So I tend to be the kind of person who has two speeds – 0 and 110. There is no in-between, it’s all-or-nothing. This is how I can be a person who so desperately craves order, stability, and tidiness and still have a messy apartment. If I can’t do EVERYTHING, I just don’t do ANYTHING, and then I marathon clean.
Through the years I’ve tried a number of “methods” for dealing with this. Some, like FlyLady, made me absolutely batshit, from the gender essentialism and the Jesus talk to the idea that I should be spending 15 minutes 3-5 times a day cleaning… it wasn’t a good fit. Especially now that I work from home. Some, like The Organized Mum Method (TOMM), were clearly designed for someone who wanted to be cleaning way more than I do, and who was working around little kids as the primary caregiver (though with less gender essentialism, thankfully).
The only one that’s ever really made a dent is UnFuck Your Habitat, by Rachel Hoffman. Hoffman makes no bones that cleaning kind of sucks, but that everyone has to do it. She vehemently speaks out against gender bullshit, actively advocates for those of us with mental health issues, and is generally speaking someone whose advice I have gotten a lot of good from.
The problem? It still relies on my doing a little bit of something every day, and while I’m slowly getting better at that, I’m still not good at it.
Enter my current life situation – I’m moving on May 9. That’s 66 days from today – nine weeks from Saturday. And I’m kind of thoroughly ensconced in this little apartment, and the place I’m moving to is smaller and has less storage, so I’m needing to declutter a lot. I could ignore this until April 15, pack in a whirlwind, stress myself to kingdom come, get it all done in a fit of furious work, and end up being just fine, but the last time I did that, I was getting divorced and it was frankly really traumatic.
So instead I’m trying a different method. I’ve committed to spending at least 20 minutes, six days a week (I get one day off) doing SOMETHING that will make moving easier. Decluttering, boxing things up, moving clothes from my closet into my chest of drawers, taking out trash, taking trips to goodwill, whatever. As long as it is taking steps towards moving, it counts. And so far (I’m a little over a week in) I’m actually sticking to it.
It’s not fun exactly, but it is fun to see my apartment coming together, especially as I clear out layers of clutter that I haven’t really looked at in three years. (Also I’m astonished how much STUFF I still have, for living in a one bedroom apartment.)
So here’s what I did with today’s 20 minutes:
- went through my earrings and pitched all the ones that I didn’t love (this was most of them, as they’d all gotten very tarnished and most were cheap)
- packed up all my RPG stuff that isn’t my actively-in-use 5E books
- discarded some old shoes that I don’t like/don’t wear/etc
It’s not the most organized process, and that’s a bit unlike me (normally in the past I would have spent three hours making a spreadsheet), but I’m slowly making a dent in the “moving sucks” pile, and it’s felt really good. Depression is kicking my ass, but I can still do 20 minutes on a break from my work day – I find if I don’t do things early in the day I run out of spell slots and end up not actually getting anything done.
I’ll check in with more progress as we go, but for now this feels like I’m at least chipping away at something instead of ignoring it until the last minute and then doing it all in one fell swoop (and hating myself the whole time).