October 9, 2007

Cleaning Project: Bathroom Closet

1) Breakfast of Champions:

2) Say to self repeatedly, "Mother-in-law coming in six days, six days, six days," until frothy, panic-like consistency is achieved.

3) Take "Before" picture:

4) Toss cat out of closet.

5) Bring large kitchen trash can into bathroom for "sorting."

6) Put laundry basket outside bathroom for things that need to live elsewhere.

7) Put a towel in the bathtub so I can put things in there without them getting damp.

8) Leave toilet lid up so I remember not to put things on there (we're a one-toilet household).

9) Take everything out. Clean. Put less-than-everything back in. Throw away, among other things:
  • retainer, last worn age 12 (saved out of lasting fear of orthodontist, who was so very adamant about NOT LOSING THE RETAINER)
  • box of matches with only 2 matches left (matches added to fuller box)
  • two nail-polish-removing canisters, too full of removed nail polish to work anymore
  • incense, from when we used to use incense
  • bottle of Nair--WHY?
  • liquid eyeliner--WHY?
  • mascara marked 2005 (I'd read that mascara should be labeled so you'd know if there was a good reason it was so disappointingly clumpy and dry)
  • three caps, containers unknown
  • sixteen eyeshadows in colors like "urban" (harsh, cynical blue) and "island shimmer" (pale shimmery seafoam green)--WHY OH WHY?
10) Take "After" picture:

11) Change clothes to get rid of bothersome lemony-clean fragrance.

I still need to deal with the shoe-holder full of hair accessories I never use (hanging on left wall of closet), but that's going to have to wait for a fresh breakfast. And I need to deal with the medicine cabinet and the under-the-sink cabinet--but again, live to fight another day.

I don't think the photos tell the entire grueling story, but is it interesting enough for ME to try to tell what the photos left out? Like, you see that white box on the top shelf? I put stuff like contraceptives in there--anything I would really rather my mother-in-law not see. I'm 5'9" and I had to stand on tip-toe to get that box up there, so my 5' mother-in-law would need a really good excuse. "Needed an aspirin" won't cut it.

See the bin of bath toys? I dumped them all out and scrubbed the bin.

I got rid of several of the empty tissue boxes I was using for storage, and replaced them with sturdier cardboard or plastic boxes.

I dealt with the stuff you can't see below the bottom shelf (extra toilet paper, bucket of cleaning supplies, baby bath seat, empty toilet paper rolls, spilled q-tips, cat fur), and the stuff in the little white cupboard (lower right, holding up the bin of bath toys).

I took away the Cat Towel we use to cover our towels, and it's down in the washing machine.

After emptying the kitchen trash, I took the trash can outside and scrubbed off several layers of OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT? from the outside and inside.

In short: I did a lot of work today, and I am glad, and I feel that much readier for the impending visit. But also: I am in need of a reward such as a second plate of chocolate-chip cookies, and there are no more cookies, nor are there any more chocolate chips in the house. Hm...maybe Oatmeal Scotchies?


Linda said...

The fact that you have a cat towel makes me like you a lot.

Annie said...

Cleaning the trash can would have been enough for one day. *shudder* I have one like that. Where does it come from? I douse it with Lysol when I empty it, put it back and sing a little song of denial. I suppose if my Mom (MIL is deceased) came to visit I would clean it. A cookie reward is a good idea!

Jess said...

The after photo looks great. Your before photo looks like our after photos. Seriously.

Also, you MADE those cookies? My cookies always come out flat and icky-looking. You should start selling what you bake. Or at least a cookbook. Maybe both.

Chelle said...

You know, I thought you were destined for sainthood just for putting up with your MIL. The whole "one toilet" thing just sealed the deal.

Your halo, it is shiny.

Tessie said...

RETAINER? Awesome.

I'm trying to unlearn that empty kleenex box as storage trick or we could have trouble.

Sara said...

Hmmm, looks like my bathroom, only our "closet" is the cabinet under the sink. I can't keep it clean for the life of me.

Great job! Send me some oatmeal scotchies!

And also----I need a cat towel for inside of Ed's dresser. The cats jimmy open the cabinet part and sleep in Ed's underwear!

Jen said...

Oatmeal scotchies. Mmmm. Good idea!

Also, have you tried the Breyer's Peanut Butter Tracks ice cream? Like Moose Tracks, but better.

Cleaning certainly warrants a treat or 3.

Erica said...

I love love love the cat in the closet. And the fact that you have a "cat towel" leads me to believe this photo was not a once in a lifetime occurrence.

The After photo is so beautiful that I want to bake you some cookies. Only I would eat them. And that would be good. Er, bad.

Shannon said...

When in doubt, peanut butter cookies. My husband would sat oatmeal raisin.

Jacquelyn said...

What exactly is an oatmeal scotchie?

Nice work on the bathroom, btw. Bet the cat approves.

Swistle said...

Jacquelyn- What is an...? Oh, dear child! Oatmeal Scotchies recipe coming soon.

Swistle said...

Okay, recipe for Oatmeal Scotchies.

Black Sheeped said...

Cat in the closet! Cat in the closet, on the cat towel!

See? There are soooo many reasons I love you, and then you reveal something awesome like a cat in your bathroom closet, sleeping on a cat towel. And then I love you even more.

mamaDB said...

Oh, snorted with laughter at the cat in the closet and "4) Toss cat out of closet." I'm easy today or something. Made me giggle.

We have a few "cat towels" in this house too.

Closet is lovely and that plate with the cookies and the tea/coffee is a work of art and well deserved. Good job!

Katie said...

Ummm...I recommend shoving that white box all the way to the back and then putting ten things in front of it and something heavy (like a brick?) on top of it--preferrably something heavy with an alarm that goes off if moved. You know she is totally going to stand on the bath toy holder and snoop every corner.

I love this post. It totally inspires me to get to work on my house in the same manner! How did you do this with the kiddos in the house?

donna said...

Ha ha! I clean the trash can for my MIL visits too. I also ironed her sheets once because I forgot to take them out of the drier in a timely manner and didn't want to hear about how they don't wrinkle if you take them out and put them on right away. Oh, I also used three bounce sheets, knowing (because she made a point of telling me after seeing them on my drier) that she HATES those things. Ha ha! Hope you enjoy that april freshness!

MrsGrumpy said...

The things we do in preparation for Mother in laws. My mother in law lives here and I do the "whole house clean-focus on the bathroom" whenever she says she is coming over. I got out of it today though, by not answering the phone. Our fat black cat sleeps on the linens at the bottom of the closet as well. Why is it black cats only want to hang out on white stuff?

jen said...

My MIL is the queen of "someone she knows" stories. I swear she makes this crap up just to make a point.

samantha Jo Campen said...

They will write songs about you and your great deeds one day.

Excellent work today!

I know you can hear me... said...

WOW! You are amazing! I think I need to rest after looking at all of your hard work!

Misguided Mommy said...

damn woman your closet is almost as bad as my clothes closet but not quite because i have a two foot pile of shoes

tulipmom said...

Your before photo looks exactly like my kitchen pantry.

And my mother in law is coming (unexpectedly THIS (!!) weekend.

So perfect timing with today's inspiring post. Better get off my a$$ and get busy! Will you send me some of those cookies if I do as good of a job as you did? :)

mom of the year said...

*standing ovation* I am so proud and envious of your cleaning gusto! Please send any extra cleaning vibes my way. Also, I love that you have "the box"; we do too!!!

Marie Green said...

I hate project like that looming over my head. I avoid them FOREVER. Then, when I finally buckle down and do it, I'm HIGH for awhile. And relieved. And all- that wasn't SO bad, now was it?

Somehow though, I don't learn. Because if I did learn, I would just tackle projects like that more often, instead of letting them eat away at me forever first.

It looks great. And I love your "secret" box. Everyone needs a "secret" box! =)

Also, loved the cat sleeping in the closet. Loved EVEN MORE your "cat towel". Cat towel. I just keeping saying it. I love it!

Pann said...

Yay for you! So very productive! So I need that breakfast of champions, too I think.

My mom is coming to visit me on Friday. As. In. Three. Days. From. Now.

OH GOD. In our household, my mom is the MIL, and my husband's mom is just a mom. A nice mom.
.... anyway,
Yay!! for you, Swistle. Love the kitty!

Julia said...

We could have been twins this morning!! I had cookies and coffee too!! lol!! And they were your Ranger cookies!

Great job on the closet!! It looks great!! I love that you put the 'good' stuff up high! Great idea!

Mommy Daisy said...

OH my...the retainer. I'm laughing. Not at you, with you! I still have mine. When I cleaned out a box of things from the bathroom a few months ago I threw out an old mouth guard thingy. But I kept the retainer. I'm still not sure I'm ready to part with it. I just love that I'm not alone.

Banana said...

mmmmm, oatmeal scotchies.

Lis said...

The cat towel is great. I'm thinking that with five kids in the house, kitty might need a place to hide out.

Misguided Mommy said...

and also i'll take one swistle breakfast to go mmkay!

and i'm also going to need one for a snack...you know cuz of the baby and all

Emblita said...

Love the retainer story... lol. Its funny how these things stay with us. Also my deepest condolences for the impending MIL visit. I thank my lucky stars that my MIL refuses to fly since she can't smoke on board (jump up and down with joy!).
But at least you got some clutter out. :p

B said...

Hm. Come to my house?

And I like the last step about changing the clothes. I agree!

Thanks for finding my blog! :-D

Love yours!

Flibberty said...

Oh my goodness, those cookies are the most delicious looking cookies I have ever seen! Also, I'm inspired to maybe clean a closet now!

Shelly said...

*gorgeous* cat! And the finished closet looks amazing. I don't think anything in my house looks that good even after it's cleaned.

And I despise people like your MIL who snoop through everything. Damn straight "looking for an aspirin" won't cut it. There should be something cutting but polite that we could say to put snoopers in their place.

Shelly said...

Came back to add:

I clicked on the link for the recipe for Oatmeal Scotchies and my favorite line is this:

"Recipe Yield - About 4 dozen
Serving Size - one cookie"

Yeah, right!

el-e-e said...

Can I have that green mug? It's so happy!

Great work on the closet!

ali said...

mmm...breakfast of champions...:0

Farrell said...

awesome job!
Also: love the dishes; so pretty! and bright! and cheery!
Also: Wanted to know update re: Zoloft. Did you take or not take?

Kelsey said...

That is perhaps the prettiest cookie plate in the universe. It made me feel like spring was just around the corner. Whatever you do; don't let her use that plate!

Power to the cat people, but I think the need for a cat towel (hilarious) is probably on the list of reasons why I'm never likely to own a cat. That would be second after horrendous allergies.

Guwi said...

I'm fixated on that plate of cookies. I'm a pretty good baker, but my choc chip never come out looking like that. They taste good, but they're all flat and thin.

I feel like someone named Sally or Betty in 1955, but please tell me how you did that thank you and you can also send some my way b/c mine don't look that way unless there's peanut butter and chocolate chips in them dang I want a cookie now.


Pregnantly Plump said...

That's a huge undertaking! It's very impressive that you got through all of that in one day. That would probably be a two or three day chore for me.
Our black cat loves the linen closet too, but it's mainly because she manages to get her toys stuck under the door at least two times a day.
Thanks for visiting my blog!

such a lucky daughter-in-law said...

Did someone say snoopy mother-in-law? When we visited a couple years ago, mine actually went through my suitcase while the hubby and I were out. My sister-in-law caught her at it, and she claimed it was only so she'd know what brand of toiletries I used so she could stock them for me. Big heart, no? I was truly touched. And I now keep all of my "secret" items in my purse when we visit.

Artemisia said...

Cat in the closet on a cat towel = you have a house that is livable and lovable.

You did a helluva lot of work today! Great job! It looks FABULOUS.

JMC said...

That is my favorite breakfast. Assuming, of course that you have flavored creamer in that coffee. Speaking of which, they had WHITE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT flavor creamer today at the store!! I bought an industrial size bottle.

I am going through the same cleaning nightmare you are. Only it's not just my MIL, who I LOVE (she doesn't do those things I've read here about yours - scary), it's the whole entire in-law clan. Or those that can make it, anyway. We're having a first birthday get-together for my youngest on the 20th. So I'm cleaning and repairing like a madwoman.

Stacie said...

It is a dreary day. Is it time to start letting my children eat cookie dough while I bake. Because, you see, you have inspired me to make you...you...witch.

Michele said...

The cookie picture is Art. And bravo on the closet. I hide shit from my MIL too, because she is oh so snoopy.

LoriD said...

Your plate is so pretty, I barely noticed the cookies that I must go home and bake tonight. :-)

MadMad said...

OMG! I FEEL your pain! I have sooooo much to say about relating to this - from the need for a cat towel (why didn't I think of that before I dried off my son with what I thought was a clean towel and left him hairier than the cat itself) to having to clean the INSIDE of closets for a houseguest! I am so, so, so truly sorry. There is nothing worse than houseguests, except for, well, YOUR houseguest, frankly - that's what I kept telling myself for the 10 days of mine. "Well, Swistle's gonna have it worse, so quit your whining!" And also: the retainer. Oh, that was just too much! You are so damn funny.

theflyingmum said...

Ah, we too are a one toilet household. But our house is tiny. We have actually dicussed plumbing one into the garage. But then the garage fell down. good thing there was no toilet in there.

Paula said...

Ummmm, where is the cat now?