Monday's Pretty Things

MONDAY’S PRETTY THINGS :: Cleaning and Organizing Inspiration (and a Confession)

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Glass Hand Soap Bottle
Glass Hand Soap Bottle via Mrs. Meyer’s

As I sit down this afternoon to share the prettiest kind of cleaning and organizing inspiration with you, I have to be honest and say that sometimes when I clean, things get ugly.

You should have seen me in the kitchen earlier today. I decided to take apart the entire crisper drawer and lower shelf assembly inside the fridge, so I could give it a good scrubbing. That was fine. But putting it back together was another story, since all the parts disconnected from each other when I took them out of the fridge.

An hour later — sweating, frustrated, and nearly in tears — I finally managed to get everything back into place. (At one point I even downloaded the owner’s manual PDF from the manufacturer’s website. The only help it offered on the plastic piece in question? “Note: Be sure to replace center support before reinstalling glass shelf.” Gee, thanks!)

I’m not sure why I allow things like that to get me so riled up and frustrated. A whole lot of pride and indignation, I suppose, “I should be better at this! If this is still taken apart when Josiah gets home, I’ll be so embarrassed!” But it’s a ridiculous sort of thing to get angry about.

It’s just a fridge drawer (or rather, a series of pieces, which, when properly aligned, magically comprise a set of drawers.) And contrary to the arbitrary pressures I put on myself constantly — news flash! — I don’t actually have to be good at everything (like making crisper drawers out of puzzling plastic parts.) I don’t have to be an expert at all the things. I don’t have to be an expert at all. And I don’t have to be perfect.

Now why is that such a hard lesson for me to learn?

Organized Swedish pantry via jordgubbar med mjolk
Organized Swedish pantry via Jordgubbar Med Mjolk

Wicker laundry basket from Crate and Barrel
Wicker laundry basket via Crate & Barrel

Coffee art print via Billy & Scarlet
Coffee art print via Billy & Scarlet

Linen and Burlap Towels Hanging on Nails with Soap from the Portfolio of Johanna Pilfalk
Towels and soap via the portfolio of Johanna Pilfalk

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Poetry & Words

WRITING & WORDS :: Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop :: ‘Clean all the things!’ v.s. One Year to an Organized Life

I bought this book a few weeks ago.

One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds

I can hear my mom saying, “People who buy organization books and people who actually organize are not the same people.” I know, I know, mom. You’re right.

I want to be organized. It’s not like I didn’t have THE best example in the world, growing up. My mom’s a cleaning and organizing whiz. Seriously, she’s amazing.

And then there’s me.

It’s not so much that I don’t know how to be organized. It’s that I don’t actually act on what I know. (Which is far, far worse. I wish I could claim ignorance.)

This is fairly humiliating to admit.

The thing is, I truly desire to create a calm, peaceful, inviting space for my family. And this year, I feel very strongly convicted that I need to conquer the clutter. I need to keep a clean home.

For one, my husband works hard all day long and he deserves to come home to a relaxing environment. I want to provide this for him.

And two, well, did you see that post earlier this week where I mentioned that my parents packed up our house last move? It’s not the first time they’ve boxed up all my things and cleaned our house from top to bottom.  As embarrassing as it is to admit this on my blog? Far more embarrassing to have my mother, the queen of clean, wiping out my freezer and seeing what actually is under the kitchen sink and in the back of the closet.

I hang my head in shame.

My approach to getting a handle on the housework, though, looks a lot like this:

Clean All the Things via Hyperbole and a Half

[via Hyperbole and a Half]

I’m kind of an all-or-nothing person. Yes, I know that’s a logical fallacy. It’s also how my sad little brain works.

I’m also quite the multitasker. The older I get, though, the more I’ve come to realize that my version of multitasking is really distraction in hyper drive. Productive? Not so much.

We all know the fable of the tortoise and the hare, but I look more like a bunny on a sugar high hopping from room to room than I do a slow and steady tortoise.

All this might not be so terrible if I wasn’t also a perfectionist. So, I work myself into a clean all the things frenzy, hop from room to room starting a billion and five organizing projects, then sit down and cry when my house doesn’t look like a magazine after one day hour.

So when Natalia from Ma Nouvelle Mode emailed me about Regina Leed’s book One Year to Organized Life and suggested we go through it together, I was only too eager to say yes. (Natalia’s in France. I’m in Florida. Don’t you love the internet?)

The book is broken down into chapters which correspond with months of the year. January’s four-week segment was all about kitchens, and February will go through bedroom organization.

via Amazon's Look Inside feature of One Year to an Organized Lifevia Amazon's Look Inside feature of One Year to an Organized Life

So far, I love it — it’s encouraging, the tasks are manageable, and best of all, I don’t end my cleaning frenzy lamenting “I should have done more! I should have done better!”

Viva la clean!

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!
Inspiration, Poetry & Words

Beautiful and Useful: Conquering Clutter

We had to move around some furniture this morning. Aveline’s crib had been near the wall of windows in our bedroom, but yesterday she discovered she could reach through the side of the crib and mangle the mini-blind slats (don’t worry, the cords have been safely tied up for a long time now.)

Swapping the position of two pieces of furniture seems simple enough, but now everything is all discombobulated. Cluttered. I’ve been on a mission to get rid of excess stuff, but honestly, I struggle with it. Not with the idea of getting rid of things, but with the actual sorting. If I’m totally honest, I would admit that when it comes to sorting, I am pretty lazy.

Image of Paper Ephemera from Europe Trip

I love the idea of minimalism. In theory, I hate clutter. In practice, I live with little piles of clutter. But I get so STUCK when it comes to sorting piles of small things — especially when they are interesting. For me, it’s the ziploc bags of ticket stubs and maps and letters and greeting cards that stop me in my tracks. I just really have a problem getting through the stashes of paper ephemera. I get bogged down, finding myself distractedly reading that one card my uncle wrote me for my high school graduation or reminiscing over the train ride from Barcelona to Paris. Gah!

Un tren de valores Renfe Barcelona Spain

And the stickers left over from addressing wedding invitations? The six pathetic pieces of cardstock left over from my last scrapbooking project four years ago? Get a grip, Gina! I don’t need these things to remind me of those memories. I’d rather have the space in that basket on the shelf for something actually beautiful or useful.

I am going to tackle the bedroom this weekend, with this William Morris quote in the forefront of my mind: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Because really, laziness is the only thing keeping me from a clutter-free house.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful