Tag Archives: cleaning

Creative Cleaning

So I won’t mislead you that I’m going to talk about a creative way to clean.  Although if you find or have one, I’d love to hear it!

What I am going to talk about here is how cathartic cleaning has been for me this week.  It’s like the dust has been clogging me up.  I read recently that “clutter” comes from the Latin for “to clot.”  Yes, I’ve clotted my life with stuff– and it blocks me from thinking!  And creating.

I’d love to live more simply.  I’ve come to realize I probably never will.  My mother is a streamlined person who “packs light.”  Her only vice when it comes to stuff is her book collection as she is an avid reader (and a good writer too– she’s planning on joining wordpress soon.  When she does, I’ll post a link!).

I, on the other hand, take after my grandmothers.  I love shoes.  I have many hobbies– most of which require some kind of paraphernalia like crochet hooks, or instruments, or colored pencils.  I’ve tutored.  So I see no reason to get rid of books that are too young for me.  I have flashcards.  I even scrapbook.  Thus seeing a need to keep some magazines or catalogs around.

Now, I’m not a mess.  I’m fairly organized, actually.  Maybe more than most (thanks to the influence of mom).  But in my accepting that I will probably not be able to live more simply by getting rid of things, I’d like to settle for living simpler in that my things will be controlled and confined instead of controlling and confining me.

There is something comforting about shaking the dust off of clothes in the warm sunshine.  Gauzy summer dresses, soft cottons, fuzzy fleece sweaters.  Texture.  Color.  Pattern.  It’s inspiring.

Finding my yarn.  Putting it in a place where I can use it more often as it’s been months again since I’ve crocheted.

Problem-solving and brainstorming new uses of space and storage containers.  Baskets, bins, boxes.  Furniture that does double-duty:  storage ottomans, shelves that are also decorative.

I’d challenge you to pick one thing this summer: your bedroom, your car, your email inbox– whatever.  Envision a new way to use the space.  Clear out the cobwebs and feel the extra space you gain– inside your head!  And feel free to tell me about it.  Cleaning can suck, but the results can be exciting (My trick is to put on a good cd or movie to sing along to or watch while I’m cleaning.  It makes it go so much quicker and even, dare I say, enjoyable?).


Leave a comment

Filed under Life

Go get your head examined!

So apparently, the closet drama was just late this year.

As I tend to neglect cleaning my room, every year or so I tend to tear things apart (with mom’s help) and give things a good cleaning, sprucing up, and reorganizing.  It usually takes a day or two.

On day 2 of what turned out to be a three day project this year(!), Mom was helping dust something underneath a hanging cabinet/picture frame I have.  When she went to get up, she bunked her head, which dislodged the cabinet from its hook and caused it to come down on her head!  There was no blood or passing out, but it definitely left a lump and hurt her a whole lot.  We were scared and, as I know the cabinet is kinda heavy (although I haven’t picked it up since I hung it– empty at the time– years ago), I was afraid it weighed around 50 lbs.  We weighed it, in our insane scamper to make ourselves feel that this was less serious (which amounted to weighing me, then weighing me holding the cabinet and subtracting…).  Thankfully, it was much less serious as the cabinet was only about 15 lbs, but still very scary and after ice and continued headache we finally stopped our cleaning to go to the hospital.  They quickly determined that no major tests were needed and she did not have a concussion, although the doctor said to continue ice and that “it’ll hurt worse tomorrow,” which it did.

Definitely an unexpected turn of events, but she is doing much better today (this happened Wednesday).  My room is finally clean, which kept me off the computer yesterday as my room was emptied and then refilled.  Today has me moving and arranging– deciding where my videos are going, putting away scarves, making rooms for all my nerdy computer accessories, wires, and cables.

I’m trying to reimagine this room as I reorganize.  To picture the furniture different.  I swapped my desk and file cabinet for the night.  I figure I’ll live with it for a few days and see if I like it.  This corner also holds my TV as this seems to be the best configuration with the outlets and cable…

Again, I can’t help but think that creativity is practical.  What once fit in a box now overflows and needs a new solution.  Creativity in how we organize is important.  I have learned that if things are piled in certain ways– if it’s too much work– I won’t use things and when I really need them, I then won’t put them away.  Keeping things accessible makes my world easier– and neater.  Using boxes helps keep things dust-free.  Keeping things near where they will be used also makes life easier and efficient.  Pulling my stationery bike out of the corner might make me exercise more often– and stop using it as a coat rack.

Maybe 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Life

Closet Cleaning

Every summer, Mom and I clean out the closet that we share.  It is the only closet in our small apartment and, without an annual clearing-out, we would be so overrun we might unknowingly fall into Narnia the next time we reach for a pair of black pumps.  (Meeting Aslan might be cool, but the Witch might not understand that I’m not sure if I’m allergic to Turkish Delight…).

That said, it’s tradition.  And every year, we seem to find a better way of organizing it, and getting rid of a thing or two.

Part of the tradition has become the fact that something insane seems to happen every time we closet clean.  At least since we’ve lived at this apartment.  One year, my friend had a huge fight with her parents and got temporarily kicked out of her house, if I remember this right.  So she slept over the night before the closet-cleaning.  The next day brought mom and I having a huge, knock-down-drag-out fight as we cleaned, complete with throwing the occasional plastic hanger.  Now, mom and I hardly fight and would never have fought in front of anyone, despite how close we are with them.  This didn’t seem to stop the scene.  We finished cleaning and, after bringing my friend home, laughed, not really sure what’s come over us.

The next year, we were mid-clean when the doorbell rang.  Mom went to see who it was and when she moved the blinds, the whole thing collapsed to reveal two detectives at our door.  Not regular police officers– detectives with special badges doing an investigation.  Now, being two women alone (and also looking eccentric as the living room was full of piles of shoes and clothes), mom was suspicious and said she’d talk to them outside, but wouldn’t let them in.  This led to a series of events which ended with regular police coming to verify that the others were really detectives, and mom talking to them– still outside– before coming back in to reassemble the closet.

The year after that, I got dizzy mid-closet.  The phone rang, the contents of the closet covering my bed.  It was a man I didn’t know, telling me that my grandmother, my dad’s mother, was in the hospital.  He was a neighbor, who had brought her to the ER after she’d fallen outside.  She’d need a ride home.  My aunt and her family were on vacation and my dad was at work an hour away.  My mother (my grandmother’s ex-daughter-in-law) had to drive me to the hospital so we could be with my grandmother, and eventually drop her back home.

Last year, the closet was done uneventfully.  This year the trend continued.  It seems we might have made a new tradition.  🙂  And I’m only about 1.5 pairs of shoes over my allotted half of the closet.  😉


Filed under Life