February 21, 2007

Digging Ourselves Out, Day 2

This makes for a lot of posts in a single day, but my goal is to keep this Digging Out stuff separate from regular posting. We are not a Cleaning Blog.

I have been thinking about the whole 15-minute thing, and I think we ought to ditch it in favor of 10. Not only does 15 remind me of Someone Whose Name Or Insect Species We Will Not Mention, but it's too long. I was trying to get geared up to do my 15-minute thing, and I thought, "Ug, 15 minutes." Yesterday when I cleaned my kitchen table, I set the timer for 10 minutes, and only added another 5 halfway through when I started feeling frenzied. But I was done after 11 minutes, and I spent the remaining 4 minutes picking labels off the Target bowls I decided to keep, which doesn't count.

So! We're only one day into this, I think we can make a change. It's 10 minutes now. You may of course spend longer on it if you want to, or you may do two 10-minute things, but I'm thinking of it as 10 minutes = success. I'm not setting a timer anymore, either, unless it seems fun or motivating to do so.

Today I am turning my attention to another flat-surface-clutter problem area: the bureau in our bedroom. This bureau is one my parents bought before I was born, using a faux-finish kit (possibly referred to at the time as a "groovy-finish" kit) to paint it a hip green with happenin' brown streaks. It looked ugly to me when I was growing up, but now it looks good to me--a combination of sentiment, old age, and the return of similar shades of green. The knobs have to go: they're the white kind with black screws, seen on every single cabinet door from the 1970s. I have replacement knobs purchased and in the drawer of that bureau, but haven't gotten around to replacing them yet. (See how I made that sound as if it's been a matter of days? In fact I bought the knobs at least a year ago, maybe closer to two.)

One thing that's not entirely fair about doing this surface is that I knew it would be one of my first tasks, and so I cleared a couple of things the day before yesterday. I know I shouldn't have, but at the time I told myself I was only doing what I should be getting in the habit of doing anyway, which is clearing clutter as I go. I fold laundry in our room, and I often leave piles of clean dishtowels and washcloths folded on top of that bureau; I removed two teetering piles yesterday. I nearly put them back just for realism, but clutter had already closed in over the spaces they'd vacated and it was too late.

So here is a Before picture:

Items found on this surface (or nearby) included:
  • both halves of a baby monitor, neither half of which we're using
  • two add-on panels for the baby gate, neither of which we're planning to use
  • a baby sun hat Elizabeth never wore and is now too big for
  • an extension cord
  • a Target bag embarrassingly full of clearance Valentine's Day candy
  • two votive candles
  • the tube of Lansinoh I lost when the twins were still nursing
  • half of a plastic Easter egg
  • a whole lot of books, plus one more hiding under the bureau

And here is the After:
Much better. It would be better still if I could think of another place to keep that jewelry box, but I can't.


Laura said...

beautiful! You've inspired me to do *something* cleaning-wise this afternoon :-)

Mommy Daisy said...

I like 10 minutes better...more realistic for me. (And I have been cleaning more, thanks for the motivation!) Today I spent 10 minutes sorting a gigantic pile of mail. I probably threw away over 80% of it. It looks so much cleaner now with a small pile of things.

jen said...

I enjoy your constant posting! Where are the children? hehe. I really enjoy that dresser to. I was fearing the worst as I was reading the first paragraph but it's really nice.

I do the 10 minute thing too. I get my husband sucked in and say "let's do what we can in 10 minutes" and we usually wind up finishing it. Because a lot of my problems stem from the fact that I cant' get motivated to start.

desperate housewife said...

I agree with Jen. If you can motivate yourself to start by saying, "Well, I can stand anything for ten minutes," it often turns into a half hour and you've picked up the whole playroom! Not always, though...
Your dresser looks awesome, btw. It appears to have been dusted as well as tidied!

Erica said...

I swept the kitchen and cleaned all the counters. 7 minutes. Whew! I'm beat!

Bunny said...

Nice job! I love the mirror you have above the dresser. I think the jewelry box looks fine, too. Could it fit just in the top drawer? Very nicely done.