Sunday, February 26, 2017

This Slob's Progress

My default setting is slob.  Because I appear somewhat organized and on-top-of-things out in the world, people often imagine that I have a tidy home.  With lots of sweat, hustling, angst, sighing, yelling at my family, and at least one full day, I can make it appear as if my home is (somewhat) tidy.  Day to day, I have struggled to maintain even a semblance of order.

Until now.

Thanks to Dana K. White's How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind, I have actually developed one good habit and had one a-ha moment.  It's a wonderful thing to read something wise, try it out, and actually see results.

First, the good habit:  doing the dishes every day.
I was not on top of the dishes.  In fact, any time I hosted anything and guests tried to help me with the dishes, I used to think, oh stop already, I'll deal with these tomorrow.  I was not one of those folks who couldn't head to bed with dishes in the sink.  Plus, I told myself that I should not run the dishwasher unless every single square inch was filled.  The timing never quite worked out though.  I'd often end up with a full load of dishes and at least another load and a half that I would need to handwash by the time I actually addressed it all.

Dana White tells us slobs (and she is writing the book for people like me, not for the already-tidy Tinas out there) to start by doing the dishes every single day.

So, I've been doing that.  Running the dishwasher every single night and emptying it in the morning.  Yes, I am not always running a giant full load, but it's not as empty as I thought since, with this new system, I've actually had room to fit some of the larger items I used to handwash (colanders, mixing bowls, etc.)  And, because the loads aren't giant, the thought of unloading is a lot less daunting, just like White promised me.

I know you already-tidy Tinas might be thinking, "Well, duh, washing dishes every day is a no brainer."  Good for you.  I'm just catching up.

Second, the a-ha moment:  focus on visible clutter.
Dana White recommends focusing on visible clutter.  She doesn't reference Marie Kondo, but the gist is instead of trying to Kondo your home and cull every single drawer and closet, you should focus on areas of visible clutter and go from there.

I had a corner of the dining room that was full of crap.  Boxes of Christmas decorations and wrapping paper and a big bag of Cub Scout shit (not actual feces, mind you, I'm not that slobbish/demented).  In the foyer, I had two boxes of Cub Scout popcorn that had been sitting there since November.  So, guess what, I moved the decorations to the basement where they are stored.  Then, I moved the Cub Scout popcorn to the pantry.  The pantry was a little crowded so I spent ten minutes working on it.  I consolidated some items, took a few things out of bulky packages, tossed a few expired items, and then easily found room for the popcorn.

On to the kitchen counters.  Having started to get the dishes under control, I was enjoying having clear counters near the sink.  How great would it be, I fantasized, to have clear counters to the right of the oven?  Maybe I could put my knives in a cabinet instead of on the counter?  Guess what?  I could.  All I had to do was open a cabinet, clean out the spices there (most of which were expired), change the height of a shelf, and voila, knives hidden but accessible!

Then, I looked at the spice rack/utensil caddy that the previous owners of our home had installed right behind the stovetop.  Worst place ever to store spices (near the heat) and I was sick of looking at all my utensils.  There is a long drawer directly under the stovetop.  It was filled with stuff it didn't need to be filled with.  I went through the drawer and tossed a few items and found new homes for others.  Next thing you know, I have all my utensils in a drawer right where I need them.  Then, I yanked that grease-stained caddy off the wall.  I need to figure out what should go there instead, but I appreciate having the blank canvas waiting.

There are still plenty of visible clutter areas in our home, but I have started to address them, and because I can actually see the results of my effort, it makes me want to continue.  Like Dana White said would happen.  Smart lady.

I could go on and on about this book, but if you are not an already-tiny Tina, I recommend reading it.  White is funny, likable, down-to-earth, realistic, wise, and practical.  This book was much more life-changing for me than another with that phrase in its title.

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