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.
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…
And yes, that’s a caulk gun sitting there. Why? I have no idea. 😀
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. 😀
On the other side, everything was clean again…
And all the clutter on the back countertop was dealt with…
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…
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 🙂 )…
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.