Our House

C.O.P. Week 2 — It’s Harder Than I Thought

Remember my first week of C.O.P. (cleaning, organizing, purging)? I was on fire, y’all! I ended that week with a huge box of recycling, eight bags of trash, lots of furniture and random items hauled away by The Salvation Army, and a clean home.

COP week 1 - eight bags, recycling - 2

If you missed that, you can read about it here. And if you’re wondering what the heck this C.O.P. stuff is all about, you can read about that here.

Well, this last week, I learned that incorporating this as a lifestyle into normal life is a bit more challenging than I thought. The difference is that during the first week, my entire focus for the whole week was cleaning and purging. And when you focus on that and nothing else all day every day for an entire week, it’s really easy to end up with eight contractor bags of stuff to throw out, a clean home, and a laser focus on keeping the “busy” areas of your house clean every single day.

This last week, I learned that incorporating those habits into regular daily life (i.e., regular life where cleaning and purging isn’t my focus, but working on projects is my focus) is going to take a little more determination and effort than I experienced during the first week.

As far as keeping my kitchen clean, I did really well through last weekend and also on Monday. Then on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I found old habits working their way back in. We’d finish eating, and I’d put the dishes into the sink and tell myself, “I don’t have time right now, so I’ll do it later.

Don’t have time right now? It takes no more than 10 minutes! But you see, that old mindset started creeping back in. Why? Because cleaning and purging weren’t the focus of my week. Working on projects was the focus, and so all of a sudden, washing the dishes seemed like such a HUGE burden in the middle of the work day.

It really is a ridiculous mindset that I’m going to have to work even harder than I thought to break. But at least I’m armed with the tools necessary to break that mindset now!! (1) I now recognize the lie when I tell it to myself, and (2) I now know for sure that washing the dishes and wiping down the countertop and stove takes no more than 10 minutes.

And yet, I went three days without cleaning the kitchen or doing my nightly vacuuming. The good thing is that the way we’re eating right now keeps things super simple. Matt and I are participating in World Carnivore Month. We eat one meal a day (OMAD with 22 hours intermittent fasting has pretty much been our norm since we started keto in June 2018), and during carnivore month, we’re literally eating ribeyes and that’s it.

Well, the only way I cook ribeyes is on my cast iron grill pan with my splatter guard and one lid. I also use the same two bowls, one knife, two forks, and cutting board every single day. So those things were getting washed every single day. They just weren’t getting washed right after our meal. So instead of being able to go to the kitchen, pull out clean items from the cabinets, and begin cooking right away, I was having to first gather all of the dirty items, wash them, and then cook. Then the dirty items would sit there until I was ready to cook again the next day, when I’d repeat the process.

I also noticed the clutter creep. In addition to the dirty dishes sitting around, the clutter started creeping back into the kitchen — paint cans and brushes, junk mail, boxes from recent Amazon deliveries, etc. The clutter creep is sneaky, and it will take over if I’m not diligent about cleaning it up every single day!

And again, this was all because I told myself I was too busy to spend 10 minutes washing dishes, wiping down the stove and countertops, and putting a few items away before returning to work on house projects. Too busy for a 10 minute delay. Isn’t that silly?

So last night after working all afternoon and into the evening on the guest bedroom closets (you can follow that project behind the scenes in my Instagram stories), I walked into the kitchen to this mess…

COP week 2 - messy kitchen

And yes, that’s a caulk gun sitting there. Why? I have no idea. 😀

COP week 2 - messy kitchen

See what I mean? Clutter creep. Paint cans, label maker, a hedgehog planter that didn’t make the cut for the music room bookcases, a hoodie, salt, butter, Floetrol, dirty dishes, hair cutting scissors, an empty sardine can, a meat tenderizer, empty boxes, etc.

And more clutter creep on the back countertop…

Another empty box, lots of junk mail, ear buds, my purse, an empty box of Real Lemon tossed aside, a bag of trash that I didn’t take outside because it was sprinkling outside and I may have melted., etc.

Clutter creep. Y’all, it takes over so fast!!

But I am happy to report that I got it all under control before I went to bed last night. All that was left on the peninsula was my pink cup waiting to be refilled before I headed to bed (my pink cup is always with me now that it has taken the place of Sonic Rt. 44 cups), some important papers that need my attention ASAP, a glass that I need to return to my mom, and a roll of leaf bags because…well, I don’t know why. 😀

COP week 2 - clean kitchen

On the other side, everything was clean again…

COP week 2 - clean kitchen

And all the clutter on the back countertop was dealt with…

COP week 2 - clean kitchen

I realized after I took the picture that I forgot to wash Cooper’s bowl, but that’s okay. He was still licking it when I was washing dishes, so I’m giving myself a pass on that. 😀 And right before bed, I did vacuum the floors.

It felt so good to go to bed with all of this done! And I love knowing that I can walk right into the kitchen at lunch time today and start cooking, rather than having to do dishes first. So this next week, I’m going to focus on banishing the “I don’t have time right now” thought from my head, and just taking the 10 minutes needed to wash dishes, wipe down surfaces, and put away clutter right after our meal.

The other areas of the house have been much easier for me to keep clean and clutter-free. In fact, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my living room in the evenings lately, especially since I wired the entryway sconces. I love to sit in there with the sconces on…

And then on the opposite wall, I turn the “fire” on in the fireplace…

COP week 2 - fireplace at night

The light from the sconces and fireplace creates such a beautiful, cozy, relaxing atmosphere. And of course, having those areas clean and clutter-free is the icing on the cake. I don’t think it would feel relaxing and peaceful if those areas were piled with empty boxes, junk mail, and other clutter.

One Bag, One Box…

Now on to the other weekly goal — one bag and one box. Well, it wasn’t a good week for that, either. Again, I’m just going to have to learn how to incorporate these things into a normal week. It’s very simple to get rid of one bag (or eight bags) of stuff, and go through one box, when that’s the entire focus of the whole week. But when it’s not my focus, I put it off (just like cleaning my kitchen), and the next thing I know, it’s Friday night and I’ve done no purging or box-emptying.

But I didn’t want to end week two with nothing to show for it in the purging department, so I did spend about 15 minutes last night (after working on the guest bedroom closets, and after cleaning the kitchen) gathering some things that can be purged. Here’s what I ended up with. (And no, the striped ottoman isn’t in that pile. So those of you who make a point of telling me how much you dislike my ottomans every time I post a picture of them shouldn’t get too excited 🙂 )…

COP week 2 - items purged

Here’s what IS in the pile…

  • The gray and white rug that I initially had in the breakfast room. I learned two things about rugs with this one. First, cotton rugs don’t work with wheelchairs. Second, cotton rugs get dirty very easily and they’re not easy to clean compared to polyester rugs. From now on, I’ll only ever buy polyester rugs (which are also way more wheelchair-friendly).
  • A silver platter that I bought in Turkey. I was holding on to it because of “sentimental value,” but things that are truly sentimental shouldn’t be stuck in a box for a decade.
  • A blue and white bowl that I bought in Morocco. See “sentimental value” statement above.
  • A clock that Matt and I got as a wedding gift. It just isn’t really my style anymore.
  • A flower platter that I painted at one of those “paint it yourself and we’ll fire it for you” pottery places. The fun social time I had with others on that day was worth the price. I don’t really need to hang onto the platter to feel like I got my money’s worth.
  • A Simple Human trash can that we haven’t used since the condo days.
  • A long rectangular decorative trough thing that kind of looks like a baguette dough bowl, but not really. I bought it because I liked how it looked, but the shape and size has made it challenging to find a place for it.
  • A pewter soup tureen that I bought at an estate sale but have never used or displayed.
  • A fake plant that is a funky green color and looks like it’s dying.

So those things are going to The Salvation Army drop off place today. I’m pretty sure that if I were to put them into a black contractor bag, they’d fill up a bag, right? Either way, I’m counting those things as my “one bag” this week.

That just leaves my box. I didn’t go through a box this week. I’ll try to do better next week.

If y’all are joining me on this C.O.P. journey this year, how’d you do this week? Any progress? Any bags thrown out? Any boxes opened and cleared out? Any breakthroughs with keeping clutter at bay and dishes washed?

If you need encouragement in these areas, but still haven’t picked up this book by Dana K. White, you need to do it!! This woman has saved my house and my sanity. Both are still a work in progress, but her words ring loudly in my ears, and she’s just so encouraging and non-judgmental while imparting so much practical help and wisdom.

dana k white decluttering at the speed of life

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 10:42 am

    I have to ask….color of your fireplace surround & make of your electric fireplace? Love it!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 10:53 am

    If you have trouble making the time to clean the kitchen, go through a box, etc, you need to schedule it. Put it in your phone calendar with a time and a timer! When I was “trying” to find time to meditate and get my stuff ready for work the next day ( like the meditation, LOATHE making/packing food to take to work lol) I finally put a reminder on my phone at 9PM daily for the workweek. First, the food, then the meditation, then bed. It’s really helped me make it a habit. And as long as you are moving forward-no matter how slowly-it’s progress!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 18, 2020 at 12:14 pm

      Yes. Progress not perfection.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 18, 2020 at 1:06 pm

      Or say to yourself you can’t surf Instagram, Pinterest etc. or watch a show until you go through the box

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 11:21 am

    I’ve started the challenge with you but I’m just now listening to the book. But I’m going to C.O.P. With you soon. The one thing that stuck with me throughout this post is that people actually feel entitled to voice their displeasure about something in YOUR home. Obviously they weren’t taught that if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all. Totally crazy!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Michelle B
      January 18, 2020 at 11:36 am

      Well, she does often ask for her readers’ opinions on her decor choices, so that wouldn’t necessarily be out of place. BUT I think she has said about a dozen times that she likes the entryway and it’s finished, so it’s no more negative opinions, people!!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        January 18, 2020 at 2:29 pm

        But it’s when she doesn’t ask for opinions and keeps getting them anyway that’s frustrating! She doesn’t always ask and when she does, she makes it very clear!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 11:25 am

    BTW, I lurrrve your entryway ottomans!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Rita Reister
    January 18, 2020 at 11:27 am

    Thank you Kristi for the post about decluttering. I bought the book and also downloaded the book, it is so easy to listen to the book while working on the house. I have started on several rooms in my house and found things I did not know I had, sad but true. Each day I do a little bit and can’t wait to see the transformation. Love your blog.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 11:30 am

    look up FlyLady.net 31 Beginner BabySteps – it is a great daily list to help keep the clutter and daily/weekly cleaning done
    Great job so far!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Your kitchen is so pretty. I would want to keep it clean and sparkling every day just to enjoy it 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim Christensen
    January 18, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Listen, you have a job, woman! At times, a pretty physically-demanding one. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not super-human. It’s not the 10 minutes it takes to do the dishes, it’s the additional movement and effort involved with the task. Sometimes you just need to sit there for a moment, and that’s okay. As a mother of two small children (FT job) with a PT marketing job, I understand your need to find order within the chaos, but I also know you have to be realistic, and applaud the efforts you are already making, which are very commendable!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 11:44 am

    I’m working on decluttering. Today, I’m going through books. This is a huge deal for me. I’m a reader. And while I rarely re-read a book, I like to have books that I love close – yeah, it can be an issue. Books and blankets are my biggest challenges.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 11:48 am

    What???? I love your ottomans! People who say they don’t like them are cra-cra!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Get a dishwasher. buy multiples of what you use at every meal. Then just load the dishwasher and wash the skillet. Run and empty the dishwasher every few days. Easy peasy!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 18, 2020 at 12:24 pm

      It seems easy but not for some. My sisters kids have “multiples” . Every. single. dirty. dish is stacked in the sink and on the counters. If they only had a few bowls/plates they would be forced to clean before it got that bad. I guess everyone has to find there own way.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 18, 2020 at 2:34 pm

      She has a dishwasher. She’s getting rid of it because she doesn’t care to use it.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        January 18, 2020 at 3:44 pm

        I agree with Susan. Pick a day and time to purge. Every week, same day same time. That way you don’t have to worry about finding time or dread doing it or realize it is the end of the week and it is not done. I’d schedule it for one morning when you feel good and have a lot of energy and you haven’t gotten into the days work. That will prevent the old “I will do it when I finish this one thing” excuse. Good luck! You’ve got this!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Donna T
    January 18, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    I think vacuuming everyday is too much. Unless you have dirt you can see. I clean like a cleaning lady. Once over lightly. I am older and used to have high standards but now I live in my house and have other interests other than cleaning. I can understand if you have kids in the house. I walk through each night and put things in their place. If it does not have a place then it will be homeless and wander. My house is tidy but would not pass a white glove test.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 18, 2020 at 12:40 pm

      I have three shedding pets. 🙂 Cooper sheds about a chihuahua’s worth of fur every week. Daily vacuuming isn’t too much for our house, but I bought a small, cordless vac just for that purpose. It’s pretty quick and easy.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 20, 2020 at 12:48 pm

      Because of my pets–3 cats and 2 dogs, I sometimes vacuum twice a day. I don’t like it but I really don’t like the hair worse!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Let me suggest a solution that has changed my life regarding house keeping/cleaning. I got an iRobot for Christmas. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is. My house is clean and stays that way. I run it a couple of times a day and despite hubby tracking dirt in all day long things are just spic and span. I’ve since read reviews and suggest Eufy’s rather than iRobots, they have a better rating on Amazon and there is a special on with $100 off for one that specializes in pet hair. Highly, highly, highly recommend this product. I find myself so happy with my iRobot that I grab a Swiffer and spot clean if I see even a spot – just because I absolutely enjoy seeing a clean floor all the time – and with NO EFFORT. Amazing. Would do without a dishwasher, a clothes dryer and a microwave (almost) before I’d ever do without one of these little inventions again.

    I understand from some reviews that folks have vacuumed with a Dyson and then used these vacs and are amazed at how much more dirt they get up. This has been a true experience for me. Now you do have to get used to a bit of noise and it cleans just like it wants to – and it doesn’t appear to have a pattern but somehow it just works.

    You can also get them that you can program when and where to clean, and they dock and recharge themselves automatically as well.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Jennifer P Spradley
      January 19, 2020 at 7:15 pm

      Life changing with pets! I run my robot vacuum every single day and LOVE it! If only they made one for carpeted staircases…

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    A tip to deal with all the junk mail we receive on a daily basis. Any envelope with a “Standard Mail” postmark is junk mail, always. Don’t waste your time opening, in the shredder it goes!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Joan Hornung
      January 28, 2020 at 11:20 pm

      Tracy, once in a while a rebate check, or something you actually want comes standard mail. Just be aware. I think sometimes check orders from the bank even comes that way. I have had rebates and coupons come that way for sure.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Betsy Nickel
    January 18, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Get a dishwasher. And a Roomba. Embrace the help they give you (imagine cutting all your wood with a handsaw instead of a tablesaw or tracsaw). Since we are only two, I purchased another set of our cutlery on Ebay so I only run the dishwasher when it is full. We walk past the trash recycle can on our way inside from the mailbox. It is the first sorting station.

    I agree it is hard to part with things that are still good and hold memories. It looks like you are onto a good start. I remember walking through Good Will after dropping another bag off and finding some really nice things I liked – and then realized I had donated some of them earlier!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 18, 2020 at 2:06 pm

      She had a dishwasher she got rid of because she doesn’t like using it. Or was going to get rid of it (can’t remember now if it already happened or not).

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Donna T
    January 18, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    A dog who sheds is something you can see. We vacuum when our son leaves with his dog.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Linda Moore
    January 18, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    Getting a dishwasher would help.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lauren P.
    January 18, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    I hadn’t planned on C.O.P.ing with you, but it kind of just happened this week! I already had the book you mentioned, buried (ha, typical) in my Kindle library, and after listening to the sample, I went ahead and bought the Audible book, too–my first ever purchase there.

    Between reading that book one evening and feeling super antsy the next day, I decided that despite my really poor health that has been contributing to the clutter problem recently, I would just do one little step: I set a timer for 30 minutes and told myself to get rid of 10 things. Well, I didn’t even move quickly, and my result was 20 things in 10 minutes. I was flabbergasted. It definitely gave me some concrete data to work with. I know things will get harder as I go along because most of those items were ones that bugged me for weeks every time I passed them, but it was really helpful to see that my expectations and estimates can be pretty warped sometimes.

    I ended up taking a picture of the departing items each day for four reasons: 1) my memory is really poor, so it will help me when I eventually wonder if I got rid of something; 2) the ability to look back and remember that I did something important that day even if it wasn’t huge, 3) sharing it as encouragement with my mom who is struggling with the same issues, and 4) having accountability with her to spur us both forward.

    I think my total for the week was four 13-gallon garbage bags, one sorted-through moving box, and the complete disassembly and disposal of a big bookcase that might have been the source of our allergy triggers in the bedroom. My biggest accomplishment was deciding to part with my final artificial floral arrangement of big cabbages and white roses. It has made me happy every time I’ve looked at it for the last 15 years, but it collects dust and may have picked up mold from the bookcase, so it was an unnecessary health risk that I could never bring myself to part with. It’s gone now, and although that’s a little sad, it was such a big accomplishment that I think I’ll find letting go of other things less painful in comparison.

    Does anyone have any inexpensive, not-too-much-traveling-required solutions for how to give someone else the joy of playing with a bunch of beads/jewelry-making supplies I downsized, and a bunch of within-the-past-year makeup and skincare samples I won’t ever try? Having grown up on the poorer end of the spectrum, it feels odd to consider just throwing those things out.

    Thanks for posting about your C.O.P. goals; apparently it motivated me a lot more than I had realized! Keep up the great work! <3

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Marianne in Mo.
      January 18, 2020 at 5:48 pm

      For your bead making supplies and makeup, maybe there is a womens shelter near you who would like them?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Maryann P
      January 20, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      I got rid of a ton of fabric and notions at my kids high school art department…

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    I know you keep saying you want to get rid of the dishwasher because you don’t use it… but if you’re not doing your dishes after each meal then you really should use it. Why do you prefer stacking dirty dishes in plain sight than just putting them in the dishwasher? I’m not trying to be mean, I just really can’t understand the reluctance.

    (I previously thought you were one of these people who just automatically wash dishes after every meal and can’t see the point of a dishwasher – my in-laws are like that, they don’t mind hand washing things and think loading unloading is a bigger task. But if it’s something you routinely put off you obviously don’t like doing dishes, so I don’t get understand your stance on dishwashers. Would be very interested to hear!)

    Also, I LOVE Dana’s tip to time a task to see how long it really takes. I’ve been putting off vacuuming my office for about three weeks. Today I was listening to Dana’s podcast so it reminded me to time it. It took 6 mins, including moving chairs around and vacuuming under everything. Why did I put it off for so long?! I won’t next time! Good luck getting your box done.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Brenda Pawloski
      January 19, 2020 at 11:33 am

      I agree about a dishwasher, I love to load it and keep the sink and counters clean and uncluttered but I think she said she uses a cast iron skillet with every meal lately which cannot go in a dishwasher. I’d probably scrape it with a plastic scraper, wipe out excess grease with a paper towel and stash it in the oven, out of sight and seasoned and ready to use.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    If it’s not too late, I just thought I’d suggest using the SH trash can for dog food. I’ve tried a lot of things but repurposing from trash to dog food was perfect.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 18, 2020 at 5:48 pm

      That’s an excellent idea Lysa. Thanks for that. I have one I was going to donate but now I wont. It looks better than the container the dog food is in currently. Repurposing for the win!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 18, 2020 at 5:52 pm

      That’s a great idea! It won’t work for us, though, because we don’t feed Cooper kibble. 🙂 He eats a raw meat diet.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    I live in Australia and lost most of my farm in the fires a months ago (husband saved the house and a shed). I can’t touch any of the burned buildings, but I have been going crazy with COP on the surviving shed. A bushfire is a very good way of making you realise your priorities. 10 years of stuff thrown out or recycled or donated. And so therapeutic!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Brenda Pawloski
      January 19, 2020 at 11:35 am

      Karen, I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through! So glad that you and your husband are safe!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 20, 2020 at 7:54 am

      Karen, I’m so sorry that you lost so much in the fire!! I can’t imagine what you must be dealing with. I’m so glad y’all are safe.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marianne in Mo.
    January 18, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    I find that if I fill the sink with soap and water when I start cooking, I’m more likely to wash things as I’m cooking, or right after we’ve eaten. At the very least, I will rinse everything and stack it to be washed and wipe down range and counter. Then I’ll realize it won’t be much more time/work to just wash the dang dishes, so I do it! As for the rest of what you’ve been trying, I don’t know if I could keep up every day! I find that for me, I just have to get really angry with myself for avoiding, then I’ll get all frenetic and purge and clean until I’m done or over the anger. LOL! Works for me, because I hate being angry at myself.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Dawna Wolak
    January 18, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    Is there a tutorial on the round decoration you made above the fireplace? I’d love to see it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 18, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    I would like to clarify my comment about the ottomans. I like the ottomans and I like the entryway. I would just like to see how the ottomans look somewhere else. Sorry, no harm meant.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Janice d
    January 18, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    Hi Kristi, I loosely use the pomodoro technique to help me get into a routine and give attention to everything I need to in a day. I rotate between projects, cleaning, purging/organizing. The length of time I devote can change but I try not to go over an hour, usually 45 minutes. It’s hard at first but by the end of the week I’ve gotten so much accomplished across the board. I have similar things to deal with as you (Renovations, keeping house in order, etc…) when I break even those big projects up I’m way more productive. When I get overwhelmed, I pull out my timer! 🙂 if interested, you can find it on Wikipedia or google it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2020 at 10:15 am

    I began COP’ing back in 1998 with a move after 15 years in the same house. Now I immediately put everything where it belongs when I’m done with it or I bring it into the house. If that’s not possible (ongoing project), it gets corralled in a cardboard box out of the way. The dishes, counters and stove get cleaned as I go. When I put away clothing, sheets, whatever, I mini purge and grab what needs to go and place it in a bag for good will. It took me a while to get the hang of this and I did have to change my habits. But now it’s second nature. However, even with 4 furry cats I only vacuum once a week. You’ll get there!! Love, love your ideas!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Congrats on having a tidier home after all the COP-ing! I love how it feels to walk into a room that’s organized, fresh and clean–but I haven’t felt happy walking into my office/craft/entry room in over 6 months! Thanks to yesterday’s 6″ of snow–and pretending you were the angel on my shoulder LOL!–I forced myself to get in there and COP it. I didn’t get nearly as much done as I’d hoped. The good thing I learned (like you did!) is that sentimentality is no reason to hold on to something if that thing serves no higher purpose in your life. Thanks for that!
    Also, I’m interested to learn about the division of chores between you and Matt. I know he’s disabled but I have no idea of the extent of his disability, so I’m wondering if he’s capable of providing assistance with light chores? Is that an option to help with chores? Just curious…

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      January 20, 2020 at 7:57 am

      Matt is not able to help me with anything. I do all of the housework, the cooking, the shopping, taking care of the animals, taking care of the house, and taking care of Matt.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you for posting your progress. It feels like having to post has helped you with this, but it is also helping some of us out here who read. This week I cleaned out and organized 3 drawers at work. They have been cluttered and had trash in them for 10 years. I grabbed some bowls I had here at work to corral everything temporarily (since square or rectangular storage boxes make better use of the space) and got them all purged, cleaned, and organized. Then I measured them and knew exactly what I wanted to get at the Dollar Tree for them. $5 later I have very nicely organized drawers that will be easy to keep organized and I’ll even know where everything is at a glance. Thanks for the inspo and keep up the great work.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 19, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    With the one bag and one box you’re doing, I haven’t been able to manage that. But I can trick myself. I tell myself 5 things to put away, 5 things to donate, and 5 things to throw. The thing is once I’m started I keep going almost always so I feel really good about that and if I only do the 5 x 3? Then I still have accomplished something.
    Just a way of tricking the brain even though you know it’s a trick.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Barbara Baker
    January 20, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Good for you for not letting things go any longer than you did. What has always helped me is the “Two Minute Rule” and “Do It Now”. If it takes two minutes or less to put something away, do it now. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 20, 2020 at 8:47 am

    I hate doing dishes. I don’t know why but I always have – and being an olympic champion in the procrastination department it was always easy for me to find a reason not to do the dishes right away and my dishes would pile up. As we all know – the bigger that pile gets the less you want to do it.

    Years ago I moved into a rental that had a dishwasher – but the dishwasher wasn’t working so I completely ignored it and my dishwashing habits or lack thereof continued. My brother was visiting once and he cannot resist the challenge of fixing something – turned out it was something very simple and 15 minutes later the dishwasher was working. I have never looked back and would never choose to live without one now. For the record – I do continue to do my cooking dishes, pots and pans by hand but for some reason they don’t seem as onerous as doing a couple of plates, cutlery or mugs. I run my dishwasher every two or three days.

    All that is by way of saying that if you hate doing dishes then you should use your dishwasher. Why fight against yourself and burden yourself with a job you dislike so much that it prevents you from making progress in other areas?

    There is nothing virtuous about not using a dishwasher – and IMHO you have more than enough cabinet/storage/pantry space that there is no necessity for you to repurpose the space your dishwasher takes. Give yourself a break – get the thing fixed and use it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Theresa P
    January 20, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Each person’s priority list is entirely individual. I realized early in my marriage that my husband’s priorities and my priorities were different. We would often argue over cleaning (I wanted all the things CLEAN now, while he would eventually want things clean, just not NOW). It took me a long time to stop thinking of my husband as a “slob” just because he didn’t want things clean at the exact moment I did. Thankfully, after having kids and working more, our priorities have actually aligned and we both focus on cleaning about as much as we focus on all the other pieces of our lives.

    What I see in your posts is that you’re trying add a new priority to your list. Your focus was on projects ONLY for a long time, then last year you added healthier eating. This year you’re adding cleaning & organizing (& while purging is a priority now, once you get through a lot of your purge, you’ll have to do it less). Anyway, I appreciate you setting realistic goals for yourself. You’ll get there!