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?

The Small Clean (Or: The Big Clean, Pt. 2.5)

My week. (Art by @nathanwpyle)

I’m on track…ish, for The Big Clean.  I have a few details to take care of in the living room — mostly carrying boxes up or downstairs, after packing away ephemera that had somehow made it’s way to the living room from other parts of the house, and vacuuming the couch before rearranging the pillows — but other than that, I’ve completed the living room!  Photographic evidence will be forthcoming, however, since I am a bit of a completionist, and I want to have the room in full working order before I show it off.

One of the things I did today that kept me from fully completing the task was I decided it was finally time to clean out the coffee table, which I suppose bears an explanation.

When we bought this house, one of the things I was excited about was that it had a partially finished basement.  It was neither nice enough nor spacious enough to really be of use for entertaining, but with the washer/dryer down there, it was a nice laundry room, and the built in shelving the previous owners had installed meant it also seemed like an awesome place to store our hobby supplies — board games, fannish collections, jewelry-findings, and most especially, art supplies.  We moved down all the aforementioned accouterments, refurbished an old desk, and thought that I’d finally have a craft room again.

Well, as it turns out, sharing space with the water heater means that our basement gets uncomfortably warm in the spring and summer, so for half the year, working down there wasn’t really on the docket.  Luckily we had, for totally different reasons (or maybe no reason besides a good price, since neither of us can now think what our original intention was) bought a storage coffee table.  That quickly because the home for all of my painting and art supplies, and man, let me tell you, it was not well organized.  Uh, it was actually not organized at all.  I had huge, unwrapped blocks of Sculpey tossed in beside empty Altoid containers (for altered boxes), dozens of magazine back-issues (for collage and decoupage), and brushes, palates, and art tools thrown everywhere.  It took me over an hour of concerted effort and a full garbage bag to clear it out, but dammit, I did it.  Given how one of my primary goals this year is to really focus on art, it seemed like now was the time to really get it done.

Look, you can actually see everything that’s in there!  And it all has a place!

That being said, I’m currently trying to decide what to do for the rest of the night.  I’m sort of itching to get started with art, but I also feel like I’m not in the proper headspace to start one of the “big” projects I’ve been ruminating on, so I’m currently torn between paging through magazines (I have a stack of mags from the entire last year that my mother passed on to me when she was done; it was never the top of my priority list, so I probably have about 36 magazines sitting by my couch, untouched!), or sifting through Pinterest for photo references for the projects I know I want to embark on.  I found a few useful ones for a series I’m doing using geometric shapes as framing devices (i.e., instead of drawing using the edges of the pages as boundaries, I want to work on vignettes confined to small square, circles, or other shapes).  I might continue on that path tonight, and bring a few magazines up to bed with me.

I am on track to finish by tomorrow night!  I’m very, very much looking forward to greeting the new year with a clean home, and will be ready to tackle a few more organizational quandaries tomorrow night (I hope).

Oh, unrelated to most of the rest of this post, but I had meant to mention: I got rid of twitter at the end of November.  No dramatic reason; I had started and been active on that account back when I thought I wanted this to be a “branded” account, and most of my Followers (and Followees) were people doing primarily marketing and self-promotion (which is fine and valid!  Independent authors/artists need to network!  It’s just not what I wanted to do, anymore).  If you have a personal Twitter and would like to follow me, I’m Tweeting at @rarelytidymind now.

The Big Clean, Pt. 1

So, The Big Clean has begun.

I am having a particularly difficult time accepting that, by dedicating myself to one room a day, the other three rooms (plus the full & half baths) are, more or less by necessity, temporarily being neglected.  This, coming hot on the heels of the holiday, means that the rooms of the house not currently being worked on look like absolute hot fucking garbage.

They won’t for long, hopefully.  My husband will tend to the dishes when he gets home, and take out the trash, and the house will be empty tomorrow while Andy is at work and Bear and I are visiting with my family, my sister, and her kids (which means, granted, The Big Clean will effectively be on pause tomorrow, but there will also be no one here to undo any of the progress).  Saturday means no work for Andy, who is going to spend some quality time with Bear while I get to work on the Big Stuff, like the living room (Christmas Ground Zero), and the kitchen (I just discovered more than one instance of mold in the fridge, and I am still gagging internally).

I’ve been wavering today between feeling totally amazing and empowered — I actually love cleaning when I have the spoons, because I love having a visual cue for my accomplishments — and feeling hugely defeated, because with me preoccupied, Bear has had sort of full run of the house.  Most of the day we’ve hung out together; he’s helped me out here and there, and sat by and played quietly when I didn’t need him and has generally been very good, but then he’ll disappear for a while and come back brandishing some Christmas loot that was definitely in a box with a hundred tiny pieces and, oh, Christ.

Still, that being said, his room is done and I feel so damn good about it.


Wiping down walls, filling up an entire trash bag with broken toys and old garbage, and two huge totes with old clothes, books and toys — my back is killing me, and I have my work cut out for me for the rest of the house, sure, but today’s effort were so worth it.

Tomorrow will be a nice respite, and I’m excited to see my sister and my niece and nephew, but I’m also pretty hyped about getting back to The Big Clean on Saturday.

I hope your days have been equally productive and satisfying.