BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Stop. And Breathe. Crisis Cleaning Rears its Ugly Head

garbiketa.jpgI’m working myself into fits and I need to stop. I feel like I’m spinning in circles, rushing from one room of my house to another tidying this, straightening that, dusting this bit off, putting this thing away at last, only to to see a thousand more of these items to do. It’s productive, to a degree, but it’s making my anxiety level climb, so here I sit. Breathing. Good.

Why all this nervous rushing about? Because after living in this house for four years my friend is finally coming over to see it. My friend, whose beautiful new(ish) home I saw for the first time a couple of weeks ago. My friend, whose home is perfect.

I know, I know…

I’m NOT comparing my home to hers. They are different. We are different people at different stages. I have a dog (yep, blame it on the dog… she won’t mind), my friend doesn’t. I have a college kid here for the summer, she doesn’t. I have a blended household, she doesn’t. I work full-time (except in the summer, but shh), she doesn’t. Still, her house is CLEAN, and mine? Well, it isn’t.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to post this (yep, warts and all) then drag out the vacuum cleaner, see if I can find some Windex, and call it done. Oh wait, I’m supposed to meet her in half an hour and I haven’t brushed my teeth yet. Yeah, maybe the other stuff just won’t happen. She’ll love me anyway, won’t she? I hope so. And exhale…


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Checking Items Off the List

My house is coming together. In a matter of days it will be listed, and anyone anywhere will be able to pull it up and view it. It will be available for inspection, either via internet or in person. It will be exposed, wide open to the prying eyes of anyone who wishes to look. That’s a very unsettling feeling.

I’m trying to look at my home with a critical eye to make it as appealing as possible to a buyer. I’ve put away almost all personal items and have been cleaning and decluttering like crazy. Well, maybe not like crazy yet, but a little. There’s plenty more to do.

My sweetheart has been working hard too. Last night his project was caulking the master bathroom. The old caulk was gross and had to go. He spent a long time at it, and the difference is amazing. It looks like a brand new bathroom.

There are about ten more of these little projects to cross off the list. They are small things that may not stand out on their own, but when taken together give off an overall impression. The impression I want to give is clean and in good condition. That means no burned out lightbulbs, no dirty window tracks, and no scuffed up baseboards.

pig-pen-lrgIt’s like that with our bodies, isn’t it? We keep our hair neat, our fingernails manicured, and our clothing clean. It doesn’t change who we are, but it changes the overall impression we give. Are we put together or are we falling apart? Those small, cosmetic changes have everything to do with how others perceive us, and in fact they influence how we are valued. This may not be fair, but it’s true. Given the choice of two similar homes, one cluttered and dirty, the other tidy and neat, most buyers will opt for the tidy home. Now think about people. Two people with similar backgrounds, similar experiences, similar levels of intelligence, education, talent, and so on going for the same job or same spouse will often be treated differently. The more attractive, more put together person will almost always prevail. Maybe it’s unfair, but it’s life.

As I check items off the list for the house, I’m reminded to check items off the list for myself too. All those small changes add up, and they aren’t just adding to my perceived value. The changes I make to my well being are adding a sense of accomplishment to my life. That’s worth working for.


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Simple Things – Kitchen Edition

This could be my kitchen's clean twin.

This could be my kitchen’s clean twin.

Life is made happier by noticing the simple pleasures and appreciating them. Here are some things that make me happy in the kitchen.

1. An empty sink and dishwasher. I don’t enjoy the chore of putting away dishes, so if I use a dish it’s nice to know that I can easily rinse it and put it in the dishwasher. A pile of dirty dishes in the sink isn’t so nice to look at, and a dishwasher full of clean dishes is a chore waiting to be done.

2. A well stocked pantry. I can pull a meal together, make lunches for myself and my family, and know that I can do a little baking if I want to when the pantry is well stocked. Currently it is not. Bummer.

2a. A well stocked fridge and freezer. Again, options abound and we can make healthy choices when I’ve taken the time to make a list and actually follow it.

3. Cleared off counter tops. I grew up in a home with a lot of clutter. Not dirty, just a lot of stuff. I prefer to have more space and less stuff, especially in my kitchen. I want to see those expanses of builder grade pinkish formica! Something about having less on the counter is calming to me.

4. The smell of something good cooking. I love food. This should come as no surprise. So when there’s something delicious cooking I enjoy the aroma. Of course at that point the counters are usually covered, there’s a lot of dirty dishes in the sink, and the supplies from the fridge and pantry have dwindled, but that’s what it’s all about in the first place, isn’t it?

5. The knowledge that we have more than enough and never have to face the day hungry. My mother used to tell us about starving kids in China. I thought it was a lame attempt at guilting us into eating something unpleasant, but as an adult I do appreciate that we have more than enough. That alone, is something to be thankful for each and every day.