It starts off innocently enough. I decide to tackle a cleaning project. Like today, I wanted to pick up our bedroom, clear off the dresser, and give the floor a good vacuum to catch all the dust/dog hair bunnies floating around the room. Simple enough. So I start picking up. I clear the trash off the dresser, take the books to the bookshelf and unwanted magazines to the recycle bin. As I start vacuuming I move the little night stand to get behind it, which prompts me to move the bed...and before you know it I've moved as much furniture from it's usual spot as possible and am on my hands and knees with a bucket of soapy water washing baseboards grumbling in my head about how there are probably people in Africa living in dirt floored huts who manage to live cleaner than we do! At this point everyone, including the dogs, have sensed it's best to just stear clear of my war path.
I have to admit, I have kind of a a manic-depressive housekeeping style. For the most part, our house exists in moderate disorder and I manage to do just enough cleaning to keep things livable. After all, I'm one Mom in a house of 4 people and 2 dogs. Keeping a house sparkling and clutter free in that situation usually requires some endless, super natural amount of energy...or a housekeeper.
Then one day I get this crazy idea to tackle a neglected cleaning task and I work myself up into a frenzy. Manically cleaning away, stopping to do little more than go to the bathroom when needed. Rarely do I even take time to eat because once I sit down, I may loose momentum. So I surge forward...until I hit a wall and my body starts to ache and screams at me to SIT DOWN AND EAT SOMETHING YOU FOOL! And so now, after 2 days of cleaning, sorting and organizing that has resulting in: FINALLY sorting through and boxing up 2 years worth of the girls' outgrown clothing (and I'm embarrassed to say, my maternity clothes) to be given to various people/shelters (that is the stuff I'm not keeping from Lexi to hand down to Brea); the breaking down for recycling of most of the cardboard that has accumulated in our basement (because "you never know when you might be able to use that box for some thing"); the sorting through of my Body Shop at Home business supplies and stock (ending yet another half-hearted attempt to make a few extra dollars through a home-based business); and cleaning/organizing of both our and the girls' bedrooms(ours was intentional, the girls' simply a result of my manic state)...I'm ready to CRASH.
My Mom and I have a theory that we're not the best of house keepers because we have a problem breaking things down into manageable tasks. It's all or nothing. Which means most of the time, that means nothing more than necessary. And then sometimes it means get the hell out of the way!
After spending almost 6 hours in my basement yesterday sorting, boxing, and cleaning I came upstairs for the night feeling somewhat accomplished, somewhat discouraged. After 6 hours of work I only made a small dent in what needs to be accomplished down there. I managed to disorganize my craft area as I moved things from various places to my sewing desk in an attempt to get it all together in one place. And I realized (though really, I already knew this fact) what IRRESPONSIBLE consumers we have been through our lives.
But at least I started, and that usually half the battle. And sorting with the idea of getting rid of stuff in the most responsible way possible (passing on to others, consigning, Goodwilling, recycling, etc) is a good reminder of WHY I'm trying really hard to be a more responsible consumer myself, as well as trying to help my family (immediate and extended) learn to do the same. No small task.
Our house is small, but adequate. Now that we no longer have a hairy, fur-ball of a cat living between the walls of our concrete foundation, we need to make better use of our basement to help ease the clutter in our main living space. That fact really hit home today as I was finding room down there for the luggage that's normally shoved under our bed and stacking the board games (that have been living in my closet..a space needed for, um, clothes) on a shelf that has gone mostly unused for the 5 years we've lived in our house. Next on the list is the organzing/shelving of our book collection; the removal of some old computer/stereo equipment that has been waiting to be electronically recycled; the cleaning up of various corners of bug/cat hair bunnies; the mopping of the basement floor (because it's just kind gross); the delivery of a car load (or possibly several) of random items to Goodwill; the relocating of some filing items from my office to a newly cleared space in the basement; and the re-sorting of my craft area so that I can get busy putting together some homemade gifts for the holidays.
But all that will have to wait as it's Sunday at 5 and time to start thinking about the start of our week. Unfortunately focusing on occassional, but time consuming, tasks means the day-to-day stuff has been neglected for the past 36 hours and I have a sink/cupboard full of dirty dishes that need tended to and supper to make before we start our Sunday night bedtime routine in anticipation of my departure a little before 8 to head to campus to teach class.
Luckily Scott is responsible for the laundry. Thanks to his efforts will all be able to leave the house clothed again this week. And damn it, the baseboards in my bedroom are clean!