It's that time of year. The season has officially changed. The summer clothes need to packed away for next year, and the lovely sweaters get laundered and brought back out. That always throws me into a cleaning spree. Is fall cleaning a thing? If not, it bloody well should be! It CERTAINLY is a thing here. And this year, happy birthday to me, I am getting my dad's sleeper sofa, which I love. I ALSO inherited two FABULOUS dog crates.
Have I mentioned that my house is tiny? That I have OCD? Yeah......... And now, EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF FURNITURE I OWN HAS TO BE MOVED (except Roo's bed, which is a Goliath beast of a thing and will not move unless and until we are moving out of this house. It took three people four days to get it where it is now!) Also, the laundry/storage room was a big heap of cluttered chaos. I haven't been able to find anything in there since a few weeks after the last time I pulled EVERYTHING out and reorganized it. So I pulled everything out again. But good news! We think we found Hoffa behind the paint cans left behind by some previous inhabitant....
In the last week, I have thrown away two over-full big trash bins (you know, the small dumpster thing the sanitation folks send out?) of junk, my paper recycle bin has been filled to overflowing twice (it's more than overflowing now, and I DON'T think they pick up recycling this week. Oops!!). I've donated TWELVE bags of clothes and shoes, SIX boxes of food-that-isn't-gluten-free, and I am currently looking for the right family to give FIVE bins of toys and games for preschoolers, a play vanity, and a tricycle (Merry Christmas!). I even finally talked myself into throwing away the patio bench that I loved so much that has been broken since May and cannot be fixed.
I've rearranged both bedrooms, the living room, the storage room, and the carport. On Thursday, the lawn will get mowed and edged, and the garden spots will be adorned, and, in theory, my coveted sleeper sofa will be arriving in my living room.
And I am asking myself, again, how do I keep my house and my brain in shape once I have completed my own personal Extreme Home Makeover: Crap You Already Own Edition. I am also asking myself exactly WHERE I am going to store my extra towels now that I've moved the dresser they were stored in into my bedroom and my tall-boy into the storage room to hold art, craft, and school supplies so I can actually FIND them. But that's not what this post is about. Much.
I've tried "organizing," "housekeeping" and other such systems in the past, including letting my OCD and my ADD wage war and wreak havoc in my head - and my kitchen. And ALWAYS, ALWAYS, I overthink things WAY too much, and I let my OCD get the better of me (as it will do, whether you "allow" it to or not!), and I give up, and three months later, I spend ten days trying to sort through boxes of what-the-heck-is-this?! and I-forgot-I-owned-this! Seriously. I went through a box of stuff tongight. I didn't know the box existed, much less the really cool vases and the WEATHER RADIO it contained. I have no idea how long I've had it. Probably all summer. And I've been LOOKING for a weather radio. To PURCHASE. So glad I never got around to that!!
So, I am working my way through the laundry and the storage room at this point, and then, a thorough cleaning of the floors, and I am finished. I am determined that the contents of my storage room shall henceforth remain static. If something goes in, something comes out, and it will only contain (other than the laundry supplies. DUH!) art supplies, craft supplies, school supplies, a spare AC, ceramic space heaters, camping supplies, and seasonal decorations. And I may need to scale those back.
I need to maintain, and keep organizing regularly. But how?
So, I thought I'd give Flylady another go, but this time, I am determined not to try to get ahead of myself. She says to make shining your sink a habit, right? But the "baby steps" are theoretically a month's worth of things. Not me. Not this time. So, here's my plan.
Flylady has "zone missions," right? Each week, they focus on a different area of the house, and each day, there's a short "mission" for that area. I should do that.
I like the ideas at Organizing Made Fun's 31-day challenge. It was for October. Nobody says I can't do it now. It's like a daily mission. I should do that, too. That's two short tasks a day. Morning and afternoon, right?
And I am not doing Flylady's steps in 31 days. I don't shine my sink. It's not even close to a habit. I am just going to work on THAT step and the mission-things until I'm doing it without flipping out on myself or complaining, or stressing. THAT's a better plan for me, I think. I should TOTALLY do that.
I am hoping that maybe this time I can maintain without the crazy anxiety attacks I get. Because, honestly, as mildly as I've got it, OCD is a BEAST. I was talking to a friend tonight while I was working on the patio trying to get stuff done, and I said the following, almost ver batim:
"This is stupid. I am seriously about to have an anxiety attack because I don't have the right bin for my lumber, and I don't know where the lumber goes. And I want it in an opaque bin with no lid. If I am going to use a CLEAR bin, I want my garden stuff in that. Okay, transferring garden stuff to clear bin. That's a bit better. I still don't know where the heck to put it without making it look JUNKY. You know what I need? I need some pallets and some canvas and a sheet of plywood so I can build a little mini-shed-thing to store my garden stuff in, because then it wouldn't look junky. And another one (or two) for my lumber, because that makes SENSE, darn it. And I feel COMPLETELY insane right now, because I can acknowledge that I am about to have an anxiety attack. I can tell you exactly WHAT is triggering my anxiety attack. But I can't do a THING to prevent it, because if I go inside and get away from the trigger, the anxiety is only going to get WORSE. I feel stupid. A stupid, insane, neurotic mess. OMG. Where do these bins go?"
I've got a bunch of laundry to put away. I haven't vacuumed the floor yet. So I can't put the laundry away. I know that's ridiculous. But it's true. And that's neurosis. And it's OCD. And it's my daily self. So. I am going to go put away dishes, wash a couple, because my sink isn't shining right now, and go back to work on the carport and the laundry.
And when I am finished, I have this plan to thoroughly clean my vacuum cleaner. That gives me a bit of anxiety too, because it has to dry for 24-48 hours, and I vacuum about every six hours. Not the whole house, mind, but SOMETHING.
But after THAT, I am going to just see how I do doing the flylady system, basic daily cleaning, and some organizing challenges. Because my life is crisis cleaning, and I can't live like this. Especially not if I am going back to school full-time (starting up again tomorrow! YAY!) and trying to get a "real job"
But where the heck am I going to keep my rag towels?!
I keep trying to just breathe and remember:
Íosa Críost é buadhach (Isous Christos NIKA) (Jesus Christ is Victorious)
Stay tuned for the reason we started learning this phrase! Bullying and Boy Scouts.
With love as always