Housework obsession

08 Jan

Regular readers will know that one of my goals in 2008 was to conquer the creeping chaos in my home. While I didn’t manage to finish it, I did, with the help of a professional organiser, start to make headway.

Specifically, we

  • Cleared about 70% of the study (still some boxes of stuff around the outskirts of the room, but a very usable space in the centre)
  • Cleared out the girls’ room (my cleaner ‘tidies’ by moving everything to one side of the room and leaving it there, so there were layers of junk)
  • Cleared out my side of Fraser’s and my bedroom. (Fraser doesn’t want us to tackle his side of the room until he’s had a chance to go through some of it … he’s on notice, now)
  • Cleared out the dining room, getting rid of lots of accrued paper waste
  • Cleaned the living room to 70% – same as study, there were unsorted boxes of toys and books around the edges.
  • Cleaned out the kitchen – went through every drawer and cupboard
  • Cleaned out the – um. The area near the back door. It could be a meals area, but it has cupboards. I guess it’s sort of a utility area but there’s no washing machine. It was way deep in clean laundry and stuff to be sorted that never was.
  • Cleaned out the bathroom (that was this week, technically 2009).

I have lost count of the number of bags of rubbish we threw out and the number of car-loads the professional organiser took to the Op Shop (thrift store). Let’s start with “many”. Meanwhile, I found lots of things too – 3 bottles of floor polish (!), 7 packets of toothpaste (!!), etc etc. And the charger for my mum’s cordless drill, which we have on semi-permanent loan and could really have used during the big post-Christmas IKEA-fest. Also, table napkins. Many, many table napkins. (Note: I am *so* not a napkin kind of girl)

While I was away, there was some regression. So after Christmas I devoted my spare time to clearing things out. Specifically, I re-tidied my side of the bedroom, the kids’ room and the dining room, and I started to make some progress on the corridor. The kitchen benches are looking a bit cluttered and probably need some attention, and the study is getting very full again. Those piles around the edge of the room need to go, because stuff leaks out of them into the rest of the room.

Tonight, I declared war on the living room. It took around 3 hours to get it from budding disaster to could-be-presentable-with-a-bit-of-effort – which is about 2 days and 21 hours less than it would have taken me in the past. There’s a slightly scary sense of achievement, too, in getting something that was so very chaotic into some sort of order. We only had 1 big green bag of rubbish after this run, and 1 box to go to charity, as well as an overflowing 60 litre recycling bin – but that’s not bad, when you consider that everything I sorted today was something I had previously decided to keep.

So what’s left?

Well the kitchen and dining room could do with a spit and polish – errm, a tidy. And there are still 2 boxes of “needs to be sorted” in the dining room. They’re the hardest things – the 20% that takes 80% of the effort, if you will.

And the study needs some TLC to turn around the 70% that was reasonable. That’s something I hope to do, either on Friday or when we get back from the beach – or maybe both.

What is left is the spare room, which is truly frightening. We have an attic ladder in there, but it’s up – and so we need to fold up the spare bed and start trekking things up into the roof – or, better, revisit EVERY.SINGLE.BOX. that is in that room. This is the room where the furniture goes to die – I think there are 3 or 4 broken chairs in there at the moment. And one of the slats on the spare bed (it’s a futon) is broken, too. Then there’s Fraser’s parents’ 1960s style white round things. He’s going to hate me for getting rid of those.

And then there’s Fraser’s side of the room. And the corridor.

I think my plan for the spare room will be: On the afternoon of the day we do it, hire a student or two to run things up the attic ladder. I can do the smaller items, but the big stuff is beyond me.

I threatened my family with unspecified but dire consequences, today, if this work is undone again. I can see that we will have to learn a whole new set of skills to actually keep it together.

Talking with a friend on Sunday, we both had a moment of clarity. She has the same sorts of issues that I do with doing housework. And we realised that we were both brought up by parents who spent a lot of time stressing that we could do so much “more” than be housewives and that we had all these options open to us – and somehow, we got this weird message that we shouldn’t have to do housework. And even though we know that that is wrong (although I absodefinalutely wish that it were true), we still have to fight it EVERY DAY.

Which is a very long story, all to illustrate why I was SO EXCITED today to buy a hook thing that just goes over the door frame and hangs down to have things hung on it, and hang it BACKWARDS so it hangs on the front of my door not the back, so I can hang my handbag on it just as soon as I walk in the door.

1 Comment

Posted by on January 8, 2009 in decluttering, house, to-do


One response to “Housework obsession

  1. guenny

    January 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    My advice to you is to move out of the house. It’s amazing just how much purging one does while in the process of packing! 😀


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