The Big Clean, Pt. Uhh… the Last One

And… it is done.

Here is the last batch of Before & Afters (or, really, mostly Afters, because I woke up with a massive dehydration headache, and it took me a woefully long time to realize that’s what it was (here I was trying to ply it with yet more coffee), so I spent the better part of the morning in a brain fog).  Sorry if it seems like a lot all at once, but I never posted the pics of the living room yesterday, and neither the hallway/transitional spaces in the house nor the bathrooms really deserved their own post (rest assured the bathrooms got a good cleaning, but they are both too regularly maintained (out of necessity) to make especially interesting Before & Afters).

Living Room Before:


Living Room (and Bedroom) Afters:


I suppose the question now is, what next?  My home is under control, so let’s tick off the first check box under Getting My Life Together in 2020 — what’s the next list item?

Developing a routine, I guess, because my neurodivergent brain is a complete and utter Hot Mess.

Honestly though, I don’t think it’s something I have to develop, it’s just something I actually have to utilize.  My main issue is organization, both of my living space and my head space (ADHD is a bitch, let me tell you).  Sometimes a couple of years ago — maybe a few, at this point — I made myself a set of checklists and organizers, one for a Morning and Evening routine, and one for a cleaning routine.  Both had been printed out, laminated, stuck to the fridge, and… promptly forgotten about.  Which is a shame, because for the few weeks I actually followed them, they really set a wonderful tempo for my life.  The morning and evening routine one was especially, surprisingly effective.  Getting up at a set time, showering in the morning (I was never a Bathe in the Morning person, but wow, it make a difference in the way you face the day), starting the day with breakfast and a glass of water (augmenting, not replacing, my coffee — I need my caffeine, thank you very much), and an uplifting podcast or video?  It really did sort of set the tone for the whole day.

The evening routine was the same.  As soon as my son went to bed, I would wash up, change into pajamas, make some tea, get my inbox to zero, read my blogs and catch up on social media, then turn on a podcast and work on a hobby before getting ready for bed and doing my gratitude journal.  I did breakfast prep, packed my bag, and laid out my outfit the night before as well, which made the morning transition so much smoother.  It was a hugely effective system that I abandoned… why?  Probably, if I’m being honest, because something derailed me temporarily (I was sick, or travelling, or something) and I never quite got back on track.

That’s a huge issue for me.  Falling of the wagon isn’t such a big deal, everyone hits bumps along the way and gets thrown off sometimes.  Never managing to get back on; that’s a big problem.  One that I really would love to leave in 2019.

So I guess the next thing to do is to tweak and update my checklists.  Bear is older now, so a number of tasks on my cleaning checklist need to be updated (he no longer has A Bath Day, he takes baths every other night, and I have phone alarms set for them), and my evening routine no longer includes MyFitnessPal (I’m still working on health/weight loss as a goal this year, just not using MFP), but the integrity of the routine overall still stands.  If I can use and stick to this, I think I have the good basis for having a happier, less stressful new year.

…Oh my God, am I ready?  Am I ready for 2020??

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve; Bear is staying at my mother’s house, and Andy and I are going to a low key party at a friends, then probably coming back to do what we’ve done the last few years — eat chips in bed and watch old Bob’s Burgers episodes as the last minutes of the year tick down.

There are worse ways to ring in the next decade.

Also, have I mentioned how happy I am that I can stop blogging about nothing but cleaning for a little while?  And maybe, like… do some art?? Be creative?  Chat about literally anything else?

3 thoughts on “The Big Clean, Pt. Uhh… the Last One

  1. Congrats on getting the cleaning done –
    Woo hoo!
    Today I mailed out almost a dozen Christmas cards! Better late than next year! Ya

    And Real
    Quick I wanted to mention that you sound like you have personality wiring that you might be resisting – his is just some off the top of my head thinking – so feel free to delete it.
    But some people have a genetic make up that resists routine – they might crave it – desire a regular schedule and might even do well with such structure – but there is part of their creative wiring that needs change – different flows – and different pursuits –
    And when you mention adhd snd doing art / this reminds me of the type of personality that likes variety –
    Of course we all
    Need a schedule – but sometimes people who are so on the routine and regimented are dry and have a different wiring – and we might covet something we think is good when it isn’t – if that makes sense
    – I don’t have time now – but I will try and find this book I have that has a fun section on Apollonian and Dionysian approaches to scheduling.

    Lastly – what really came to my mind when reading what you shared was a convo I had with a lady in the hot tub a couple years ago.
    We chatted a while and I asked her if she came to the gym on certain nights.
    She then elaborated on her inability to keep a routine – and said it would such confidence – she does have structure – they own an old property that can be rented for weddings and she makes good money – but I love how she was so
    Self aware about the change she needed for her – if that makes sense
    And so as you are a high conscientious and strong person – just don’t let you joy get robbed in the planning or check list making – sure – we need this – but when I see the before photos of your home – I don’t see sloppy and I don’t see hoarding – I saw “lived in” and warm home.
    The after looks fine – and it sure does feel great to have the extra space – eh?
    And it will also be nice to start the new year so fresh / but the pre-clean photos whispered of rich life and warmth !


    1. Ah, I was going to do New Year’s cards after missing out of Christmas, but even that looks like it’s not going to happen this year. C’est la vie.

      I hear you, I think, about some people being wired to not respond well to routine, or routine being anathemic to certain creative personalities. But from experience, I function optimally when I adhere to a routine — honestly, maintaining a checklist is often the only way I remember to do even basic hygiene tasks like brushing my teeth or showering (which I’m neither proud nor ashamed of, it just is what it is). Without routine, I start to feel aimless and my executive dysfunction starts to suffocate me (my main deficits are in organizing/planning/prioritizing and initiation (…and emotional regulation, but that’s less directly relevant here); having a set of goals and parameters ensures the stuff that tends to pile up gets done. Without my schedules and checklists, I wind up letting food rot in the fridge because I never remembered to cook it, five weeks of laundry piled on my floor waiting to be folded, documents intended to be mailed for work that are three months late, and, oops, I may not have showered in the last four days). My problem is with all-or-nothing thinking, where if I slip on my routine for a day or two, it falls by the wayside and I need to “start fresh” tomorrow or next week or next month, and then I often just never do. And THAT level of being a slave to routine is most DEFINITELY detrimental, and I totally agree that RIGIDITY in a schedule is not helpful.

      But when I know that I can stay on top of the basics — I have time to maintain my home and time for self-care and work prep — I’m often much more emotionally and mentally receptive to being creative. I really think I just need to find the balance between living within a schedule that keeps me on track and arbitrarily being a slave to a schedule and abandoning it when I can’t follow it perfectly 24/7.

      It is nice having the space! I feel less physically boxed in and as a result, less mentally boxed in, as well. I’m very ready to start 2020, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thanks for the nice reply…
        and it sounds like you have such accurate self-awareness – so keep going what you do…
        and glad you are ready to start the new year with some of the freshness you wanted – with space and mental preparedness.

        I had a goal to finish one of my writing projects by today – – and started earlier in the week.
        but I accidentally picked the WRONG project – and could not bring it to being done – I should have chosen one that was smaller. I am a little disappointed – but the good news is that the work I did on the other project was “solid” and was a good endeavor.

        okay – wishing you a nice rest of your day and goodbye 2019


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