Growing up, there wasn’t a lot of emphasis in my house on things like household management — there were other pressing medical issues to deal with . Even writing the word “household management” looks curiously old-fashioned, as if this is something a modern home has no need of. This might be why I am always curiously fascinated by blogs and books dedicated to the subject. What’s it like to be organized? I have no idea. But I really want to fake it. I look at before and afters of messy fridges and am in awe. These people know where the sandwich fixings are. They are in the bin labeled “sandwich fixings.” Clearly, these people have things figured out.
Of course, they don’t, not really, but I like to pretend that if I just implement their practices, I will. So far, this hasn’t happened, but whenever I fall down the household rabbithole, my living spaces do look remarkably better for a time (until I lapse into my natural, unstudied slovenliness).
I tell myself it’s all about good habits, so here are some habits I’m trying to instill in myself.
- make the bed.
My teenaged self found this deeply stupid, and in my twenties I didn’t see much use for it either. But it’s so much nicer to go to bed when the bed doesn’t look like a nest of filth.
- Clean as you go.
This was something my father always said to me (although I’m not sure he really did it either.) I have a bad habit of cooking an elaborate meal and leaving all the cleaning from it –every bowl, knife, and cutting board, + dishes eaten from — till the end of the night, by which point I am stuffed and sluggish and decide to let future Becky take care of it. Future Becky is always screwed by this. So I’ve been trying to really make a conscious effort to clean a mixing bowl once I’m done, clean my knives as I go, and surprise surprise, the kitchen isn’t totally wrecked afterwards. It’s like there’s logic behind the dictum.
- Clean the kitchen every night.
This make morning go more smoothly.
- Do a little every day.
My wont is to let my surroundings get worse and worse and then just do a massive clean one weekend. Which is ok, I guess, but exhausting, and means you are living in gross until you can’t take it anymore. That feels depressing. Whereas if I just do some surface cleaning now and then, no one has to call the health department.
- If something isn’t working, fix it.
Again, this is dumb sounding, but has wide applications. I haven’t played Guild Wars 2 in over a year because I forgot my password. I could have gotten a new password, but didn’t. That’s ridiculous. So, I have a new password. A better example might be that I’ve known for years that my password security was terrible, and that I should do something to improve my security. I finally got a password manager (1Password) for both me and Mark, so now we are in the process of saving and updating our passwords. Or our dishwasher emits a terrible smell when we run it that makes us sad. So I finally looked up a tutorial on how to clean a dishwasher (clue: it involves vinegar), and we did it. I doubt the problem is fixed entirely (there’s bad plumbing in this apartment), but we do have a way to cut down on the sad smell. Mostly, if there’s an issue and it’s something I can address, I’m trying to do so rather than putting it off. This one is very hard, obviously.
That’s it really. Nothing amazing or groundbreaking. I’m sad that I’m in my mid thirties and cleanliness is only now a thing I’m putting effort into.
If you would like to join me in a rabbit hole of organizing/cleaning crazy, I recommend the following:
Unclutterer – much like it sounds. Very much focused on organization and minimalism.
A Bowl Full of Lemons – organizing and cleaning. Mostly I just wonder what it’s like to have a brain that works like this. On the other hand, I didn’t have any glass cleaner and find it annoying to buy a one-use product. I made her recipe for glass cleaner, and while it looks like it will be a total mess when you are first wiping it down, it does indeed dry crystal clear.
IHeartOrganizing — also organizing and cleaning, but with a really untouchable quality. I’m assuming her hair never tangles, either.
So, there you go. I usually post music or talk about writing here, but now you have insight into one of my weirder proclivities — that is, researching extensively something most people just know how to do naturally or were taught as a kid. Hooray!