national clean your home month November 2, 2020 11:16 PM   Subscribe

this year has been and continues to be bad! I invite you to invest a little time in your home and mental wellbeing by participating in this November challenge. From the NaClYoHoMo manifesto: But before you start feeling stressed about the idea of cleaning your home, let's be clear: the goal of NaClYoHo is not actually to end up with a clean home. The goal of NaClYoHo is to spend time each day addressing something you’d like to change about your living space.

Some ideas for things in your home that may need addressing: changing your sheets, cleaning off a horizontal surface that has acquired The Clutter (TM), such as a chair or a countertop, tossing old food. Really, anything that is slowly draining away your energy as you try not to think about it is fair game. We're just gonna turn on a few tunes (as few as you like!) or a short podcast (as short as you like!) and spend some energy improving our situations.

This post is for sharing goals, whatever media you're engaging with while cleaning, before-and-afters, and especially any viking lists. If you're not up to the challenge, that's fine too! Feel free to encourage others or request encouragement.

Things are hard, we know they're hard, let's be gentle with ourselves and each other.

Resources: UFYH Fundamentals, Life Happens, UFYH Reddit (the before and afters are inspiring). (You're not obligated to UFYH, it just happens to be my favorite resource as a depressed person).
posted by snerson to MetaFilter-Related at 11:16 PM (78 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

I have been begrudgingly walking through our tiny tiny apartment with not much floor space for weeks, festering over the few feet of the floor that must to be mopped. It just needs to. I am going to make it happen this week. *goddess willing*
posted by travelingthyme (staff) at 11:26 PM on November 2 [11 favorites]


Alas, the biggest thing that needs changing at home for me is that I need to be subjected to fewer outside noises from construction sites, music venues, and leafblowers sending me daily into autistic sensory distress.

Barring such a neighborhood descent into near-silence, I was actually already planning on deliberately spending part of Election Day focusing on tuning out and getting some housework done—likely to the accompaniment of various Throwing Muses, Kristin Hersh, and 50 Foot Wave records streams.
posted by bixfrankonis at 12:04 AM on November 3 [6 favorites]


I think I'll try for three things:

- organising the paper that is currently overflowing in our house: many years of notes, insurance documentation, tax records, and so on

- tidying up the bookshelves and dusting the books

- washing all the walls in the house

It might be too ambitious, but that's ok.

Depending on my state of mind, I'll either be working in complete silence or with some kind of music (ranging from classical to blues to rock).
posted by purplesludge at 1:07 AM on November 3 [2 favorites]


Today needs to be laundry day. I would like to also start emptying out my hall closet so I can access my extensive collection of cookware and bakeware, but that's too ambitious so I am not going to even keep that on my radar. I just gotta do as much laundry as I can. All the special, hang to dry wash; the towels; the random blankets that can't be thrown in with anything else because they are covered in cat hair. I am most excited about washing my bedding. I have new sheets that I got on sale from Amazon and I really hope they're nice. Sleeping in a clean bed right after a nice shower is sublime.

May we all tackle the things on our lists.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 1:08 AM on November 3 [4 favorites]


November is overloaded: I have to write a novel, grow a moustache and clean my house? You're asking a lot, even if I did already grow a 'stache in advance...
posted by misteraitch at 3:19 AM on November 3 [7 favorites]


We pretty much took care of all the things we wanted to do to our house back in April and May, when Mrs. Ghidorah was furloughed and I was teaching from home. Extended the patio, tore out the weeds and put down fake grass, made the balcony an outdoor living room (more fake grass), put shelves in closets. Guess it’s time to write a novel.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:59 AM on November 3 [3 favorites]


November is overloaded: I have to write a novel, grow a moustache and clean my house?

But think of all the time you're saving by not masturbating.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:59 AM on November 3 [15 favorites]


Can I plan ahead to do this in December? I have been already thinking of doing exactly this in December because I will be further along in recovery from a broken knee and it's gonna need it, since between me having a broken knee and my roommate trying to handle the whole thing on his own while simultaneously taking care of me, the house keeping has kind of gone to the wall since early October. ...Although I am gonna cheat a little and hire someone to come in for a one-time-only housecleaning to catch us back up.

Not that I'm going to be idle, though. I'm going to do a MASSIVE Stuff Purge of:

* Bedlinens
* pots and pans and other kitchen gadgets
* Some decorative gewgaws
* random craft supplies
* Maybe some books

I belong to a really active Buy Nothing group in my neighborhood and I will let it all go there.

This is also going to coincide with me finally being 100% debt free for the first time since I was 17, so I will then make some carefully-selected replacements for some of what I'm giving away. A lot of what I'll be getting rid of is stuff that was filling a need, but was more "good enough" or "the best I can afford" rather than actually filling the need. I'm going to invest in a one-and-done purchase this time.

Then I will finally finish/fix a couple of house/decorating projects I have been meaning to do for a while -

* Finally hang that big framed coffee sack I found in the trash that looks cool
* Finish framing and hanging some photos out in the living room
* Re-arrange and re-hang the photos I have in my bedroom
* Make that side table out of cinder blocks and boards next to the couch and finally get rid of that big round side table that doesn't match anything
* Then finally start MAKING some things with all the craft supplies I keep

Okay, yeah, someone else is handling the "scrub and vacuum" things for one day, but the purging of things is gonna take some doing and is necessary. I have about 30 knives that a former roommate left behind that have just been hanging around and I finally need to bite the bullet and ditch them; stuff like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:04 AM on November 3 [9 favorites]


I have been trying to do this since last New Year, slowly. Our flat is small and our belongings are many, so I've been trying to really cut down, get rid of stuff, and have a real place for everything with everything in its place.

The problem is, I've reached a wall. I love all the clothes I have left. I can't realistically get rid of any more hobby stuff without giving them up completely, which I don't want to do. My husband is not willing to get rid of any more of his stuff. But there are still so many things! But they all bring joy! But I still don't have anywhere sensible to store my bike helmet!

What I wouldn't give for just one big storage cupboard to shove all the excess stuff into. Don't buy a flat with no cupboards if you can help it.
posted by stillnocturnal at 5:31 AM on November 3 [3 favorites]


My husband is not willing to get rid of any more of his stuff.

You know what you have to do.

On a serious note, though, I need this. I have been superficially tidying up and just moving messes around but have hit the point where things must go. I just need to do it.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:35 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


Oh, this sounds good!

I have felt totally overwhelmed by the clutter lately - we've added two work from home desks/offices, and also are keeping more food/water/etc on hand, and we don't have a great place for that. Add to that my natural tendency to pile, and the house is more of a mess than I would like.

I did start this past week and just focus on one (small) room at a time - cleaning up my bathroom, then the upstairs hallway, then vacuuming the stairs. I haven't gotten to the big rooms yet, but I am hopeful that if I can get a handle on the smaller ones, I can move forward from there with a sense of accomplishment.

I've also got a reading nook in the bunny room that I haven't been able to use for over a year, since the addition of the third bunny and reorganization of that room to accommodate another rabbit enclosure. I started working on reclaiming that last week. Three bunnies and their supplies create a lot of dust and hair to keep under control!
posted by needlegrrl at 5:55 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


This sounds really good. I need to find ways to make cleaning less stressful, less of a time of self-criticism. This project could help.

So my goal is: find ways to make cleaning and organizing more fun and less fraught.
posted by medusa at 6:14 AM on November 3 [2 favorites]


Damn, I saw this too late. I just spent the day sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, changing bed linen and dusting
posted by infini at 6:43 AM on November 3


Otoh, it was after far longer than normal... life has been hard, no?
posted by infini at 6:43 AM on November 3


We had just invited our cleaner back to work last week, when the new UK lockdown was announced. I think technically we're allowed to have him here, since he's working, and we can put distancing measures in place.

He can't help us with the overwhelming amount of STUFF, though. My husband favours putting it all in pretty containers, whereas I would much rather gradually get rid of it. I feel we can reach a compromise but the problem is always getting started.
posted by altolinguistic at 6:49 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


Our kitchen floor needs mopped so bad, and the cabinets need wiped down. My brother's old bedroom/junk room/office needs decluttered and cleaned. I need to change my sheets and take out my heavier bedding now that winter is approaching (though the extended forecast is calling for 70s at the end of the week). I need to move my summer dress clothes into the junk room closet and bring out my fall winter clothes. Add mopping my bedroom floor to the list. Time to get the basement ready for Christmas. All my coloring stuff needs to be moved somewhere (where?) and the laminate flooring needs to be moved into the closet down there. At least the Christmas tree is still up.....

Fuck. Thank goodness November is just starting.
posted by kathrynm at 6:52 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


Finally did something cohesive with the bed linens so that it actually looks like an adult-like bed and not like some swirling mess of oddly-sized blankets with a cat bed thrown into the mix for good measure; the change inspired by seeing it accidentally highlighted on a zoom call during the times I need to zoom from the bedroom. A bonus, I also learned how to layer and tuck in all the linens under the mattress on the bottom, so now instead of them getting bunched up and falling off the bed in the morning, they stay relatively stable and I just need to straighten them up which takes just a few seconds.
posted by nanook at 6:59 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


In mid-October, I started giving myself a sticker a day for twenty minutes of cleaning - and three on Saturday for an hour. Twenty minutes is my attention span for this sort of thing. I'm using penguin stickers, so the unit of time is a penguin.

I've been working on a long-term downsizing project, so some of my twenty-minute periods are spent going through the garage and finding things to post for free on NextDoor. This weekend, I gave a way a gas can, two buckets, and a plastic bin. No luck with the pieces from a mid-century cradle. I was hoping someone would want it for a project.
posted by FencingGal at 6:59 AM on November 3 [7 favorites]


I'm definitely going to play along as best I can. My leg is mostly recovered from a summer injury, I've just quit a life-force-crushing job and started one that means basically full-time training and study (which I enjoy) for the next two months, and I am probably not going to have the brain power to write a novel but I probably can throw away and put away the mountain of crap I have on every available surface.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:07 AM on November 3 [2 favorites]


I lived in the same apartment for a little over 8 years. It was great when I moved into it, but the building changed hands 3x in that time and I had a few landlords who did fuck all about upkeep, and then combine that with dropping into a depression centering around An Event That Needs Not Be Named approximately exactly 4 years ago, financial plans to buy a house getting set back and compounding my resentment toward the apartment, shit got real bad.

I moved in June. I don't know how many bags of...just...bullshit I removed from my apartment. It was horrifying. Not garbage type trash, I at least took that out regularly, but things like ALL OF THE PLASTIC BAGS (mind you Chicago implemented a bag tax in 2017 and I had been using reusables ever since, so this was ridiculous), a shameful amount of paper waste from years out of date Girl Scout resources, years old electronics, cables, things that had broken that I lied to myself about fixing, etc etc, and just general accumulated filth. I literally lost count of how many bags I took down to the dumpster because my brain didn't let me think past 20 and that was on the third day of cleaning. I drove 3 full car loads (and I've got a wagon so that's a lot of car) of stuff to the one thrift store still accepting donations.

I've been in my house for just over 4 months and it's...well, not tidy because there's still plenty of things I haven't found a permanent home for yet and I'm a cluttery person by nature, but it's pretty clean.

Things that helped the most:
1. I hated where I lived so threw it out and got a new one (I realize this is not doable for most people)
2. Moving out of that apartment jump started me out of the 4 years long funk I was in (I realize this is not doable for most people)
3. I reduced the amount of stairs between my living space and the alley so I take things out to the garbage or recycling more frequently (I realize this is not doable for most people)
4. I installed a dishwasher as my #1 non negotiable must have (I realize this is not doable for many people)
5. I bought a roomba that vacuums up dog hair every day, and the roomba also requires a certain amount of not leaving shit around on the floor (I realize this is not doable for many people)

Also when house shopping I budgeted extra $$$ into what I can afford in a mortgage payment to accommodate paying for regular cleaning help, because I know I am personally incapable of sustaining a tidy place by myself. Unfortunately in covid times I'm on my own right now, but that was something I was very intentional about. Being honest with myself I know I can't afford a home unless I can afford to bring in help.


Anyway I guess the biggest takeaway from the apartment that got totally fucked up is that the hardest part was starting to clean up (and the second hardest part was the physical act of taking things down 3 flights of stairs around all my neighbors' porch stuff, through the narrow gangway back into the alley, tetrising everything into the too small shared dumpster, then doing it all over again multiple times a day every day for 4 straight weeks) but that I did do it and it got done. It sucked the whole time but then it was done. And I promise you, unless you are one of the hoarders tv show type people who keeps jars of poop and has deceased cats under piles of newspapers--if you are currently in a livable but deeply cluttered space--your home is not worse than my apartment was. Maybe as bad as, but probably not worse.

Memail me if you need moral support.
posted by phunniemee at 7:24 AM on November 3 [16 favorites]


This is every month for us! Generally speaking, when the moon is filling, we acquire things, and when the moon is emptying, we make them go away.

So if I really want a tamale pot, I'll wait until the moon is filling to go out and get it. (I do really want a tamale pot, if you live in Santa Rosa CA can I borrow yours?) While the moon is emptying, the kibbles that my dog rejected get posted to Craigslist free section.

Bonus: now I can look at the moon and know whether it's waxing or waning.
posted by aniola at 7:25 AM on November 3 [6 favorites]


This week's goals for me:
* drop off recycling
* scrub the bathtub (bleck)
* litterbox maintenance (always on my list, but I dread it, so I'm including it here)
* find a box to store the books I'll be trading in to the used book store

+ I'll be listening to the Ologies podcast, which somebody recommended in a recent Ask!

I'm on a mission to respark my joy in reading, so I've been buying up children's paperbacks left and right. And I have a move coming up next year, so downsizing my collection is definitely on my mind. On the other hand, it's going to be a long, dreary winter, so I don't want to let go of anything too soon.

aniola: I love that! how did you come up with it?
posted by snerson at 7:46 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


snerson - I was just trying to put more of my life on an externally-structured schedule.
posted by aniola at 7:59 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


I have podcasts that I save for walking and podcasts that I save for cleaning, which has been a helpful motivator for me.

I also waited for a good sale and bought a new, nice vacuum and it's making a world of difference already in my cleanliness and allergies.
posted by Twicketface at 8:20 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


All I care about is that I just read the words “time is a penguin”.
posted by bixfrankonis at 9:01 AM on November 3 [13 favorites]


FencingGal try the Craigslist free section. Just leave a note saying you'll take the post down when you find someone, and renew the ad weekly until you find someone. Maybe change the subject heading or add an apple to the photo or something.
posted by aniola at 9:10 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


My husband favours putting it all in pretty containers, whereas I would much rather gradually get rid of it.
Perhaps a combination? Pretty containers, but some of these contain only things that you would prefer to get rid of, and you put a date on the container which marks its expiration. On that date, the contents go directly to donation. This helped me (although I just used cardboard boxes and didn't open them before donating, lest I weaken).
posted by notquitemaryann at 9:13 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


NaClYoHo

Salt yoho: cleansing your home of ghosts?
posted by eviemath at 9:17 AM on November 3 [4 favorites]


I have been working (at my job) in my craft room, which is also my library. It is too full of stuff and I need to purge it. I also cleaned out half of my actual work desk but now that stuff is home and needs a place to live. I have just started cross stitching again and so I am trying to keep all of that in one place after digging it out. I was working at my dining room table before moving to my craft room and that needs to be cleaned out, too. At least I have all winter to do it. My plan was to work on my craft room on Sunday afternoons, but one thing/box/surface per day is probably better.
posted by soelo at 9:42 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


NaClYoHoMo

Stands for "Sodium Chloride, You Homosexual."
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:18 AM on November 3 [8 favorites]


This week's goal:
- finish big bang theory DVDs
- mail said DVDs to my sister, along with puzzles
- mail random things to my brother

All in the theme of "finally clear the corner of crap that's been accumulating since the buy nothing group went on pause."
posted by Ms Vegetable at 10:24 AM on November 3 [1 favorite]


Oooh I like this. I'm going to CRUSH one of these per week with the AXE OF MY ANCESTORS.

1. Dresser top, 6' x 18" of chaos: All stray socks will be PURGED. Laundry will be dealt with. Crafts I made but no longer enjoy will be HONORED WITH A BLAZING FUNERAL PYRE.
2. Kitchen breakfast bar: BARDS WILL SING of my effective filing of important papers for ages to come. Grime will PERISH UNDER MY FEROCIOUS ONSLAUGHT of cleaning spray and a nice soft cloth to be gentle with the tile. Those random SD cards/thumb drives will be checked for important content and the heap of extra USB cables will be TOSSED INTO THE VOID.
3. Sewing table: My machines, GLORIOUS COMRADES IN ARMS, shall be cleaned and oiled, and the pile of projects and scraps shall be sorted with THE UNWORTHY BANISHED FROM THESE LANDS.
4. Sewing patterns: ...okay I can't viking about this yet, I have too many and I'm out of places to put the A0 printouts. I'll work up to it.
posted by esoterrica at 10:41 AM on November 3 [17 favorites]


My list is way too long to viking it all, but:
I will stain my deck WITH THE BLOOD OF MY ENEMIES.
posted by inexorably_forward at 12:12 PM on November 3 [8 favorites]


Update: I did the listening to music and cleaning today - listened to a whole album and tidied the office. It felt good!
posted by medusa at 12:28 PM on November 3 [3 favorites]


I'm trying to clean out my mum's house. Over the last three years since dad died, she slowly filled the place with yarn. And every time a friend of hers moved downsized into a retirement place, she couldn't help but accept free stuff that was too good to throw away, so we've ended up with furniture and jelly bowls, tea services and random plates. I've been throwing out stuff since she died at the end of June and, if anything, the place seems messier now. Probably due to me rummaging through cupboards and attempting to find places for things.

I'm expending so much energy on decision-making and trying to keep calm that every day seems to leave me exhausted without having made much of a dent. And the shit that goes on around here is unbelievable: a swarm of bees attempted to move into my range-hood, a tree came down in a storm, plagues of tiny little flies coming out of the drains like a horror movie.... This year has had everything!

However, I finally got around to cleaning the pool (mentioned in this AskMe) by dint of throwing money at the problem and finding a professional with nerves of steel. And I spent $13 yesterday on the most extra pool floaty thing (it has glitter) which has cheered me up by sheer dint of being the stupidest thing I own.

Baby steps, my loves. We will all get there. And hope can be found in the strangest places.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:21 PM on November 3 [7 favorites]


I did two loads of hang to dry laundry today. Tomorrow I'll try to do another. That's all I can do for now.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 7:48 PM on November 3 [1 favorite]


Gave up on the real cleaning to some degree and focused on patching walls!!!! So satisfying!!!!! All those little holes and cracks that you think are no big deal « who even sees them? » - once collectively fixed, it is amaaaaaaazing. I am not looking down at the tumble fur in the corners; I am keeping my eyes up on the de-blemished walls around me. Recommend.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 4:08 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


So we've lost 2 of our 3 dogs in the last couple of months. (It was sad, but they were old and sick, and it was for the best.) But due to laziness/pandemic apathy/anxiety/whatever, we haven't really kept up with sweeping our floors beyond some halfhearted swipes in the kitchen. So the next time I really sweep underneath all the furniture and in all the corners (no carpets here), I'm going to be sweeping up clumps of dog hair from our two who aren't with us anymore, and throwing it out just seems so sad and final. The third one is now blowing his summer coat in prep for growing in a new thicker winter coat, and I'm seriously drowning in dog hair with no motivation to do anything about it.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:36 AM on November 4 [4 favorites]


This is great. I've been prepping for a move the last couple of weeks, and on top of packing there were/are so many repairs and messes I've let slide for years that now have to be dealt with. I've been working on that and (of course) vowing not to let this happen at the next place. I'll go ahead and mark my calendar for next year.
posted by mersen at 6:02 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


SuperSquirrel: I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. When you feel ready to tackle it, please be gentle with yourself and take many breaks.

courtesy of mersen's comment, a new line item:
* OBTAIN A MIGHTY VANISHING ROCK (a mr clean pad) and BANISH THE BATTLESTAINS OF PREVIOUS JOURNEYS from MY LONGHOUSE (scrub off wall scuffs)

Spackling also seems like a good idea, but I have no experience with it and am, alas, a complete buffoon when it comes to making things smooth and even.
posted by snerson at 6:43 AM on November 4 [3 favorites]


I relocated to a new town a few months ago and didn’t even get all of my stuff moved with me. This is a tiny space and I’m still figuring out how to make it habitable in terms of what few pieces of furniture work best for me. Like, having a sofa makes no sense for reasons. Tomorrow a friend is bringing over more boxes of more papers and more things, many of which have been in their boxes for literally years. So the first thing I have to do is actually make my life space tidy enough so the friend can spend the night. And then I guess I will spend the rest of November figuring out white big bureau I should get and where I should put it and sorting through boxes.

If I can get upstairs tidy, which is where my office is, and sort through one box per week, this November will be magical on the clutter – reduction front. So those are my goals. Thank you all for sharing your goals as well as your accomplishments, which I always find inspiring. Thanks for the post, snerson!
posted by Bella Donna at 8:12 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I emptied a useless and wobbly storage cabinet, shored it up, and will repurpose as cold storage for apples and root veggies from the garden by moving to the coldest corner of the basement and placing it in front of a leaky window.

While emptying that cabinet, I realized that I had extra Kleenex stored the basement, the main floor, and upstairs. Consolidated all that to upstairs, and cleaned out and organized the hall closet because I now had empty space where the Kleenex was. We probably have too much Kleenex.
posted by donnagirl at 9:45 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I'm a gonna tackle paper, paper, paper! I moved the location where the mail can pile up from the computer desk to a dresser. If the pile gets too high the mail will spill onto the floor. Then I will have to deal with it! Haha! I will also clean out the filing cabinet again so I can stuff more of the necessary papers into it.

What I need is a system to deal with the papers I keep for a "short" time. The pending pile...paper kept until the task is complete or the coupons are expired, etc. Blech. Now I put the papers into a magazine filing box and forget about them. I think I will add a reminder on my To Do app to review the contents of the box every so often.

Thanks for the thread! Daydreaming about tidying up is one of my favorite activities.
posted by goodsearch at 11:28 AM on November 4 [1 favorite]


why is there so much cardboard everywhere
posted by en forme de poire at 4:33 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


There has been a VERY INTERESTING development in my own Clean Your Home efforts.

My roommate got a confirmation of an ADHD diagnosis for the first time a month ago, and so the whole time he's been trying to take care of Bum-Leg Me, he's also been getting gradually tested out for the proper dosage of medication. This Monday he had a check-in with the doctor, and went to pick up the latest prescription.

....This morning he came to my room, a gleam in his eye, and all he said was "this is going to sound weird, but I think that a half hour from now, you are going to be very, very thankful for Adderall."

"....huh?"

"....I just looked in the fridge and have been seized with a very powerful urge to clean it out."

And then he walked off, into the kitchen where he spent the next couple hours cleaning out a lot of expired food that has been backing up due to my slacking off cooking, followed by wiping out the fridge interior, wiping down the counters, cleaning out the trash cans, taking out all the trash, and then vacuuming the entire apartment. He then started a spreadsheet devoted to "tracking what food we have in the fridge so it doesn't go bad before we forget about it" that he may print out. I managed to get out of my room later in the afternoon and noticed he had sorted several other things in the kitchen and cleared a big clutter buildup off the dining room table.

He says that this current dosage is making a noticeable difference - and is noticing a change in his own ability to focus on things, and even just notice them. ...And since we're stuck here, this is beginning to manifest in "Oh hey, look, that thing needs cleaning. I shall do that."

....At the end of the month I may end up with things in good shape without having done anything. Huh.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:31 PM on November 4 [13 favorites]


I don't know who needs to hear this but... That bag you were saving, because it's a good bag? You do not need that bag. You have many other bags just as good. In fact, you do not need a bag stash that big in the first place. I have thrown out no less than three giant bag stashes in the last 48 hours and have discovered a broom cupboard!

Of course, now I have three brooms and four handles that were too good to throw out. But like I said earlier, baby steps
posted by ninazer0 at 7:18 PM on November 4 [11 favorites]


ninazer0, thank you!!! I have culled my stack of perfectly good but so, so unnecessary paper bags. But I will *not* part with the one I acquired when on vacation in Ireland, because it says "made in Dingle" on it and that makes me happy.
posted by esoterrica at 8:11 PM on November 4 [5 favorites]


This morning I cleaned my gross bathroom sink and wiped all the child-related toothpaste off the wall. I’m taking some time off of work next week and made a list of tasks because checking those stupid checkboxes is something the only thing that motivates me.

Eternal mystery question: will I actually clean the shower grout?
posted by Maarika at 8:13 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


That bag you were saving, because it's a good bag? You do not need that bag.

I declared a while back that We Don't Keep Nonstandard Containers. I buy regular and XL Fitpacker* meal prep containers that use the same lids, and I buy 8/16/32oz deli containers that use the same lids, and there is a drawer full of ziplocs. With the exception of a few items I retire to my mini-greenhouse for gardening use, we do not keep sour cream/cottage cheese containers, nor similar-looking but non-matching takeout containers, and there is a designated storage area that will hold about 8 glass jars but we only keep two specific kinds of commercial jars and they must be mated to lids.

*These used to last 2+ years of hard use and then needed to be recycled but that timeframe has shrunken dramatically. My next round will be the much sturdier restaurant supply black takeout containers, and if they don't have two sizes with matching lids we will just get one size.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:35 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


I am OK at cleaning, but crap at tidying things away. "Messy but not dirty" is about the best I can achieve.

Since lockdown, though, I've become better at cleaning. Being stuck at home with no work means that at least I have the time-- but no one ever coming over means I lack motive.

When I clean, the high I'm chasing is anything that feels like renewal. So since Election Day I've been laundering, vacuuming, dishwashing like a beast. Out with the old. I'm building up the nerve to "winterise" the closet, put away the summer clothes and shoes till spring. One of these days.

Tonight I enacted a small yearly ritual and lit a tiny ashtray bonfire with all the used matches I've been saving since Midsummer (when I did the same thing). I added the remains of a couple of tea-light candles, and it burned brightly, briefly.

The other thing I did was throw out the Halloween pumpkins. I carved them with love, and usually I feel regretful about this-- but today is definitely a good day to throw something orange in the trash.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:48 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


I got a hand vac recently. While my room is still a carefully curated mess, it is definitely objectively cleaner.
posted by Standard Orange at 2:50 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


National? Okay, as in US American. Cool, then I don't have to join in.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:30 AM on November 6


National? Okay, as in US American. Cool, then I don't have to join in.

Heh, good try. Consider this an open invitation. Anyone with a living space that needs decluttering and/or cleaning is welcome. misteraitch is trying to fit it into his schedule, infini got a head start, and altolinguistics, Bella Donna and ninazer0 have plunged in.

(Here in the US, my scary refrigerator is my No. 1 priority.)

A quick look at the NaClYoHoMo manifesto reveals no national affiliation. If the manifesto ever is rewritten, I'd suggest renaming the challenge WoClYoHoMo.

For the time being, though, I'd consider this challenge "National" -- that is, limited to one country -- only in the sense that NaNoWriMo is national. That is, not at all, though the name understandably might lead one to conclude otherwise.
posted by virago at 4:59 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


PS Apologies to purplesludge, Standard Orange and any other non-US/American I've missed, and to altolinguistic for misspelling her screen name.
posted by virago at 5:14 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


I'm failing spectacularly right now.
posted by kathrynm at 4:59 PM on November 9


Today I am drinking citron that I got on vacation in Greece 3...or was it 4...years ago. The bottle was getting dusty and cluttering the kitchen so this is definitely a form of cleaning.
posted by esoterrica at 7:06 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]


That bag you were saving, because it's a good bag? You do not need that bag.

Calling me out like this on my own thread!

My local food pantry has an ongoing request for paper bags. I guess they're a little more sanitary than plastic? But anyway, if you've got a stash of those, it may be worth calling around to see if somebody could use them.

When I clean, the high I'm chasing is anything that feels like renewal.

this, this, this! I've been thinking about new year's and what I can plan to do to bring about that sense of renewal in an appropriately large way. Cleaning, maybe rearranging some furniture, overhauling my email inbox, getting new litter genies...

* drop off recycling - DONE!
* scrub the bathtub - today!
* litterbox maintenance - ongoing! yes! I am making it happen!
* find a box to store books - DONE!
* mr clean pad + scuff scrubbing - went into Target last night and completely forgot about it, grr.

I'm failing spectacularly right now.

I think you're doing wonderfully! The fact that you came back into the thread and posted means you're thinking about it, and it matters to you, and those are very important. We can make things happen with those ingredients!

My suggestion is to decide on one thing you want to do (just one! oh my god! just one only! I know there can be so much more to do), and then break it down. First, pick what you're going to listen to or watch, and make sure it's ready to go (downloaded, queued, whatever). Then assemble the items you need to complete the task. Then, set a time to do a small chunk.

Give yourself a runway to build a little momentum and you'll make it happen, I'm sure of it :) and in the meantime please be gentle to yourself, you are very precious and I know you wouldn't treat a good friend poorly for having trouble doing chores.
posted by snerson at 7:30 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]


I actually cleaned the bathroom sink last night. Only because I splashed beet juice stained water when washing my hands. The beets were delicious.
posted by kathrynm at 8:40 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


I approached my sewing pattern mess! After a false start involving a very practical but very large vertical storage box, I determined that rolled A0 pages fit nicely in wrapping paper storage boxes, and when the second box arrives today I will stash them all under the bed. Huzzah!

Alas I must add another item to the list: blot coffee stains out of the carpet. (I really should use a travel cup at all times, even indoors.) I read that diluted dish soap and white vinegar work for this. If so, it will be very satisfying.
posted by esoterrica at 8:37 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


My progress so far is largely cheating - after six months without him, we've invited our cleaner back to work, taking appropriate Covid precautions (this time round in UK lockdown, it's allowed, and we're more confident in any case). So things are tidier because we tidy in preparation for him.

Also I've just had the piano tuned, which involved removing all the stacks of stuff that were atop it, which I will organise before putting back. A piano free from stacks is unrealistic, but I'd prefer if they consisted entirely of sheet music.

It's going to rain all day tomorrow, so kiddo's screen time rules will be relaxed and I'll vacuum the main bedroom and sort out some clothes. Then I'll help kiddo sort out some toys to take to charity, as we've said he has to make space if he's expecting any Christmas presents.
posted by altolinguistic at 9:56 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]


Every time I make some progress on throwing away Box Mountain more boxes come and there is more mountain. Also, relatedly, I'm really tired of lugging things up the stairs.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:34 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]


Well I did get the upstairs tidy enough for my guest but I had a deadline all week that continues until Monday so now I’m behind on my dishes and my table is completely covered in clutter. I am building new habits, it’s going to take a while.

snerson, thank you for your suggestions! I am watching the last season of The Good Place, very belatedly, and your comment reminded me that I can listen to episodes of The Good Place podcast tomorrow while I do some decluttering. Yay!
posted by Bella Donna at 1:32 PM on November 13


I cleaned off the excess stuff on the DVR. That counts as cleaning? Right?

I got a stiff broom type device to do the grout on the kitchen floor. I'll probably do it tomorrow morning after the Saturday Baking Club session. Then I WILL seal the damn floor. Why my dad wanted a light color floor is beyond me.

And I forgot, I cleared out a lot of stuff from the top of my closet. Sent most of it to Goodwill aside from the CareBear figurines I gave to the preschool at work.
posted by kathrynm at 4:15 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


My plan today is to change my sheets and put on my heavier bedspread. If I have spoons remaining, my dresser needs cleaning and everything needs a good dusting.
posted by kathrynm at 9:01 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


I determined that rolled A0 pages fit nicely in wrapping paper storage boxes

I know we don't do reaction images/gifs here, so you'll have to settle for ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod what genius am I SEEING

I cleaned off the excess stuff on the DVR. That counts as cleaning? Right?

YEAH it does!!! @ you and everybody else feeling like their efforts "don't count" (for whatever reason), are "cheating," or are "too small": every action you take to improve your living space is a good thing and a remarkable success. Remarkable especially in the sense that they are worth noting down and sharing.

I hope I don't come across as aggressively or fakely positive in this thread. I am very lucky to have warm people in my life who celebrate my itsy bitsy (and yet still valid! still important!) accomplishments. Their warmth is what I want to share and reflect here as we move forward and do our best.

Every time I make some progress on throwing away Box Mountain more boxes come and there is more mountain.

Kudos on your maintenance of Box Mountain! It may be that you never eliminate it completely, especially during the pandemic. Elimination is uncertain, but maintenance? Maintenance you can do. Maintenance you can succeed at!

Blast, are you flattening your boxes or stuffing boxes into other boxes, or any other strategy for reducing the space they take up when you're hauling them? I gave away a bunch of flat moving boxes to a friend who lived four stories up a few years ago. My takeaway from that experience was I should have got several bunjee cords with hooks on the ends (like these), bundled a bunch of those the flat boxes up, and just used another bunjee cord to drag the bundle up the stairs. Some of the boxes were the big wardrobe type, meant to hold clothes on the hangar, so handling the square footage of them even flat was too much for me to handle/balance in a stack easily.

If you're planning on recycling and not reusing the boxes, you could also get a boxcutter and just go ham until you have some nicely sized bundles to haul.

as for my to do: I did get the scrubbing pad, but I had a death in the family this past week, so I've been taking it easy. I'll have a go at the scuff marks tomorrow, along with bed linens, and cleaning out the fridge.
posted by snerson at 4:57 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


I managed to get my bed changed and my bedroom floor swept. The kitchen floor won't get done today. I need to do laundry and write the lesson plan for this week. Or maybe I'll just change the date on last week's. Not much of it got done anyway. When working with babies, one must be flexible.
posted by kathrynm at 9:50 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


I got the filing cabinet sorted on a recent rainy day. I'm working on decluttering the garden today. Goodbye frost-damaged plants! Raking up some leaves. Yesterday I realized there were two more boxes of various papers to go through. Thank the water god it is supposed to rain next week. Perfect day to tackle paper sorting.
posted by goodsearch at 2:05 PM on November 15 [2 favorites]


I was able to stand upright in front of the kitchen sink long enough to do a whole backlog of dishes while my roommate was in the shower.

This is NO SLAG against him; he has been doing a yeoman's job trying to keep me fed and watered while I recover from my broken knee, and he has also been trying to cope with that recent ADHD diagnosis at the same time. There is only so much one person can do, and I have been trying to get closer and closer to greater self-sufficiency to give him a break ever since he let slip that his first thought on waking these days is to listen to see if I'm awake so he knows whether he should get up and get me coffee or whether he can sleep in. So as a thank you and to earn my keep a bit, I cleared out a whole sinkful of dishes and wiped down the counters some; my kitchen is small enough that I could hobble between kitchen sink and countertops without crutches. I might make that a weekly thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:59 PM on November 15 [5 favorites]


I agree that all efforts count! Small efforts remove small annoyances, and the absence of small annoyances is relief, like when a headache lifts.

Today I am continuing to work on the coffee stains on the carpet. Dish soap and vinegar lightened the spots somewhat and blurred the edges, but they were still visible, so I tried Windex yesterday and the stains are considerably lighter now. (I don't know how/why the Windex works, but I've used it to remove pet stains in the past!) I just did a second round of Windex, and if that doesn't finish them off I will soak with oxyclean laundry booster.

I know we don't do reaction images/gifs here, so you'll have to settle for ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod what genius am I SEEING

I was scrolling through various paper storage options online and I swear I squeed out loud when I saw the wrapping paper boxes. Usually I do not buy stuff in which to store other stuff because that is TOO MUCH STUFF, but the shipping tubes my A0 pages came in are not suitable for long-term storage and under-bed wrapping paper boxes are just perfect. Squee! I gave the brilliant but overly large vertical storage box to a friend so that's a bit of clutter gone too.
posted by esoterrica at 12:46 PM on November 16 [1 favorite]


I found some spoons yesterday. I scrubbed the entire kitchen floor and wiped down all the cabinets. And I cleaned all the junk off the kitchen table. Sadly, my dad has dumped more junk on the table.
posted by kathrynm at 4:48 PM on November 16 [3 favorites]


Yes esoterrica! That is the strategy - tackle whatever is most annoying for maximum effectiveness/effort ratio!
posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:30 PM on November 16 [1 favorite]


you and everybody else feeling like their efforts "don't count" (for whatever reason), are "cheating," or are "too small": every action you take to improve your living space is a good thing and a remarkable success.

That's a really nice way of putting it, and thank you :) We struggle with this in our house. I am quite pragmatic and happy to spend money to get professionals to do a better and faster job than we would, for cleaning and for other jobs. My husband is much more wary, and is keen (in theory) to do things himself. But in practice he doesn't have the energy, so some things just don't get done. I insisted on the cleaner when we had a small baby, though.
posted by altolinguistic at 9:41 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]


Still on my to-do:
* Litter pans... yuck. All of the litter genies need emptying, and the litter refreshed.
* Wall scrubbing!!
* Bathroom scrubbing!!
* Goodwill drop off.

Done:
* Library drop off.
* Dishwasher
* Laundry (I kicked it off at least!)


I have tomorrow off for some errands so I am committing, here, in the sight of God and MetaTalk, to do one wall of one stairwell in between the doctor's and lunch.

posted by snerson at 3:49 PM on November 17 [3 favorites]


You guys, I CLEANED MY SHOWER GROUT. I planned to attack it with bleach during spring break when I had the house to myself, but COVID lockdown prevented that. Then I hoped but did not really plan to do it in the summer when I could leave the windows wide open, so it didn’t happen. Then I put it on my to do list during my long Veterans Day weekend, and it didn’t happen. But I did it this morning. I probably caused bodily damage due to bleach inhalation, and I don’t know when the bathroom will stop smelling like bleach, but it is done. I might even try sealing my grout over Thanksgiving weekend to head off another monster bleach session.

I still dream about retiling my bathroom post-pandemic to get rid of the awful grout once and for all.
posted by Maarika at 4:49 PM on November 21 [4 favorites]


Yay Maarika!

The progress I made in the bedroom went to shit yesterday when I wrapped presents. I was too tired to get stuff picked up. I'm looking for the spoons to just take my laundry downstairs. I have one pair of underwear, socks and a bra left so I'm good for tomorrow. Otherwise, I'd be really screwed. I wondering if I can get away with just scopping the litterbox until Thursday night because it does need completely dumped. I'd ask Gidgette, but she is snuggled up next to me completely oblivious to the world.

*yawn*
posted by kathrynm at 2:35 PM on November 22


I just did maintenance cleaning this weekend...litterboxes, dishes, laundry, sweeping the kitchen floor. And then one of the cats barfed on the carpet so I got to clean that up. (Windex really is magical.) This week I will assemble my gift exchange box, and nudge Mister Esoterrica to assemble too, and then the kitchen breakfast bar will be clear enough to approach and I will VANQUISH the rest of my original Viking list!
posted by esoterrica at 8:45 AM on November 23


The packaging and recyclable trash has piled up a little, and the kitchen table got completely covered over with stuff - part of it is due to my roommate not really being familiar with where things go, and me not being able to assist, and part is also just inertia on both our parts. I gave us both a bit of a come-to-Jesus this weekend and charged him with "let's put this shit away finally" while I did dishes again. I had to direct him where to put different random things, but it got the momentum going and we're a little more back on track. (Right in time for me to get a bunch more packages today, sigh....)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:04 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]


Last night I wiped down the hair and shampoo scum that's been accumulating on the side of the tub. I can be such a slob when I don't have enough spoons.
posted by kathrynm at 5:11 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


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