Being a selfish person, unused to spending day after day caring for children, cleaning the house and working on deadline for various outlets without seeing a regular paycheck or working regular hours, I sometimes have trouble “giving a shit.” When life overwhelms me, I can spend all day until 4 p.m. in my pajamas. I can keep my kids indoors and shake my head at the state of my house, so deep under that I don’t even know where to start.
I don’t like living like that. So, last month, I launched a personal experiment called “Operation Give a Shit” or OGAS. I would take my house one room at a time. I would deep clean and decorate it. I wanted a Pottery Barn house. I would dress well every day. I would take nap time to shower, clean and write. I would start giving a shit.
Do I have a Pottery Barn house? Not really. Do I look like I stepped out of a Family Magazine spread? Usually not. But my house is now livable; it’s more our own. And it’s still cluttered at times, but it’s fairly clean. I’m not embarrassed when the neighbors pop by unannounced.
I logged this project, step by step, and I’d like to show you my downstairs and what I had to do. Part of OGAS is keeping clean what I’ve deep cleaned. That’s, actually, the hardest part. When I’m cleaning, really cleaning, I can devote hours to the task. When I’m tidying, I clean like a 13 year old. I just don’t see things. That week-old bowl of dry Cheerios on the counter, for instance, is obviously part of the decor. Once something makes its way somewhere, I leave it there. My mind ceases to see it.
So, I started in the kitchen:
That’s as clean as my counters get, to be honest. This was the biggest task. I bleached the floors, got in the cracks with the ole toothbrush method, cleaned out the cabinets…I even cleaned out the fridge and washed each section.
Next, I cleared the shelf, which was overrun with baby DVDs and used as a general resting spot for assorted junk.
The dining room was a bit of a project. I needed to steam clean the carpets, and put a few things up on the walls.
I took the living room in three sections. The babies’ corner, the living section, and the book wall. I steam cleaned, washed the carpets, dusted, and generally tidied, making a bag of toys for Goodwill.
Then I had the nursery. I had to get the girls into their big girl beds, first. Then I stuck decals on the wall, to their delight. We rent, so I can’t paint the walls, but it’s just as well as this project is already taking me much more time than I expected.
I had the babies paint a mural that I’ll hang underneath Natalina’s name.
I used the extra letters to decorate the babies’ bathroom, which they adore. I say, if you want to make the smallest room in your house look even smaller, throw non-sensical letters up all over the place. What the heck, right?
The most important thing to remember when undertaking a project like this is that it’s not going to get done in a day, a week, or in my case, even a month if you don’t have help. Don’t get discouraged. Do what you can each day, and if all you get done is keeping up with the rooms you’ve already cleaned, don’t worry, that’s enough for that day. I’ll update you when I finish my upstairs. Right now it’s about half done. This project has been going on for five weeks now, and I’m okay with that. I’m working toward getting to the place where all I have to do is upkeep all the time. I’m working toward keeping house on the daily, like a real person. But starting from zero, I realize it takes a while.
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