We’re getting settled in our place. I mean. I haven’t even begun to unpack the kitchen yet because shelf liner paper. And I can’t even unpack the office yet until the new desk I ordered gets here (my last desk literally fell apart when they picked it up to load it on the truck). But the living room looks mostly like a living room and my new bed came today and IT’S JUST SO LOVELY.
And I’m supposed to be studying the neurons of the visual system, but instead I’m thinking about how the hell am I going to keep the house as sparkly as it is right now after the Merry Maids were here last week? The answer is I probably won’t. But I’m going to try. Because clean = sane for me.
One of the things I want to write about here at this blog is being the child of a hoarder. And I’d like to write a big introductory post before I start adding in little details, but Life Is Messy and these little details are what’s on my mind right now.
Way back in the dark ages in like 1991 my mom wanted to try to keep the house clean. I don’t remember which era of the house this was. Maybe she was hoping to start from scratch, or maybe it was after my friend’s mom came in and cleaned up for us and bought us fancy peach towels with seashells on them that we weren’t allowed to use. Anyway, my mom found this book about an index card cleaning system. It’s what Flylady is based on, actually. And my mom got as far as buying index cards and a card file box.
Anyway, a couple of years ago when we were cleaning out my mom’s house, we found the book. And I donated it to a thrift store or something. Because like hell I had time for that shit right then. And now that my new place is all sparkly and lovely, I was thinking that maybe it would be nice to find a copy of that book and see if the system might work for me (because another “perk” of being the child of a hoarder is that you don’t know you are supposed to clean certain things like the top of your refrigerator). Only, I realized that I felt very sneaky about this. I felt like I had to keep it a secret that I was thinking about looking for a copy of this book. Because I made the grave error of getting rid of it once and now I’ll have to admit that I’m the wrongiest wronger to ever have wronged. Because hoarders keep things, in part, so that they can always be fully stocked. Some hoarders enjoy sharing the things they’ve kept, and that is part of why they hoard things – to feel useful. (Others don’t want to share the things they hoard. At. All.) But, in my experience, hoarders tend to be very I-told-you-so when you get rid of something and then later need it again. (I’ve also developed a sense that I have to be sneaky about throwing things away because I’ve been yelled at so many times in my life after one hoarder or another picked through my trash and got mad at what I got rid of.)
But the thing is this: YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND THE STUFF YOU NEED. Sure, you might have to buy it all over again, but for most things in life that’s not going to be much of a big deal. And spending the extra $10 to get a new copy of this book is well worth the sanity that not hoarding affords me. I live in a little home. I don’t have space for Stuff I Might Need Someday. I keep the things I definitely need, the things I love, and, if I still have room, the things that are too valuable to replace but will realistically probably be used someday. The rest I can replace.
So the point is that I’m going to look into buying (or borrowing from the library) another copy of this book to keep my sparkly home sparkly. And if it doesn’t work for me after all, that’s okay, too. The other point is that identifying the issues I carry with me from my life with hoarders helps me to isolate it, and remind myself why I’m safe now. The other other point is that I need to go study the neural basis of visual perception now.
May I make a recommendation? Unfuck Your Habitat on Tumblr. Changed my entire mindset (if not quite my habits) about cleaning. There’s also an iPhone/iPad app.
Beat me to it! UFYH is great; I’m still not *there,* but when I moved away form my ex-husband, I realized that I had internalized a lot of what I read/learned, and it’s getting easier to implement. I still don’t put my laundry away enough, but I don’t go through the panic/depressed/shutdown cycle when things get messy anymore.
(I didn’t grow up with hoarders, so I can’t relate to those issues. I grew up in the military. When you don’t really own anything in your home, I feel like you don’t really learn how to take care of it. I mean, you’re just gonna be gone again in three years.)
I looked over that tumblr, Annika, and I followed it, but I’m not sure it’s what I need. I’m not particularly messy (because my sanity relies so strongly on uncluttered environments, I tend to keep things neat most often). I am mostly looking for a system that reminds me to regularly do the deeper cleaning things I forget or don’t know about. But I followed the blog and I’m not sure if it will stress me out or be helpful. heh. We’ll see.
I think you can schedule reminders on the app? I’m not sure. Regardless, if it stresses you out then DROP THAT SHIT. You do not need things that stress you out.
My mom needs to read this post. Well said. And I love your new place!
Love your new bed! Where’s it from? Also, just clean all the time until you get that book. Like, give the shower a scrub after you wash your hair (keep a scrubby brush & baking soda next to the shower, wipe the bathroom counter after you brush your teeth, have a quick clean up and vacuum at the end of the school day. Wipe your kitchen counters real quick after you wash your dishes (after each meal/snack). What this means is, you are not setting aside special time to clean, you are keeping your house clean. Then, when it’s time to really clean, like every other Friday or whatever, you are basically cleaning a clean house and it’s not that bad. And despite my efforts to do this, my kids thwart me at every turn.
Well aside from that bullshit about washing the bathtub all the damn time, that is generally how I operate. It’s really the little things I need help understanding. Like. I just replaced all the doorknobs. And the old ones were all grungy and the new ones are all sparkly. So I assume I’m supposed to clean them. But how often? And how will I remember. Stuff like that. I’m good with the basics. It’s the details I never think about.
Oh for shizzle. I just wish my bathtub got scrubbed all the time…what really happens it is just gets kinda sorta cleaned, like with whatever is on hand. A baby washcloth and dove soap? Check.
I used to think we lived in a particularly dusty area. Like WHY is there so much dust! Then, my grandma mentioned she wipes off the tops of her leather couches with her damp towel before she tosses it in the wash. And I’m like What? Basically, people are dusting all the time. Who knew.
So, I totally get what you are saying about not knowing about what stuff is supposed to be cleaned. Did you know people wash thier walls? Also, those Irish traveler girls wash baseboard. Pshhh.
Having just painted this house I’m a little obsessive about DON’T TOUCH THE WALLS. GET YOUR FEET OFF THE WALLS. DO NOT EXIST NEAR THE WALLS.