Actual stuff to talk about! Tonight featuring correct capitalization! (WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?)
I recently started reading The Eight-Step Home Cure. I've been trying to get a handle on the clutter (an ongoing struggle for me) and disorganization (same) but also my unhealthy habits with money. I'm working with some pros on all this, but this book is helping me too.
Last week was week one and had a mix of mental and physical tasks:
- Make a complete list of repairs and solutions. Repairs needed all over the house, the kinds of things that one might note when renting a new apartment. And solutions for each of those. I got through the list of repairs but am still working on filling in the solutions.
- Vacuum the floors. DONE. We have someone who comes and cleans the house each week, and she had just vacuumed and mopped most of the floors, but I kept in the spirit of the task (which is to become more intimately familiar with the house and its flow) by using a Swiffer throughout the rooms.
- Mop the floors. DONE. Well, Melanie (the cleaning person) did the mopping, but I kept in the spirit of the task with the sweeping.
- Remove one item from the house and put it outside. DONE. The main goal with this task is to break the seal on getting rid of stuff if you have a hard time with that. Another goal is to signal to the world that you are freeing your home of stuff. Or something like that. Anyway, I had a mannequin that had been just leaning against a wall for years, ever since I bought it at an estate sale in Squirrel Hill. So out she went, and someone took her the next day.
- Buy fresh flowers. DONE Wednesday. This is the easiest one, and that's good because it's supposed to go on every week. I pick up groceries at Whole Foods each week, and there are always tons of beautiful fresh flowers near the customer-service desk where I pick them up and pay for them. This week, I chose some gorgeous ranunculus. Vibrantly pink, which is unlike me, but ranunculus always suck me in. Just gorgeous. I cut the stems and put them in water in a mason jar, and I've thinned out the stems and foliage once. I also printed out instructions for a simple solution for water for longer-lasting flowers. This one has me excited, if you can't tell.
- Sit for ten minutes in a part of your home in which you never sit. Weirdly, this was the one that I took the longest to get to. Today I worked in the dining room all day (more on that in a moment), so that was way more than ten minutes.
- Look into earth-friendly cleaning products. DONE. Mostly. I stocked up at Whole Foods Wednesday, but I might have forgotten some category or other. I bought basically the whole Method line of cleaning products.
So this is week two of the cure, in which I focus on the kitchen. This week's tasks?
- Clear space for an outbox (a space in the home where I can stow things I'm thinking of getting rid of). DONE today.
- Clear one surface and use the outbox. DONE today. Cleared many surfaces, actually, all over the kitchen. Check out this kitchen island! (the stuff on it is just tonight's dinner and the recipe, plus the flowers from last week and the cutting boards, which have no other home, at least yet.)
- Clean your kitchen from top to bottom, and throw away old food. Buy a water filter and use it. IN PROGRESS. I went through all the exposed surfaces (a couple of bookshelves and the kitchen island and countertops) and the upper cabinets to find anything that I could discard.
I put a bunch of stuff in the outbox
and started a Google Sheets list of most of it and shared it with local friends to see whether anyone wanted anything. My main goal is to get rid of the stuff, so I'm keeping that really simple. Not chasing down new homes for anything, just setting aside stuff if someone wants it. And it feels good to see some of this help someone out. As for the water filter, Mr. Bee researched this a year or so ago and determined that a reverse-osmosis filter is really the only kind that would be worth having, for us at least, and is actually really wasteful of water. So we're sticking with unfiltered tap water for everything except drinking, and he buys cases of bottled water at Costco for drinking.
- Fix one thing in your house yourself. I'm not positive what this will be. If assembling something counts (I have lots of those on the list), then that's what I'll be doing--probably assembling the dress form that Annette gave me. That's something that I wrote down as an obstacle to last week's sweeping chore, blocking the flow, because it's just sitting on the floor in the way. So that's probably what this one will be.
- Run your hands over every wall in your house. This is another become-intimate-with-your-space thing. The author uses a very cool image: Imagine that you're touching the skin of a whale and your house is this living, breathing thing. I love that. Especially because almost all of our walls are blue :)
- Buy fresh flowers (this is going to be a weekly thing, every week when I pick up the groceries). Determine your style. DONE. Turns out I like something called "organic modern," which incorporates the clean lines and humor of modern style but the wood and other materials of Asian and other organic styles.
- Find a new recipe and cook one meal at home. DONE. I cook from a new recipe five nights a week. Tonight I made carne asada.
Choose the date for your housewarming. Haven't done this yet. Eight weeks from the start is the first week in June, but I might wait a few weeks. Also? We've been in this house for ten years this month. Is a housewarming really appropriate?
So that's what's happening Chez Bee. I'm having a blast with it, even though it's really time- and energy-consuming. Today what I did was work in the dining room, which is where the outbox is and next to the kitchen. I used the pomodoro timer in my current task-management app, KanbanFlow, which sets up 25 minutes of work then a five-minute break, but with a 15-minute break every fourth break. During each break, I'd get up and do another bit of the kitchen clearing. It worked out really well for my productivity both for work and for the home cure. A++ would try again.