Cleaning to Procrastinate


It’s a sad habit I have: when something is looming over my head (i.e. statistics homework for tomorrow *cough, cough*), I clean. Sometimes I cook, but right now I’m on a cleaning kick. Part of this is due to my Pre-Lent house blessing coming up, and I’d rather that my priest NOT see my piles of papers, shoes, laundry, et cetera.

It started earlier this weekend with me emptying most of my email folders to my inbox and starting from scratch in sorting them. Yes, unlimited email storage has taken away a dire need to purge, however, I rather liked deleting emails from 2004 that contain old information. Do I need an email from a friend asking for prayers regarding a relationship when she is now married to someone else??

Currently, I’m tired – a lot. It’s hard for me to keep up on sleep or feel rested, which makes me wonder what is going on with my neurotransmitters, but I also know it’s due to things other than my depression. Coming home on Friday, I was thinking of how much I needed to get done in the coming week regarding my cleaning. I had dishes piled in the sink and on the counter, recycling and trash to dispense along with an office in shambles. Suddenly, I remembered some information from my first days out of college – Sandra Felton and Messies Anonymous.

Christmas of 2004: I had been living on my own for about 6 months in Wichita. I didn’t have much, but I was also trying to figure out how to make my small apartment “homey.” I was failing miserably. Enter browsing mom and dad’s bookshelf. Hm…. The Messy’s Manual ??? Interesting. I took it home and, get this, actually read it. While I didn’t always follow her advice for organizing my home, it did empower me with a few concepts:

  1. Your home does not need to be spotless and immaculate 100% of the time
  2. It’s important to have a system that works
  3. Throw away/recycle as soon as you can. If you know it’s trash, get it out!

So, while I have fully embraced the first point, number 2 is still coming along, and number three is almost in full swing. Felton is good at offering both quick and long-term solutions. On Friday, I remembered one of them – The Mount Vernon Method.  As a side note, I remembered her Mt. Vesuvius Method a few years back and shared it with a friend. This helped her not kill or divorce her husband, for which I was later profusely thanked by both of them. I gave full credit to Mrs. Felton. (Thanks, Sandra!)

Anyway, I was able to address my home in a way that I could handle. Rather than look at my entire house as messy and unmanageable and view myself as a domestic failure, I looked at the downstairs and the upstairs. I made a list. And I will go through the list as my time allows me. Already my desk looks so much better. Yesterday, I focused on my dishes.

I am also of the opinion that this is a season of life where I won’t be able to have everything the way I want it. I’m going to be busy and some activities will need to be put to the side. That is a hard fact for me to embrace. I don’t like being a “messy”, but I am. And at least Sandra Felton and several thousand “Messies” will be around to help me when I have the time to attack my mess. Until then, please stay out of my office.

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