touch the dog-hair-laden duvet. Duh.

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Who knows what sort of fun/nerdy project I’ll work on tomorrow! That is, if we still have a house tomorrow.

Also, I’d like to thank Zac for outing this blog and forcing me to post something. You should now go read his blog, where he’ll actually be doing real things, as opposed to posting about masking tape labels.

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