I got home last night after a long day at work, followed by an intense work out (planks-do 'em, they work, trust) and rather than hop on the couch with Ponyboy I emptied my grocery bag, got to making a bomb BBQ chicken pizza and then set to work organizing my cupboards. It was dreamy. All of the glassware in matching sets, the salad forks with the other salad forks, the spices laid out nicely in their drawer, labels facing up. Closets came next. Tanks on one end, then short sleeves, followed by long sleeves. Sweaters folded just so. Cleaning supplies straightened. Toilet paper stacked neatly. Tea lights corralled and set in the perfect spot for reaching in and grabbing nightly. Mumford and Sons accompanied me for this spectacularly fun task and, let me tell you, when I finally sat down I felt such a deep sense of satisfaction I could hardly believe it.
Ha. I wish I could tell you this was a joke. It's not. I am a complete and total clean queen. Like, crazy. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I vacuum my house at least every other day (keep in mind that my 'house' is less than 800 square feet, so there's that...). Even when I was working 16 hour days, I'd set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier just so I could make sure the house was dusted and fresh. Because there really isn't anything worse than coming home to a dirty abode. I'm that person who can't sit down and relax until everything is in it's place. It's nice. I would so much rather be clean than dirty. But goddamn sometimes it'd be interesting to see what happened to my mental state if I left a shirt on the floor or a towel hung crookedly on the rack.
However, I don't always enjoy cleaning and organizing. It just feels like something I have to do, a compulsion. And for those times (like at 6:30 on a Friday when I'm walking in the door after a long week and I can't even shed my blouse until I sweep under the bookcase (the dust bunnies. they have taken over under there. it's a battle i will never win.) I am eternally glad that I have my somewhat insane patterns and tools in place. So today I'll share with you my tricks of the trade. Confessional style.
+I dust everyday. Seriously. In the morning when I'm brushing my teeth I grab a rag with my spare hand and make my way around the living room. As I'm changing in the bedroom, I wipe down the dresser, nightstands and mirror. And when my coffee is brewing the countertops get a spray down. It takes all of 45 seconds, tops. Wanna know why it works? Because I do it everyday I never have to really 'dust my house.' Always just a quick walkthrough.
+There are never dishes left in the sink. Our kitchen is tiny. And our sink is even smaller. And I really fucking hate fruit flies. I just can't handle having a huge pile of dishes staring at me when I meander to the kitchen for coffee in the morning. How depressing. So much better to just plow through it that night. Use a coffee cup? Wash it. A cutting board? Yep. Get some dish gloves though. Your mani will thank you. Disclaimer: I am fortunate enough to be married to a man who, on many celebratory occasions (Thanksgiving for fifteen, dinner parties with six courses) will put me to bed and stay up for hours (unbeknowst to me) cleaning every last plate and wine glass.
+Do your laundry before you have three loads. We, like many city folk, don't have the luxury of washing machines in our house. I walk down two flights of stairs and stick a slew of quarters in a crappy washer and dryer everytime I need to wash a shirt. It doesn't sound that bad (and some people have it waaay worse-laundromats? kill me.) but it's annoying and completely bothersome to be loading and unloading laundry 6 times in one night. Much more manageable with one load of whites and one load of darks. Trust me.
+Make your bed everyday. Duh. If there is one thing you can do to set your anally neat knick mind at ease when you walk in the door at night this is it. It'll make you feel so much more put together and in charge of your life. Really.
+Keep your closet organized. I pack a bag when I leave for work in the morning because I go to work out right after. First thing I do when I come home is unpack my work clothes, put them either in the dry cleaning pile or hang them back up and put my work out clothes in the dirty laundry. It takes two seconds and it's so much better than opening your closet door in the morning with absolutely no idea what to wear and being confronted with a pile of wrinkled clothes. Same goes for that 20 minute period in the morning when you are throwing on shirt after shirt and none of them are looking good. Hang that shit back up. Right then and there.
+Eliminate eliminate eliminate. Be ruthless about what you keep. Junk mail goes straight into the recycling. I pay all of our bills online. Packaging from any online shopping sprees goes right down to the bin. I love my design magazines. But I don't have space for them and, plus, when I am looking at them for reference I really don't want to thumb through the whole magazine to get to the one image I wanted to keep. So I tear pages as I read, then file them all in white binders on my bookshelf. The magazines go bye-bye. Sad, but true. I don't hang onto anything. I'm sentimental but I hate clutter so I limit what we keep. Cards? Sit out for a week then gonzo. If you keep up with it you will never ever have to do a big 'spring cleaning.' You will never open your closet to a pile of tax returns from 1998 falling on your head. Get rid of it. Like, way more than you think you should. Trust me, the chances that you will need that piece of paper is slim to none. And those old running sneakers you hang onto just in case? None to none.
+Wipe down your bathroom surfaces after you wash your face in the morning and after you brush your teeth at night. So simple. Grab a few squares of TP, dampen and wipe. Your counters will always look clean.
I could really go on and on. But I'll keep the psychopathy to a minimum and leave you with my favorite tools of the perfectionist trade.
1 | Jayson Home Oval Seagrass Baskets - baskets for days, pretty ones
2 | Lint Roller - a necessity if you have a pet
3 | Ole Jensen Dustpan and Broom - for cleaning the dustbunners under the bookcase
4 | Peddlers Round Wire Basket - no really, basket for days
5 | Mrs. Meyer's Basil Dish Soap - !f you're going to do dishes into the wee hours, at least your house will smell good.
6 | The Shark Rotator Lift Away - I was so sold on a Dyson until I tried out this little lady number. So. Much. Better. It's lightweight, it manuveurs like a pro and it sucks up erything.
7 | The Shark Pro Steam - Si, another, for mopping. BOOM, this thing rocks. I used to be a hands and knees mopping kinda girl. No more.
8 | Ikea Tekla Hand Towels - Magic, absorbent, I use them for all household tasks. At 99 cents you cannot find a better towel.
9 | Redecker Goat Hair Round Dust Brush - So pretty and so fabulous.
10 | Terrarium Wall Hook - Put hooks in all closets, on the back of doors, cabinets, ceilings. Great way to get things off the floor and out of sight.