Day 6 – The Plan

After yoga, meditation and breakfast:

1. Start 2 more loads of laundry by 7.

2. Put chili components in crock pot.

3. Vacuum.

4. Put away anything not put away.  Throw away anything that needs it.

5. Stank and clutter patrol.

6. Figure out clothes for the week and maybe pre-assemble outfits.  (Don’t forget the purple pendant.)

7. Clean out work tote bag and put together stuff for the office: painting, calendar, cookies,

8. Leave at 2:45 pm for crochet group.  Hang out until promptly 5, and then go home.  Maybe buy some danish for Monday morning, to soften the blow of having to go back to work.

9. Spend about an hour after crochet reading work emails and getting my shit together so I don’t feel completely useless when I walk in Monday morning.

Day 5 – The Plan

After yoga, meditation and breakfast:

1. Empty out the linen closet and only put back what I actually use or love.

2. Start at least 2 loads of laundry at 7, and put them away.

3. Lick and a promise on the kitchen floor and surfaces.

4. Brown the meat for Sunday’s chili, and put in a bowl in the fridge to marinate w/the chili spices and diced tomato.

5. Leave the house by 11:00 am, drop stuff off at dry cleaner for hemming and pressing, and then spend the rest of the day with The Cop having hot monkey sex.

6. Come home by 11:00 pm and get to sleepin’.

Day 4 – The Reality

1. Get up at 5:00 to be awake for grocery delivery sometime between 6am-8am.  (Peapod, I love you so.) Done.  I really prefer setting the alarm for about an hour before I need to get up, and then lying in bed internetting.  I’m sated after about 45 minutes, and then get up without a problem.  I take that 45 minutes anyway, usually, but when I time it so that I see it as “bonus” time, and not time I’m stealing away from other stuff, I enjoy it more and get up with less resentment.

2. Yoga, meditation, breakfast.  Well, breakfast happened.  And I made soup from the multiple cans of pumpkin puree, two cans of coconut milk, veggie broth and spices (curry powder, turmeric, cumin, salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash bold and spicy).  Holy crap that was good.  Made a ton, and I get to have it all week – yay, one meal sorted!

3. While waiting for groceries, do some catch up from earlier this week. None of this actually happened Friday.  Feeling myself developing resistance to it, although I’m going to tackle the linen closet shortly.  One of the problems is that the purging process creates chaos – I have several boxes of crap to get out of my house – and every open thread weighs on me, so after a while, I just feel jangly and overwhelmed.  Instead of avoiding tasks because of this, I would really enjoy taking a quick break, figuring out how to close the open threads, and then get back into it.

4. Leave at 9:30 to go to doctor’s appointment.  Try to be back by noon. Actually did this on time, got there with time to spare, and had a good session.  He uses sarcasm as a therapeutic tool, which I have mixed feelings about, but unfortunately it’s actually effective on me.  It always takes us some time to unearth what the theme is.  Today it was how difficult it is to ask for help, and how I want to learn how to do that now so I’m not one of those 70-80 year olds who push people away their whole lives UNTIL THEY NEED HELP, and then they wonder why nobody’s around to help them and why they’re so lonely.

However, instead of coming home by noon, I went to the mall, got a perm (3 hours – but spent the better part of that with my eyes closed, focused on my breathing; even got a lovely scalp massage at the end – bliss!), had lunch and dinner there, and got home around 5:30.  Oops.  Came home, took a 4 hour nap, and then started working again around 10.  I’ve been wanting to get the perm for weeks now, and this is really my last opportunity for a while.  I have the whole weekend for it to settle down before I go back to work Monday.  Jury’s still out, but I’m getting used to it.

5. Start the pantry and hall closet purge.  At the end of it shall be no expired food, and a place to hold all the plastic containers and their lids.  Got part of this done Thursday night after I posted, which is how I had the pumpkin and coconut milk ready to go Friday morning.  Finished the rest after my nap.  The most satisfying part was getting rid of all That Ex’s stuff.  Really, we’ve been broken up now longer than we were together, and I’ve been dating other people for a while now.  I don’t need any of him in my house anymore.  The other satisfying part is how much space I have, and the realization that I don’t have to fill it up.

Of course, instead of cloistering myself tomorrow and trying to get the last of the cleaning done, I accepted a date from The Cop and will probably spend the bulk of the day with him, which is going to be a lot of fun.  He usually is.  Not going to spend the night, though – when I do that, I don’t get home until noon, and then just want a nap.  I also find that I really, really prefer to sleep in my own bed in my own home.

All in all a really good day. I spent too much money, but I had fun, and I feel pampered and pretty.  Oh, yeah, and I got stuff done around the house too!

Day 4 – The Plan

1. Get up at 5:00 to be awake for grocery delivery sometime between 6am-8am.  (Peapod, I love you so.)

2. Yoga, meditation, breakfast.

3. While waiting for groceries, do some catch up from earlier this week:

  • Dust
  • Sweep and mop kitchen floor
  • Deep clean all kitchen surfaces
  • Take everything out of linen closet.  Toss everything unnecessary.  Rearrange everything that’s left and take stock of anything needed.
  • Make sure it’s easy to get to my meds and I can immediately see what’s running low.
  • Be honest with myself about the various makeup and potions – have I used it in the last 3 months?  Why not?  If it makes me sad, toss it. (Note to self – you can barely take your actual medications, let alone the 3572 supplements you bought.  Toss everything but the daily multi vitamin, and then take that sumbeech daily.)
  • Vacuum
  • Dismantle couches, fluff cushions, vacuum and spray with febreze
  • Vacuum giant cat pillow and sprinkle with ‘nip.  Laugh when cats roll around and fall off pillow.
  • Wash and put away at least two more loads of laundry

4. Leave at 9:30 to go to doctor’s appointment.  Try to be back by noon.

5. Start the pantry and hall closet purge.  At the end of it shall be no expired food, and a place to hold all the plastic containers and their lids.

  • Put all the coats in the BCWHATY.  Leave a hanger or two for the current coat, plus a guest coat.
  • Hats, scarves and gloves in the clothes closet, in one of the newly emptied drawers.
  • Door decorations in a box in the BCWHATY.
  • Get rid of any appliance you haven’t used in the last year, or that you have multiples of (blenders, I’m lookin’ at you…).
  • Find a new home for the alcohol.  You’re a grown-ass adult and don’t need to hide it in the hall closet.
  • Get rid of the rest of That Ex’s stuff.
  • Throw away the paint samples fercryinoutloud – those swatches have been on the wall for 3 years now.  I bet those colors got discontinued in any case.
  • Move the cat supplies to where the other cat supplies are.  Duh.
  • Take all the tchotchkes off the tops of the cabinets – don’t get sidetracked moving them around; just get them into the bookcase and be done with it.  Toss anything you hate.
  • Are you really going to drink all that tea?  Seriously?  When?
  • Do you really need 6 cans of pureed pumpkin?  Make soup or GTFO.
  • Put crock pot, fryer and bakeware in the front closet after moving the booze and plasticware.
  • Speaking of which, the plasticware can go in the drawers that get emptied when you move the hatsscarvesgloves, the door decorations and That Ex’s stuff/paint samples.

Day 3 – The Reality

Meditated, did yoga and ate breakfast (at noon, because I didn’t get up til 11, but I refuse to call it lunch).

Pulled everything out of the Big Closet What Holds All the Yarn (BCWHATY), at least the stuff that was loose and not in an actual box up against the wall.

Found 3 blouses I thought I’d lost, and three more that I’m not sure still fit.  Tried one of them on and paired it with the sparkly jacket and flowy pants that make up my one and only evening outfit, which has been missing a shirt since I got rid of the one I usually used. (Note to self – eventually buy a suitable belt and some sparkly shoes.)

Finally took the remaining 12 candles out of the seriously enormous box I bought from Overstock TEN YEARS AGO.  Put the pillar candles on top of the bookcase in an unimaginative but symmetrical pattern.  Tossed the seriously enormous box, and the taper candles, which I will never use and which smelled funny.

Looked at my BCWHATY and realized I had 8 shelves that were ridiculously underutilized.  Like, one empty box on each shelf.  Took everything off those shelves and either tossed it or found a new home.

Realized that, rather than books or decorative items, I was storing all my office supplies in plain sight in my living room.  Moved everything to the 8 formerly-underutilized shelves in the BCWHATY.  Now realize that I have two floor-to-almost-ceiling bookcases in which to put all the tchotchkes that have been crammed above the kitchen cabinets, and are still in random boxes throughout the apartment.  I can now take “buy display shelves” off my list.  (Please note that the tchotchkes haven’t been displayed in any even remotely decorative way also in about 10 years.  I may realize I hate them all, but at least they’re no longer in boxes or in the aesthetic Siberia above the kitchen cabinets.)

Found several unopened Amazon packages in the bookshelves.  Opened them and put the stuff away.  Batman fabric, a graphic novel, and bulk condoms, if you must know.

Very much wanted to keep stuff off the closet floor as much as possible, so wanted to make better use of the shelves that run along the top of the closet.  Took down three boxes of things I haven’t looked at since my mother died 12 years ago.  Two of them were boxes of (even more) tchotchkes.  Unpacked them all, threw away the ones I didn’t like that were broken, and set aside three that I do like that were broken in fixable ways.  Remarkably few overall were broken, compared to the first four boxes that I unpacked 6 years ago.  The breakages, and how guilty I feel about them, is why it took me so long to get to these.  I felt like I’d failed or disrespected Mom somehow by letting her things get broken.

The third box was full of photo albums and – much to my delight – paintings from both my mother and my son.  I’ve added them to the shelves, because none of them are framed.  I put the photo albums and my son’s sketchbooks on the bottom shelf, along with some of my parents’ other papers.

That gave me basically one and a half shelves back, so I was able to put up most of the yarn boxes.  I switched the summer clothes from another big box to a small hamper, and was able to corrall all the remaining yarn from all over the house.  Knit and crochet implements also got rounded up and are all in one place now.  Moving the summer clothes got me some additional space in my clothes closet, so I also took all the purses, luggage and empty storage boxes out of the clothes closet and found tidy homes for them in the BCWHATY.  Actually got rid of a couple, plus some hats and scarves.

So, five hours after I started, I have a clean closet, a pile of trash to take out, an empty trunk-style coffee table (where most of the loose yarn was stashed), empty bookshelves and a new home for all the assorted tchotchkes lurking around the house.  I’m tired.  Nothing else from the list really got done.  This is a recurring theme with me – I plan, my plan is logical if ambitious, following it would be easy……… aaaaaaaand I do a bunch of other stuff instead.  Sometimes I happen to get mostly the results I would’ve if I’d followed my plan, but it’s a crap shoot.

Dinner and then bedtime.  Tomorrow’s a new day.

Day 3 – A New Hope

Plan for the day, after I meditate, do yoga and eat breakfast:

1. Catch up what I didn’t do Wednesday

  • Vacuum all floors
  • Dust
  • Sweep and mop kitchen floor
  • Deep clean all kitchen surfaces
  • Dismantle couches, fluff cushions, vacuum and spray with febreze
  • Vacuum giant cat pillow and sprinkle with ‘nip.  Laugh when cats roll around and fall off pillow.
  • Wash and put away four more loads of laundry
  • Take everything out of linen closet.  Toss everything unnecessary.  Rearrange everything that’s left and take stock of anything needed
  • Make sure it’s easy to get to my meds and I can immediately see what’s running low.
  • Be honest with myself about the various makeup and potions – have I used it in the last 3 months?  Why not?  If it makes me sad, toss it. (Note to self – you can barely take your actual medications, let alone the 3572 supplements you bought.  Toss everything but the daily multi vitamin, and then take that sumbeech daily.)

2. Tackle The Big Closet What Holds All the Yarn

  • Take everything on the floor out
  • Vacuum the floor
  • Put all the yarn into one of the existing yarn boxes.  Rearrange as needed to accommodate materials for the Giant Afghan(tm).  Dig out all the yarn crammed into random drawers in the rest of the apartment and stuff it into one of the existing yarn boxes.  Yes, this means the giant stash in the coffee table.  Do you even remember what you HAVE in there?
  • Tidy the shelves and find homes for anything just randomly crammed somewhere “for later”.
  • Put summer clothes in the summer clothes box.
  • Make some kind of inventory of what’s in there and tape to the closet door.  Let it percolate a little and think about what I really need and how best to store it.
  • Purge anything that makes me sad or angry.

I’ll update as I go along.

Day 2 – The Assault on Chaos Continues, kinda


  • Swept bathroom floor and wiped it down real quick with a Windexed towel.  Good enough
  • Cleaned all bathroom surfaces
  • Laid out fresh bathroom towels and rugs
  • Vacuumed the front hallway, because the cats had gone all Freddy Krueger on some cardboard in there.
  • Dusted the bathroom
  • Tidied the kitchen a bit more
  • Straightened couches a little
  • Had aforementioned hot monkey sex with The Guy (even the Russian judge gave it a “10”)
  • Went out into the Big Blue Room and hung out with friends.  Got donuts.  Ate them.

No progress at all on the linen closet.  I’m not going to spend the last 5 minutes of the year flinging stuff around like a crazy person.  I’m going to enjoy my clean living room and my cuddly cats, and sit here with my Kaluha listening to Grace Slick and being grateful for a good year, all things considered, and another opportunity to begin again.  May this next year be even better than the last one.  May I allow myself to enjoy it, no matter what my closets look like.

My Best Year Yet… Giving it another shot.

This article by Jinny Ditzler, the author of “Your Best Year Yet”, really pissed me off.  The “quit whining” tone, the bootstrapping and the giving myself a performance review / holding myself accountable just all chapped my ass today.  I’m feeling whiny and flaily and like I really just want someone to hand me a drink, pat me on the head, and tell me I’m doing my best and it’s all ok.

Except it’s not.  I’m sucking in a lot of different areas right now – some a little, some a lot.  Some of it is exhaustion-suck (which I’m trying to work on by getting more sleep, with limited success – apparently there is such a thing as too much sleep, or I’m in some other way not doing it right).  Some of it is diabetes-suck (I’m not watching my eating or being all that consistent and disciplined with my exercise, medication, monitoring or appointments).  Some of it is work-suck.  My motivation is in the toilet, and I know my performance over the last 3 months has been less than awesome – my personal nadir was the last day before the holiday where I basically surfed the net all day and thought “fuck it all, each and everyone.”  It was super obvious. I just got a promotion, and there’s a lot of fear of success / fear of failure stuff going on here.  There’s also a lot of just plain overwhelm.  Some of it is personality-suck – I don’t want to be around people, but I’m lonely.  I want everything the way I want it, but I want to think of myself as a flexible and open person.  I want connection, but I don’t really want to work that hard.  I want the perfect relationship, but I don’t want to risk or trust or work on that either.

I’m also not meditating or doing yoga regularly anymore, after about 5 months of real consistency.  I can tell.  It leads to everything-suck.

So, reluctantly, I turn back to Jinny’s article.  Here are the things she asks readers to focus on, to make next year not so sucky:

  1. Appreciate my success.
  2. Learn from my disappointments.
  3. Stop lying to myself about who I really am.
  4. Create my next year from the inside out.
  5. Give myself a performance review.
  6. Set my top 10 goals.
  7. Be accountable.
  8. Pay it forward.

The whining in my head is really loud, even just cutting and pasting this list.  Performance Review?  Who the hell wants to do that?  I’m not gonna do it, and you can’t make me!  (Except for that nagging voice that says, “yeah, but you really could be doing better at work, and isn’t it getting boring feeling so fragile and overwhelmed all the damn time?  C’mon…)

So, here I go, real fast:

1. Appreciating my successes.

  • I asked for a job and a promotion that I really wanted.
  • I actually got both the job and the promotion.
  • I started dating again, with a minimum of drama.
  • I managed to keep my place within about an hour of being company-ready at all times.
  • I’m closer to my son than I have been in over 3 years.
  • I had five solid months of doing yoga and meditation every morning.
  • I was able to start waking up super early and had a really good morning routine that became my new standard of normal.
  • I am learning to be a manager, and being more brave about dealing with interpersonal things.
  • I started therapy again, and have been genuinely working at it

2. Learning from my disappointments:

  • My weight yo-yo’d and the binge eating hasn’t really changed.
  • My sugar control hasn’t improved despite a new medication, because of the binge eating and other behavioral things.
  • I fell in love with a married man and had an emotional affair for a couple of months.
  • I reacted to a new challenge by freaking out and becoming resistant / hiding – this has been a longstanding pattern.
  • I keep repeating my pattern of withdrawing and avoiding intimacy.
  • I discovered that I have a lot of trouble keeping my promises to myself and to other people, mostly because of demand resistance.  Again, the disappointment is in the repetition of a pattern I though I’d improved.

3. Stop lying to myself about who I really am:

I’m not sure exactly what this means, but I’m choosing to read it as “quit setting goals for the person you wish you were, or the things you wish you wanted, and set them for the person you really are, and the things you really want.”

Unfortunately, the person I really am wants to eat pasta and watch Netflix all day.  While knitting.  And buying things off Amazon.  The person I really am doesn’t want to save money, and doesn’t want to complete things, and wants everything to work out awesomely anyway without expending any effort.  The person I really am doesn’t want to be uncomfortable, ever, for any reason.  The person I really am doesn’t want any motherfucking goals, thank you very much.  The person I really am doesn’t want any part of the goddamn PMP.

Right now, the person I really am kind of sucks.  I don’t really like this me.  I like the hard-working, over-achieving, super-productive me.  The me that gets praise and respect.  I haven’t seen that me in a few months, and I kind of miss her.  She’s not great at work-life balance, she can be hermit-like and kinda self-involved, and her idea of fun is reviewing different planner configurations to see if she can unearth One Planner to Rule Them All, while reading endless blog posts about GTD.  Ok, so she’s got some flaws, but I honestly liked her a little better than this me that’s cropped up in the last few months, who doesn’t want to do or be anything except comfortable.  I’ve got a little bit of contempt for this me.

So, which me do I approach the new year as?  I’m sick of feeling like The Oatmeal’s Blerch.  I don’t want to be a Blerch anymore.  I don’t want to be stuck only doing the comfortable things, and never trying anything else because I don’t want to be hurt, or scared, or disappointed, or risk anything.  But I also don’t want to be the isolated, solitary, over-achiever I was at the beginning of last year.  I want to enjoy how satisfying hard work feels again, but I want to be able to modulate it a little, so that I can also really enjoy how satisfying fun and connection and play are.  I’ve taken it to the opposite extreme, and it’s like eating nothing but ho-hos for a year.  I am so sick of ho-hos, but I’m afraid of the pain of suddenly going paleo.  The extremes are what I’m sick of, but that’s all I really know, is how to be extreme.

Maybe, the me I need to channel is the me that wants to gain my own respect.  The me that wants to feel capable and strong.  The me that doesn’t want to be afraid of myself anymore, or disappointed in myself.  The hopeful me.  Not the martyr me, but the solid, reliable, hard-working, fun-loving, affectionate me.  I like that me the best, and I miss her.

I’m going to stop here and think about this a little more before I jump into the next steps.  There are dishes to wash and cats to feed.

Day 1 – Defilthification


  • Had windows and screen door open for big chunks of the day to air the place out, and burned a pine scented candle most of the day as well.  Smells smokey and piney in here now; can’t smell cats or general funk, even after being outside and coming back in.
  • Changed bed linens
  • Tidied night stand and dusted bedroom
  • Emptied all the trash cans
  • Gathered dirty dishes in apartment and corralled them in kitchen
  • 10 cardboard boxes broken down and gone (I’m sure I’ll find more as I go along)
  • Three loads of dishes washed and put away, crock pot soaking.
  • Four loads of laundry washed, folded and put away.
  • Remaining loads (5 – this girl has too many clothes) sorted into hampers
  • Two bags of trash out
  • 3 empty cat litter tubs and two bags of recycling thrown out
  • Bathroom clock battery replaced and clock dusted
  • Bathroom calendar switched out to new one
  • Ordered new colander to replace the one that died (and got tossed)
  • Rebooted all 3 catboxes and threw away old litter immediately
  • Put away alllll the grocery bags

To Do tomorrow morning before The Guy comes over for hot monkey sex:

  • Sweep and mop bathroom floor
  • Clean all bathroom surfaces
  • Lay out fresh bathroom towels and rugs
  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Sweep and mop kitchen floor
  • Deep clean all kitchen surfaces
  • Dismantle couches, fluff cushions, vacuum and spray with febreze
  • Vacuum giant cat pillow and sprinkle with ‘nip.  Laugh when cats roll around and fall off pillow.

Semi-annual Purge Of All The Things(tm)

The tail-end of the year is actually my favorite time.  I am allergic to resolutions – they are a major demand-resistance trigger, and a sure recipe for failure for me – but I love to use the last couple of days of the old year to clear the decks for the coming of the new year.  I am a little bit superstitious, and tend to set a lot of store by starting the new year with an actual feeling of openness and newness.  I’ve learned about myself that I can’t do this when my house is messy and / or dirty.

This year, I feel like I’m starting at a bit of a disadvantage, although honestly I probably feel like that every year and just don’t remember.  I got promoted in September, and have really been struggling to find my feet after discovering the workload doubling and now being responsible for building a team of about 8 people almost from scratch.  I come home just to sleep, basically.  I’ve also been sick for the last two weeks, with various things, so am now feeling completely overwhelmed.

I’ve got six days of vacation left before I have to go back to work.  I’ve basically spent the last week asleep, so am feeling a fair amount of pressure to do what the title says and PURGE ALL THE THINGS!!  Moving away would work too, if I could just take the cats and my laptop and step into a shiny new place.  With housecleaning fairies, a big washer and dryer on the same floor as my closet, and a grizzled-yet-buff handyman who enjoys walking around shirtless.

Where was I?  Right – six days left, and no running away.

Here’s my plan for the rest of my free time:

Day 1 (Tuesday) – Defilthification.  Also known as Destankification, plus basic surface cleaning.  This’ll get me back to living someplace that looks like it might support human habitation and doesn’t smell of dirty dishes, dirty clothes, and over-used catboxes.

Ideal Goal:  Looks like the housecleaning fairies and the shirtless handyman just left after attacking everything with fervor and vim and beating it into harmonious submission.

Realistic Goal:  It don’t stank.

Day 2 (Wednesday) – Further assault on the laundry mountain, and one closet.  (Plus hanging out with two friends, possibly even out in the Big Blue Room, a.k.a. “Outside”.)

Ideal:  All laundry done and put away, linen closet purged of everything expired, ugly and/or unnecessary, world peace achieved.

Realistic:  Another load done and put away.  I can find my meds and there’s room for the towels.

Day 3 (Thursday) – More laundry and The Big Closet What Holds All the Yarn.

Ideal:  Everything neatly put away, all the floor space is clear, and nothing extraneous is left in there.

Realistic:  I can see the floor, and nothing’s about to fall off anything.  All the yarn is at least in a box of some kind.

Day 4 – (Friday) Groceries, fridge purge, and What To Do With All The Lids and Kitchen Crap

Ideal:  Everything is taken out of cabinets, drawers and fridge, scrubbed and put back.  All unused appliances and gadgets are tossed, pantry is reorganized, and I Find The Perfect Lid Solution.

Realistic:  No old food in fridge or pantry, lids not falling on my head.

Day 5 (Saturday) – Clothing and anything left to do in The Big Closet (unifying theme – both are in my bedroom)

Ideal:  All my clothes are neatly arranged, de-linted and outfits are set for the coming week including jewelry.  All clutter is purged.

Realistic:  Summer stuff is put away, pants are dropped off for hemming, and nothing’s lurking on the floor.

Day 6 (Sunday) – Crochet group, cooking for next week, and a couple of hours of prepping my mind to get back to work Monday.

Ideal:  I worked diligently all week and everything is perfect.  I go to bed early, satisfied with myself and ready to face 2015.

Realistic:  I have clean underwear!  And lunches for the week!  And maybe a 3 item punch list for Monday so I don’t feel like a totally unprepared doofus.

I’ll use the blog to keep track of how this is going, and so I can remember that I did in fact do things, in a couple of months when I feel overwhelmed again.

ETA:  Updated to add goals.  Because I hate myself just that much and can’t just sit here quietly and sip my tea.