15 Minute Tidy – Self Care Month Day 10

Depression can be a huge Catch 22. We feel too terrible to get up and do anything, and because we don’t get up to do anything, we feel even more terrible. This theory applies to the space around us as well. When we can’t find the energy to get out of bed, general tidying can often fall by the wayside. And then our house is cluttered and dirty, with piles of dirty laundry or dishes lying around, and we become even more disheartened.

If you can find the energy to dedicate 15 minutes each day to general tidying, it will likely make you feel better both mentally and physically. Remember, cleaning counts towards physical activity. And decluttering has such great benefits:

  • less frustration because things are easier to find
  • a greater sense of harmony and peace because things are already in their place, and you’re not reminded that you have to clean
  • less guilt and embarrassment because your place is no longer a mess
  • less anxiety at the thought of having to sort through piles of stuff

There are plenty of sites out there to help you get organized and clean your place. Unfuck Your Habitat is a great one, and Flylady, while kind of twee, can really help with organizational skills.

And if 15 minutes seems totally overwhelming, start with 5. Clean off a table top or desk, scrub your kitchen sink, or vacuum one room. Take our the garbage. Fold one pile of laundry. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and the incentive to continue, and that’s good for your mental health.

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I’m An Adult Now – Steam Cleaners

dog_carpet

One of the important parts of adulting is knowing the how, when and why of keeping things clean. When I recently posted to Facebook about steam cleaning my sofa I got an incredulous reply from a friend exclaiming that they didn’t even know you could do such a thing, and please would I explain how.

So let’s start with the fact that all fabric things around your house get dirty. Or at least dusty. Here at House O’ Fits, things such as curtains, throw cushion covers, table runners and bed spreads get laundered on a quarterly basis. I use the change of season (solstices and equinoxes) as my calendar guide. Linens that are more delicate or harder to dry, especially if they don’t come in direct contact with skin/hair or pets (things such as pillows, feather duvets and feather or wool mattress pads) generally get washed annually. (Yes, I said washed… I totally wash my feather linens and put them in a dryer – they turn out fine.)

But what about carpets, rugs or fabric-covered furniture?

Dudes, these should also be cleaned. Not constantly, but at least somewhat regularly.

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Stuff It


It’s almost like a secret shame but I’m ready to admit it to the world. I’m addicted to those “hoarding” TV shows.

First it was Hoarders on A&E, and now Hoarding: Buried Alive on TLC. Yes, I know TLC is often totally exploitative – both hoarding shows are, to be fair, but I can’t stop watching. It’s like rubbernecking while driving past a car crash.

I think my fascination with the shows is that they terrify me so much. Especially the ones where people who were formerly neat and tidy suffer some huge emotional loss and then are inclined to surround themselves with stuff – and not just good stuff, but piles of old newspapers and soft drink cups. The people who were already happy to live in clutter – you expect that they’ll live in their own sloth – but when the neatfreaks have their brains snap, that’s some scary shit.

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Down and Dirty versus Clean and Serene

For Christmas, my brother sent me a book called Dirt: The Quirks, Habits and Passions of Keeping House. It has been on my wish list for some time now and I was delighted to receive this book of essays about people’s relationships with the spaces they inhabit. I was disappointed once I started reading it though, since most of the essays appeared to be from people attempting to justify their own sloth. Sure, there were a few where the writers dealt with the dirt of others – having to clean the house of a deceased relative who had been a hoarder, for example. There’s also a section of essays written by people who have worked as maids or housekeepers. And even a couple where the essayists wrote about a specific chore; Laura Shain Cunningham loves to wax her floor, Juliet Eastland is obsessed with sheets.

But most of the essays were from people who hated to clean, about why they hated to clean.

Which is where I begin to feel like a freak, because I like to clean. A lot.

There are things I dislike, and downright hate – hate cleaning the shower for instance, and the shower is the only place in the house where mainstream cleaners make an appearance. I live with wall to wall carpeting and would prefer hardwood floors but it’s a rental and the choice is not mine. So I vacuum and steam clean carpets a lot more than I would like, because with two dogs, you can’t NOT keep the rugs clean or else the places gets too doggy smelling. But I don’t think I actually hate the task itself – just the time it takes up.

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