The urge to clean hit me, and it was a strong hit.
I’m not a dirty person. My counters are wiped down regularly, and I don’t wait until I have absolutely no clothes or towels to tackle the laundry mountain. I run my dishwasher almost daily, which seems incredible when the maximum number of people I cook for is two. Admittedly, my vacuuming fell by the wayside since I like to lift and move furniture out of the way. Being too lazy to put Christmas presents away and clear the floor space meant minimal carpet cleaning.
The great New Year Cleaning Adventure took place in two parts. The first part happened a few Sunday mornings ago, when I had just woke up and was thinking about the grocery list I needed to make. It always felt like I bought too much of one food item, which would take us forever to use up if we even did, and would then forget the one ingredient I actually needed for a dish. The bottom drawer in my refrigerator is the worst, since that’s my catch-all for dairy products and Pillsbury biscuits, as well as the lunch meat I buy once and then forget to eat.
I gave up buying lunch meat a long time ago, in case anyone was wondering.
After coffee and getting Marina her breakfast, I got down there and pulled the drawer out. In addition to shredded cheese bags that were a quarter of the way full, I also discovered yogurt that had to be expired, a busted tube of pizza crust and some rolls that I had to make with dinner that night if I didn’t want to lose them. All of the expired or exploded stuff went into the trash. I decided I should buy some storage bins to fit in there and hopefully keep things organized.
Thankfully for me, my supermarket had storage containers on sale and I picked up three. One would go for the Greek Yogurt, the second for the butter stick collection I amassed between Thanksgiving and Christmas without realizing it, and the third went to keeping all the cheese bags in order.
In addition to reorganizing the dairy drawer, there was also the task of taking out the wire shelves and washing them, as well as going through the canned fruits and sauces to make sure they weren’t expired. The latter task wasn’t too bad. The former on the other hand is one of the banes of my existence. My refrigerator is placed right against the wall, so I can open the door all the way and get the shelves out. However, when it comes time to putting the shelves back in, I can’t get the door to open far enough for me to slide them in place. This is the part where I’m grumbling cuss words and have to move the fridge out in order to get a straightforward task done.
I’ve already decided when it comes time to get a house, I’m picking one where there’s no wall next to my fridge door. I’m not making my cleaning life more difficult.
This past Monday was New Year Cleaning Adventure: part two. My mom and I were talking about when we took down our Christmas trees. She took hers down the weekend after Christmas, while I was thinking of leaving mine up until Martin Luther King Jr. day to extend the magic. I don’t remember what Mom said about that, but after looking at the organized chaos my living room and bedroom turned into, I knew I had to do something soon.
So this past Monday was the day. I found homes for the few presents I was storing under the tree and slowly started to take down the ornaments. I keep my tree box tucked into a storage closet, so I had to move all of the other tubs and boxes out of the way to drag the stand and tree parts back to their box. It never ceases to disappoint me how putting up the tree, getting out ornaments and deciding the best place to hang them takes an entire weekend to create the magic, but then putting everything away takes about two and a half hours.
Tree shavings were all over, so I got out both vacuum cleaners and deep cleaned the carpet as best as I could. It turned out I needed to vacuum the same spot a couple of times to get everything up, which is not a fact I’m proud of.
Putting the tree away led to the second, potentially-Leviathan task: figuring out where I left the storage boxes for all the ornaments. For a long time I had been using some old shoe boxes to store ornaments under my bed, and those boxes were on their last legs. I still had some sturdy gift boxes from both my mom and Sam’s mom, and thankfully I was able to make those boxes work. I discovered while putting the ornaments away that I’m going to have to do a deep dive under my bed, but that’s going to be for another day.
After getting the living room put back together and rearranging my bedroom closet, I couldn’t get over how much larger my rooms looked. Well okay, they’ve always been that dimension. I just had been living in organized chaos for over a month and forgot about it.
Now that everything is put away and cleaned, I’m finally starting to feel like 2021 has started. The season of renewal has been here, but I didn’t feel its presence in my place until yesterday morning. It really is amazing what a difference cleaning and reorganizing can make, and how mentally it can move me into a clearer, energized headspace.
I appreciate those of you who read this post all the way through. I wish you a productive month. Now go show today who’s boss.
Yours in reading and writing,