Fixing My Habitat

I’ve never been one to keep things neat and tidy, preferring to procrastinate cleaning anything until it gets out of hand. But this tendency to let things go resulted in a lot of stress for J. Felbs and I when we moved out of our previous place, and I’m determined to never have to go through that again. 

I’ve been making an extra effort to keep things clean and organized in our current apartment. It’s hard to distinguish where my mental process comes from that says that throwing stuff away is too difficult when the trash can is just a few feet away from me, or that makes the task of simply putting away something I just used almost impossible.

Because I don’t have a problem with just the big tasks (I hate laundry and dishes and am lucky to have a husband who helps me do both)…I also seem to invite clutter in bits and pieces.

Then I found the magic Tumblr Unf*** Your Habitat. It has become a key motivator for me to keep things in order around my house.  It’s also helped me curb many of my procrastinating tendencies. It hasn’t healed them completely, but if I can stick to a nightly routine, wash my dishes, and pick up after myself 5 nights out of 7, I think I’m doing well.

A friend and fellow blogger has mentioned the site a few times in her blog which is what led me to the site. I’ll be honest, my first thought was “No way is a blog about cleaning going to motivate me to clean.” I’d read other cleaning blogs and none of them seem relevant to me, nor could I relate to them easily.

UfyH works for me, and I think it’s because it comes from a different mindset. The idea is to break up overwhelming tasks into smaller ones using 20/10s or 45/15s, where the first number is the time you spend “working” and the second number is the break between work sessions. It highlights the fact that you can accomplish something in 20 minutes, and that even if you only work for 5 minutes, something is now done that wasn’t done before.

The blog offers challenges of things to do and acknowledges those who have mobility limitations as well as depression. There are also tips on how to clean specific things. Largely, it’s a great support for motivating and helping people know they’re not alone in their messy tendencies. This support comes not only from the blog but from the readers as well in the form of encouraging posts and before and after pics.

To date, I haven’t submitted any of my own pics or done a Tumblr post or a question, but I follow the blog regularly and use the challenges to get things done that I might not have thought to get done previously. Because of the UfyH motivation factor, the following has happened:

– Laundry has been put away the same day it comes home from the laundromat 98% of the time (compared to about 62% previously).

– Dishes are done, counter is wiped down, and stovetop is given a wipe down before I go to bed 99% of the time (compared to 3% previously).

– My purse and keys go in their home space right after I get home 100% of the time (74% previously)

– I’ve considered my apartment to be “neat” and/or “clean” 97% of the time (0-10% in the previous place).

Also, old food doesn’t stick around in the fridge long, trash goes out regularly from the kitchen and bathroom, the bed gets made semi-regularly, and I can usually find where things are when I need them. The sinks and toilet get wiped down every few days, and I’ve even dusted the furniture more to keep the dust from getting out of hand.

There’s still some room for improvement. I need to vaccuum, sweep, and mop more, and I need to get J. Felbs to work on his desk area. But overall, my sanity over cleaning and my environment is stable and I feel like I’ve accomplished something as well as added another mark to my “how to be an adult” to-do list.

If you need some motivation or just like to read blogs about cleaning and can handle some swearing, check the blog out. It’s magic!

The Lows and Lows of Moving

The Felbster and I are currently in the process of moving. It’s a process I hate. This doesn’t make me a special snowflake since I assume most people hate to move, even if they’re moving somewhere better.

We’ve been “preparing” for months, but we’re still feeling rushed towards the end. Many boxes are packed and some already moved to the new place. Internet and renter’s insurance have been canceled. We’ve lined up help from family and friends. Still, it feels like this big ball of relocation is just rolling right over me.

The sad part is, I don’t do nearly as much as everyone else. Sure, I take a few bags up the stairs. But I go at the pace of a turtle and make about one trip to everyone else’s three. Our current place is a basement apartment, so we contend with one set of stairs when taking stuff to the car. Our new place is a second floor apartment so we contend with 2 flights of stairs getting everything into the apartment.

Stairs and I are starting to be okay with each other, but we’re a long way from being BFFs.  Luckily, J is okay with doing the bulk of the unloading as long as I do most of the unpacking.

Besides the physical, there’s also a mental exhaustion. There are things to update: address, bills, driver’s license, etc. At this point, I haven’t even completed my mail forwarding form because I can’t find the address of our new place because I’m pretty sure I accidentally packed the lease document.

I currently have a stack of mail that needs to be handled, but with everything kind of a mess, I don’t have the energy to get them all together and go through them.

Because most of our kitchen stuff is packed up, cooking feels way too hard, so we’re trying to cheaply eat out until we get settled. This is probably not a good idea for so many reasons, but it is what it is, and dollar menus are everywhere these days.

Ever since we signed the new lease, I’ve also had bouts of anxiety where I wonder if we’re making the right move (we will now have a short commute to school and work), if we’re going to be able to afford everything (we’ll be spending more in gas and will have utilities to contend with), and how I’m going to decorate and organize (the space is bigger than what we have now, but it’s still considered small).

Even with all that, underneath the nerves and the work and the stress, I still think we’re making the right move. I’m ready for some small town living again, ready for some quiet, ready for a new space even with it’s challenges.

I’ll just be glad when the transition is made.