C.O.P. Week 4 – The Week I Fell Off The Wagon Completely

Well, y’all, I almost didn’t show up today to report in about my C.O.P.ing (cleaning, organizing, purging) for this last week, because…well, it was an abysmal failure. But then I thought that maybe coming here and reporting on my abysmal failure might keep me more motivated and accountable in the future. So here I am. 🙂

I mean, I didn’t put one single ounce of effort into keeping my kitchen clean, or keeping my floors vacuumed, or doing any sort of purging, or organizing a single thing. Not one ounce of effort.

I’m not really sure what happened this week to make me fail so completely in the COPing department. I do know that two nights, I worked on the guest bedroom until about midnight. The last thing I wanted to do was wash dishes or vacuum after that. I just wanted to climb into bed and sleep.

But really, things have been “off” since last week. I wasn’t sleeping well at all towards the end of last week, in part because I was anxious about Saturday (demo day on the master bathroom), but also just general problems sleeping and staying asleep throughout the night.

By the time Saturday got here, I was already exhausted from a lack of quality sleep from the few previous days, and then the work we did on Saturday was exhausting. I mean, after all, we did take an entire room down to ceiling joists, wall studs, and floor joists. It’s a little strange and unsettling to me that this lies just behind that closed up doorway in our future home gym.

master bathroom demo day 15

(Side note: The plumber is coming Monday to give me an estimate on all of the plumbing for the master bathroom. I’ll also have him tell me if he wants me to go ahead and put the subfloor in, or leave it open until he’s finished with plumbing. So after Monday, I’ll have a better idea of how to proceed with this room.)

So by Sunday, after those sleepless nights plus the hard work on Saturday, I was so exhausted that I slept from about 3:00pm until about 7:00pm. Now when it comes to napping, I’m a strange kind of person. No matter how tired I am, I’m simply not the type of person for whom napping during the day is beneficial at all. If I’m tired enough that I feel a nap is necessary, I’m better off keeping busy during the day, and then just making a point to go to bed early.

I hear about people who can take 15-minute power naps during the day, and wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to go. I’m the very opposite. If I sleep during the day, whether it’s for 15 minutes or five hours, I wake up feeling groggy, disoriented, grumpy, and unmotivated.

Well, it’s almost like my Sunday four-hours-long nap didn’t just affect my Sunday night, but that feeling of not being motivated also spilled over into Monday, and then Tuesday, and Wednesday. And it’s not a complete lack of motivation that I was feeling. I always feel motivated to go into my studio and play with paint or resin. 😀 But the motivation to do the adult things, like cleaning the kitchen and vacuuming the floor, just wasn’t there. It’s almost like I had this mindset that I worked soooooooo hard on Saturday that I deserved a week off from adulting. 😀

Anyway, all of that to say that this whole week has just felt “off,” and I need to get back on the C.O.P. wagon before things get out of control again. Thankfully, even when I don’t make an effort to keep my kitchen clean, things never really get out of control because (as I explained in this post), I use the same cookware and dishes every single day right now because of the way we’re eating.

why i don't need or want a dishwasher - dishes for the entire day

So they do get washed every single day. But instead of doing the dishes right after we eat, or making sure they’re done before I go to bed so that I can wake up to a clean kitchen, I’ve been having to wash them every day right before I start cooking our lunch. And I have to admit that cooking isn’t nearly as pleasurable if I have to start by washing dishes and cookware that was left dirty from the previous day.

I also learned another very important lesson about myself when it comes to purging, and it’s this…

If I don’t put the items to be donated into my car immediately and make sure that they get to the donation center the next day, then I cannot and should not count them as “purged” for the week. Why? Well, remember this stack of things that I gathered up to be purged on the Friday night before demo day?

master bathroom - stuff for donation

Do you know where those items are right now? Yep, still sitting in the exact same spot.

So they haven’t really been purged, have they? I mean, intending to do something and actually doing it are two completely different things. And while I fully intended to donate those items, they’re still taking up space in our house, and that’s the very opposite of purging.

That first week was so easy because I had an entire room of furniture and other items that I needed to get rid of…

And because it was the first week, and I was feeling so incredibly motivated, I didn’t hesitate to call The Salvation Army to come pick up these things. It’s so convenient having large items that they’ll actually come and pick up!

Well, those large items are gone, so when I want to donate things from here on out, it’s my responsibility to actually make sure they get to a donation place. And that takes a lot more effort that I’m not in the habit of exerting.

So from here on out, when it comes to purging, I definitely need to change my mindset. Simply gathering up stuff to be donated and putting it into a pile in my house isn’t purging. It’s the first step of purging, but it’s not a completed job. The job isn’t completed until I load it into my car, drive it to its destination, and unload it from my car. So I guess, in hindsight, I didn’t actually get any purging done last week. Or this week.

But next week will be different. It’s time for a change of mindset. It’s also time for me to stop avoiding adulting, and get back into some good daily routines. My break from adulting for a hard day’s work last Saturday should have been over last Sunday evening. Monday by the absolute latest. I’ve stretched this on way too long. 😀 So this next week, things will be different.

It might also be time for me to listen to Dana K. White’s audio book again. Listening to her seems to motivate me.

How are you doing on your C.O.P.ing efforts?

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  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I too have says when I get everything and more done then some days I got nothin’. It’s frustrating isn’t it? I often think why can’t I have that same motivation every day???

    1. I would have slacked off dor a month after tearing that room apart. Plus you built 2 closets this week! Throw that stuff in a box or bag and drop it off when you head to Home Depot.

    2. I feel this just makes you more human to the rest of us who struggle with adulting. I am trying to follow your C.O.P. here at my home…..just keeping it secret. Lol….so no one can point out my failure……keep be you!!!! I personally love it.

  2. Kristi I’m glad to know I’m not the only non-napper. They just make me feel sick. Any sleeping in the daylight, really. Even though I may not be 100% I’m better off doing things that don’t require a lot of coordination or concentration. That stuff will get moved, give yourself a break!

  3. Now I feel ashamed. Here you are, feeling bad about not cleaning or purging for a week, and I have to admit I may go a month or more without dusting, mopping or washing bedding! I know – horrible! I sometimes wonder if I’m depressed and don’t realize it. Have to say that I get angry at my husband, who doesn’t see the biggest or smallest mess he makes, right after I’ve spent time deep cleaning. We’ve been married for 44 years, and I’ve pointed out these issues numerous times – in one ear and out the other! So I think that is part of my lack of cleaning, besides the fact that no one sees it but us. Now I have to get up right now and remedy the situation around here, for my own sanity! So don’t feel bad, just get going!

  4. It’s like being off the diet: as long as being off the diet isn’t a habit, then it’s fine! You’re tired. Let yourself get it together and then start again. No big deal! You do a lot and you’re not the Energizer Bunny!

  5. Do you have freecycle (the web site) in Waco? Where I live, it is not easy to find a parking spot near the charity shops, so I just out an offer on freecycle. Most time people come and collect. Depending on the item(s) and the weather conditions, sometimes items can be left on the drive and people collecting them don’t have to bother you at all.

    1. Oh I was hit hard by your purging comments. It’s my goal to purge the house this year and am so proud prior to this tocsay I have a whole room of items ready to go…. but they’re not gone yet so yeah I have a ways to go. Love your blog!

  6. Don’t forget to take time to watch the Super Bowl tomorrow! Texas guy may 🤞🏻 Be the winner! Go KC Chiefs! 🏈🏈

  7. I get it, you didn’t accomplish what you had expected but does not make you a
    Failure. Dust yourself off and tomorrow is another day. We all have days of discouragement and disappointments but maybe you needed a “by” day. Keep up the good work.

  8. OH MY GOODNESS KRISTI….you all torn down a COMPLETE ROOM…Be easy on yourself….!!! I’m sure your family was just as tired and rested too…!!
    Yu also have been building in the guest room…Give yourself a break…!!!

  9. Technically you purged an entire room! Your body and mind need breaks sometimes. My back won’t let me do all the crafting I want to do and I’m learning to respect it and take breaks.

    Anyways, all that work you did, plus keeping us all updated are huge wins!!

  10. I listened to the decluttering book on your advice. It rocked my world. You’re just having one of those rebellions she talked about in the appendix. Start again on day one & Now, go do the dishes.

    1. Sounds like you skipped over the mundane and went straight to the real you. Some of us will never be able to do our dishes every stinking night. Big deal. You worked plenty hard on the important things. You are creative. Stop being so mean to yourself and be proud of who you are. I set a floor lamp in the kitchen while I decided if I wanted it to go back in the living room. I walked around it for two weeks without even seeing it. I finally noticed that it was still there when I tripped on it. I spent those two weeks making over my living room. See, I did what I needed to do when I needed to do it. And the dishes survived just fine. I would rather see your progress on the house than see you worry about dirty dishes. You be you. We love it.

    2. Don’t be hard on yourself – everyone has days/weeks that seem off. I’m a teacher and influenza B is running rampant in our school – I’m letting things at my house go so I can get the rest I need and maybe do some fun stuff to keep up my spirits. It’s 40 degrees today – major heatwave which sure helps with the attitude.

  11. Since you keep telling us about how few dishes you use I don’t see why you can’t just wash them straight after dinner? Leaving them until the next day means they are sitting out for 24 hours, and given your tenderiser has touched raw meat that seems kind of gross. Plus you have to look at them.

    And as Dana will tell you, washing things that have dried on food on them is soooo much harder than washing stuff that has just been used. I don’t mean to be harsh, but you’re making things harder for yourself. Do as Dana does and time how long it really takes! You’ll be surprised and then after you eat you won’t have the excuse to leave it because “it only takes 4 minutes” or whatever.

    Otherwise you’re looking at dirty dishes literally 24 hours a day until you wash them to use them again. And it’s not even the same amount of work to do it that way, but with having to look at the in between, it’s more work!

  12. I appreciate you needing a few days to recoup from the big demo and building the closets. But, I hope that you can get in the habit of taking the ten minutes, or less, that it takes to clean your kitchen after a meal. Once it becomes an established part of your routine you will realize how much better you feel to start work in a clean space.

    1. 1. I’m on my second listen through the book. We rebel, we grieve, we get emotionally exhausted. It happens. No judgement. Keep going.
      2. I would show you my pile of “nearly purged ” but that would be telling 😉
      3. Fill the sink with hot soapy water before you cook. As they are dirtied, the dishes go straight in. It helped me!
      4. You rock! Rest!

  13. Just wondering……….if you leave dirty dishes out overnight, do you get bugs? I know when we lived in Florida it was a huge problem. You deserved to have last week off, you worked so hard on Saturday, it really takes a lot out of you. Soldier on next week.

  14. My trick for getting the pile donated – promise yourself a treat on the way home. Thirty minutes at (pick a spot and bring a timer) works for me.

  15. um.. tearing apart that room was a major undertaking! Physically, mentally and everything in between. It’s not something you do all the time either. Maybe you learned that after a big accomplishment/step like that you should scale back your plans for the next week and eek back into it. Then you will be chomping at the bit to get back in after a self-imposed break! Kinda like when I have to travel away from my art supplies or I know I won’t be able to set one foot in my room for a week due to other priorities or scheduling. I’m like rearing to go!

    I call it a soft reboot. lol

  16. Thank you for recommending Dana White. I bought her book on Kindle after you suggested it. It was less than $2.00.

  17. I’m still C.O.P.ing! 😮 I can’t believe it! I’m disabled and chronically ill, so absolutely everything is a massive undertaking. I’ve been telling myself that even a tiny little accomplishment is still an accomplishment, and eventually, they’ll start compiling into a noticable change around here. This week I sorted through several random boxes of stuff, such as the basket last night that had: fabric, brochures, small boxes, important car-related papers, and a lot of papers that needed to be shredded. Why were those things cohabiting? I. Don’t. Know!

    I like Dana’s rule of just opening something up rather than assuming you know what is in it. I had a couple big surprises this week, like that basket I mentioned that I thought was all papers to file, but a third of it was shred material. And the moving box of saltwater fishing rods and EIGHT pool noodles. POOL NOODLES! We now live in a tiny apartment with a pool the size of a hot tub that we’ve never bothered with. I’m sure we brought the noodles mostly as packing material, but that purpose was fulfilled almost two years ago! They’re gone now! 😀

    Glad you took a break and are ready to get back on the horse. Keep at it!

  18. I have the same issue with taking my recycling. I’m better about it when I tie it to something I already do every week. I know I’m going past the recycling on Tuesdays to teach at the Y. So, I’ve made a real effort to take my recycling on Tuesdays.

    Maybe tying the donation drop-off to something you know you do every week will help.

  19. Just wondering, can the guys that take your trash take your donations? Delegating could be the answer here, maybe.

  20. Lack of sleep is a huge factor in my whole state of mind. Cut your self some slack. You accomplish more in one day than I do in a week. You are fine. List what you have accomplished.

  21. Well I always admire and respect your transparency. We’re experiencing the real deal here. I celebrate your living authentically. Something I always aspire to as well. You will find your life sweet spot in all of this. You have lots to celebrate

  22. Link washing dishes with cooking. Soak as you eat then finish up before you leave the kitchen. No exceptions. Vacuuming is not as important or purging. Forgive yourself and get back in the saddle. You are only one person and get tunnel vision when on a project. You are perfectly normal.

  23. I started with a huge burst of energy and activity too, and I have slowed down since then also. But I am keeping up with the kitchen and keeping the living room tidy, so that’s a plus. I have a more modest goal of one purge bag a week. Then if I exceed that goal I can pat myself on the back! I need to keep in mind that building a new habit takes at least 3 weeks of continual practice. Yes, that’s science. So cut yourself some slack and get back to practice everybody!

  24. My self-imposed rule is this: We don’t sit down to eat our meal until all cooking utensils are cleaned (unless it’s something that needs to soak while we eat) and cooking mess taken care of. It’s amazing how fast I can clean things up when I’m eager to eat! After our meal, the only thing left is the easy stuff…a couple plates and utensils.

  25. Somebody might have mentioned this but I will again anyway. If you can’t bring yourself to wash the dinner dishes, just fill the sink or equivalent with hot sudsy water and let them soak until you get to them if it just seems like too much.

    I visited relatives on a trip to the U.S. from Ecuador, where I live. My hostess/niece was so beat after dinner she insisted we just leave the whole works until morning. Service for 7, as I recall. As they all headed for bed, I was willing to do it all right then, but no, she said. “At least, let’s soak them,” but that got a no also. The deep sink would have held everything.
    Everything was helter-skelter on the counter.

    Well, due to the schedules of all the family, they all vanished at 7:30 a.m. I ended up with the job of emptying the dishwasher (an unnoticed task for the gobbling teens who only eat and run) and then dealing with caked-on food that needed a trowel to get it down to a level the machine could handle. It would never have come clean without some pre-washing attention. It was so unnecessary to spend that much time.

    The aftereffect of that experience was good. I made a deal with myself to do my dishes here in my kitchen in Ecuador (No dishwasher and I heat water to do them in my hotpot) no matter what.

    I feel better now. A venting session among friends.

    Kristi, go easy on yourself. It was just one of ‘those’ weeks and we all have them.

  26. I find it hard to take my stuff to Goodwill too. I just put it out by the curb with a sign that says “free” and it’s gone in a few hours. If it isn’t gone in a few days then I just leave it for garbage pick up (every other week) and I feel absolutely no guilt. If no one wanted it enough to stop and get it then no one will want it from Goodwill. I am constantly amazed that I have a pile of garbage (garbage=stuff that you’d normally donate or take to a landfill; trash=kitchen and bathroom trash) every other week and my neighbors do not. Do they just hoard everything? Do I consume too much? What is the deal?

    1. I have to say that nit one man wrote about his purging experiences. Does anyone’s mate help at all with the housework? Even just cleaning up after themselves?

  27. Dusted and vacuumed my entire house today! Yay! Cleaned out two dresser drawers on my bedroom and part of my closet. Purged 87 items this year. My goal is a net 2020 items out of my house by the end of the year. I keep track of purged items by filling in boxes on graph paper. The year stars out with 2020 boxes outlined. Everything other than food that I bring into my house adds a box. Everything I purge results in a box being colored in. While I did listen to the book and appreciated the container concept, I’m also trying to be zero waste, which makes purging a challenge. For the past two years, I’ve averaged one plastic grocery sized bag of garbage a week. I’m trying to get that amount down. My other rule is only like new stuff goes to thrift stores. I’ve found some ladies who make dog beds for the animal shelter. They’ll take anything fabric to stuff them with.

    I’ve read it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. So tomorrow you get to try again.

  28. Don’t allow yourself to be self critical when you take time to recoup and recover. The body knows when a calibration is due. You are making time and space that will make you more productive when you begin again.

  29. One day at a time! Don’t worry about falling off the wagon. You get a fresh start the next day. I’m going at a slower pace as I get my house put together. Rather than worry about what didn’t get done I celebrate what did. The last of my big boxes is now unpacked! And I have a place for everything. I’m now working on refining those spots and building what I need for storage. I tell myself I can do anything for 20 minutes! You can do this!!

  30. Have you listened to her podcast yet? That might help you stay motivated after reading the book again. I’m so glad that you shared about her book because she is speaking my life. Lol. Everything she says makes total sense to me. One I finished How to Mange Your Life Without Losing Your Mind I started listening to her podcast because I had to wait a little bit before I could buy Decluttering at the Speed of Life. I listen to the podcast as I’m cleaning and decluttering and it helps keep me motivated and focused. You’ll get back on track. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all need a break from adulting now and then.

  31. Dana White has a podcast. If you keep her podcast on your rotation that might help you keep it in the front of your mind.

  32. I tuned in to your blog after a long absence, and I have to say that I am amazed at what you do! You seem to have more energy than most.
    RE being unmotivated… when that strikes me, I just go with it. Usually taking a break helps me in the long run.

  33. I also had a bad week last week with my COPing! On Sunday I told my husband I wanted to clean the house like we were having company, lol! I was only able to clean up the clutter, but it was a start. We’ll get back in the habit again!

  34. I have not taken time to read all of the replies, so please excuse if this is a repeat. My first thought after reading this post was that maybe you were trying to “adult” Too many changes at one time. What if you would focus on just purging? Or just the kitchen?? Or just whatever, but focus on only one thing at a time for at least a couple of months until that is a habit. Then when it’s a habit start one more thing

  35. Re-listening to her book gets me moving again too! And I absolutely have to put donations in my car IMMEDIATELY. I’m embarrassed at how long piles of donations have sat around my house and just become invisible to me. Like I have a plan for it so I no longer have to think about it…because figuring out what to do with the stuff is the hard part. At least once I get it in my car I HAVE to drop it off before I grocery shop! Good luck getting back up on the wagon with your habits!

  36. I have recently stumbled onto your site and find it very inspiring. And I love how you are honest with your readers, you don’t try and put on a show. I too have a lack of motivation when it comes to cleaning, when you are trying to remodel, work full time, deal with every day life, cleaning just seems a crap thing to do. But don’t be too hard on yourself! Its perfectly ok to stop adulting for a few days or even a week. Take that time to replenish your energy. You do A LOT and you need to know that its ok to just be done with daily chores from time to time for your own sanity. You’ll get back to it before it gets out of hand.

  37. Here’s another tool you can try; I love it so far because the tasks are very easy and quick to accomplish. So far, I’ve done each day’s task and was able to move on. It also counts how many items you get rid of (either by toss, donate, or selling) if you need that for motivation. App is TOSS and I got it from the Apple Store; it’s loaded to both my phone and my iPad and set to remind me once a day of a new task. Yesterday it was find all the jackets you no longer wear, use, or that don’t fit. Took me all of 5 minutes to complete and 4 more items out of my house. Try it, I think it’s great.

  38. Totally understand being unmotivated. That’s been me for a few months lately. Still trying to get the rest of the Christmas decorations down (I put up a LOT), and we had the back of my Flex filled with donation stuff which I’ve been driving around with for a couple of months! My excuse was we normally donate to our Hospice Thrift Store which closed (temporarily, we hope!). But last week we had a bit of a surprise, I up a decided to sell my Flex so it had to be cleaned out! Saturday morning run to our Twin City Mission and one MONTHS old task finally done – and car sold on the same day – so, yay! Hope all this helps with my motivation lately too. Love to see the progress, Kristi!