Balance versus Perfection

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).

Tackling Projects Family Style

So my lovely parents came to visit me this weekend, largely to help me buy a car, because the last time I bought a car it was a really weaselly high pressure sale situation and I didn’t want to do that alone. Turns out the folks where I bought my car don’t play that game, and I had Janice squared away in a few hours on Friday night. (Signing all the paperwork took longer than anything else.)

So on Saturday we all got up around 7, had breakfast burritos, and then swung by HomeThing, picked up some boxes, and started packing and purging. Dad took care of all of my good china, the tea sets, and my serving dishes – destined for storage at their house for the time being. Mom and I purged the refrigerator, made lunch, went through all my decorations and purged them down to one large and one small bin. We went through the Steamer Trunk as well (though most of the stuff in there is staying in there), and added some things to it for long term storage.

We also took two trips to Goodwill with donations (including a set of dishes), a trip to AutoThing for a sun shade for Janice, a trip to Armand Bayou to walk around and enjoy the weather (which was brisk but pleasant) and the fully-in-bloom Oasis Garden, and a trip to Specs, followed by Birthday Dinner, showers for everyone, and into bed.

This morning, Dad built the cat-stairs for the bedroom, Mom and I finished up some stuff in the kitchen, and I got them on the road around 10:30.

After which I flat crashed for about five hours.

Right now I’m in the process of purging and organizing the pantry (which is narrow, deep, and kind of a black hole).

I’m looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, just so I can get some downtime, lol.

Making hay while the sun shines

Thursday we closed on the house.

Friday, my dad and grandparents came with a truck of stuff from their storage unit that had been saved for us in the new house.  Since their arrival, Spaceship Husband and I have been working basically nonstop, with the help of our various guests.  My family left Saturday evening, and my best friend (since 7th grade) came down on Sunday around noon with her hubby’s truck and a lot of elbow grease (and a lawn mower).

The schedule, thus far, has been as follows (you can see photographic progress here ):

Friday

  • Unload truck into Garage
  • Strip wallpaper from Dining room – discover gold foil wallpaper underneath green speckled mess.  *fabulous*
  • Strip wallpaper from Kitchen – discover cute-ish floral wallpaper underneath.  Why did they paper over it!?
  • Strip magenta layer of wallpaper from front bedroom – discover magenta woodgrain wallpaper is papered over a painted wall, that has two more layers of vinyl wallpaper underneath

Saturday

  • Clean oven
  • Strip wallpaper from entry way
  • Continue stripping wallpaper from front bedroom
  • Partially pack apartment
  • Fix the back sliding door, clean all sunroom windows.
  • Tour of entire yard with Dad the tree-ologist for info on shrubs and yard care.  Discover previous owner left behind a two garden hoses, both in good condition.  Yay!
  • Buy mold-killing/mildew reducing/covers up awful neon peach paint primer, some really cheap but pretty flowers for the front bed ($3 for 25 marigold plants = good!) and a lot of other stuff, at Hardware store

Sunday

  • Scrub walls in master bedroom and bath to prep for priming
  • Clean bar area, remove all hardware and shelf paper
  • Prime bedroom, bathroom.  Nearly die of paint fumes – apparently mold-killing primer is good for making sure there is no mold in your lungs either.  /hack /cough
  • Pack up all the wallpaper junk, place at the curb for trash guys

Monday

  • Pack all books, craft closet, master closet, living room
  • Load truck
  • Truck goes to house and is unpacked
  • Hardware store trip #1 – paint samples, ceiling paint, trim paint, more rollers, a shovel, lightbulbs, cabinet hardware testers, and some light faceplates
  • Unpack books, break down boxes.  Watch as ceiling fan falls on husband who is trying to remove it so we can paint the ceiling.
  • Paint ceiling in bedroom and bathroom, swatch grey-blue bedroom paint.  Double coat.  Hem and haw.  Decide grey blue is nice, esp next to bedroom fabrics
  • Finish stripping all wallpaper from front bedroom, totally destroy that sheetrock too.  Decide that under no circumstances will I ever utter “you know, I think we should put up wallpaper”.  Also decide that no matter what someone tells you, ALWAYS put primer under stuff, and ALWAYS take the wallpaper off before you put up new.  Yeeesh.
  • Hardware store trip #2 – bedroom/bathroom paint!, more rollers, light plates, outlets that aren’t almond or dingy grey for the kitchen, MORE cabinet hardware testers, a 62lb bucket of drywall mud for plastering, and more lightbulbs.
  • Pack up more of the apartment – computer room is looking kind of bare, as is living room.

Of course – I did not NEARLY do all of this by myself – I’ve had SO much help – I don’t know how we’d have gotten this done without the people that have volunteered time and various tools to help us out. Since we’re trying to get at least the bedroom and the kitchen done before we move in, this has been a HUGE time sink for us – and all the help means we’re literally getting double the work done. (I totally owe my best friend… but I know I can repay the favor when she and her hubby move in the next year or so – they’re starting to plan for buying a house!)

Not only have the extra hands been great, having a pickup truck at our disposal means that we’re cutting down on moving costs later when we have to pay the guys with the truck to schlep our furniture over to the new place.

So far the only snag is with the electricity – way to go house inspector of FAIL not noticing that there’s a problem with the electric lines that go to the meter, and we have to get an electrician out to fix it.

Tomorrow, the bedroom will get painted, the yardwork finished, and we’re doing our first wall plaster/texture learning bit in the front bedroom (that way if it sucks, it’s not in the entryway).  If it doesn’t suck, we’ll start on the kitchen!

Box Physics

When your stuff is put away in your house, it looks normal.

As soon as you put open boxes and begin to pack your stuff, it expands to 3 times its original size.

Once you close the boxes, you are somewhat amazed, as it returns to normalcy.

Then, when you put the boxes in your car, THEY expand to 3 times their original size, and refuse to fit through the door of your car – unless you have a truck, and then they multiply in number like rabbits.