Do you have closets and junk drawers, the back of which haven’t seen the light of day in a year? Maybe two years? Maybe longer? I proudly call myself the Queen of a Fake Clean House. Everything is lovely – neat and tidy. I scrub the bathrooms and kitchen and I dust and vacuum and I do all the things required to keep a house clean and orderly … but DO NOT – I repeat – DO NOT CHECK MY DRAWERS AND CLOSETS! You will be arrested! I am also the Queen of shoving 10 cubic feet of “stuff” into 5 cubic feet of space … hidden space … dark places no one dares go. I have never feared some culprit might hide in my house and attack me. I DARE anyone to even FIND a place to hide in my house. Every tiny space, nook and cranny has something stored there. Hide and seek is a game my grandsons always had trouble with, because there is no extra space anywhere.

        The problem is … I don’t check those nooks and crannies often enough, so I sometimes forget what the heck I put there. Those hidden cavities of the house begin to haunt me, and I know I really must check them out and get rid of all the “stuff” I haven’t used and have completely forgotten even exists, so that I can shove even more “stuff” into those dark places. Of course, that means facing the awful words “Deep Cleaning.” Recently, I came up with the perfect solution for getting it done. I almost always use this to get myself into cleaning mode.

        My inspiration? I NEED TO COMPLETELY RE-WRITE A 450-PAGE BOOK! Well, of course, I can’t do that until I get some cleaning done so the cleaning won’t haunt me while I’m writing. At least, that’s what I tell myself, as an excuse NOT TO SIT DOWN AND GET STARTED on the re-write! We’ve all done it – “I’ll get to THIS - AFTER I get to THAT.”

        And so … three days ago I got to THAT and I put off THIS. It all started with not sitting down to write because I had to think about the major changes I wanted to make to the book. And I think better on my feet. If I lie still and think too hard, I get all upset that I won’t come up with the answers. My answers always come when I’m busy doing something ELSE. So, I decided to clean out a small “grandma” cupboard where I store coffee mugs and plastic containers. I was mainly going to organize the plastic containers. You know how that goes. Lids fell out all over the floor, and I discovered I had lids that fit nothing, and containers that had no lids that fit.

        Well, I got kind of mad – i.e. – I took everything out – organized it all – realized I had way too many mugs on the other shelf, a shelf I could use for more plastic containers so things don’t fall all over the place. It’s just me and my husband at home now, and my children and grandchildren don’t even drink coffee and we have very little company – so why in heck do I have so many mugs? I got rid of at least half of them. I’ll take them to Goodwill.

        Well, organizing that one little cupboard led to removing some things that I wanted to put in a different place. Soooooo … I opened a drawer I thought I could use for some of those extra items.

        You guessed it. I went through that drawer like a raccoon in a dumpster. Things went flying – doled out to go someplace else, or to throw into a garbage bag. That led to cleaning out the other two drawers in my china cabinet. Now I was on a roll. I went on to some other kitchen drawers. More “stuff” went flying. By the time I finished, I had a garbage bag full of “stuff” for Goodwill, as well as another garbage bag of pure “junk” for our own trash. The problem is, some of the things I removed had to go to my office or my bedroom.

       Aha! Again, the raccoon-affect took over. I ended up COMPLETELY cleaning out and re-arranging my office! Desks, drawers, you have it. I’m 75 and I was dragging, pushing, pulling and lifting things only a 20-year-old should handle. I collapsed into bed that night covered in Aspercream and lying on a heating pad.

        And then it happened. Unable to sleep well because everything hurt, I couldn’t help looking around my bedroom and thinking about all the “junk” there and how I needed to get rid of one of the small dressers and re-arrange things because the room had become too “full” and haphazard. Soooooo …

        Next morning, I got up and I started all over again, this time with the bedroom. Dragging, pushing, pulling and lifting until the unneeded dresser was pulled out (I dragged that into my office to use there, so that led to a few more rearrangements in my office). I moved my bed, moved a 5-drawer dresser, a hope chest, another smaller dresser – changed the sheets on the bed – moved the TV – and more “stuff” was sent to my office and a few things to a closet where I keep towels, extra medicine and extra things like doilies, cotton balls, deodorant, toothpaste, razors, room sprays, etc. etc. etc.

        Well, I finished the bedroom, but that closet where I keep extra “stuff” haunted me the second night. I wondered what was lurking in the dark corners there, sooooo …

        You guessed it. The next morning, I turned into a dumpster raccoon again and things went flying. I actually found an unopened package of expensive facial product I had completely forgotten I put there! I opened the box. The invoice inside was from 2015!!! Yes, that’s how long it had been since I looked in the dark corners of that closet! I found so much extra product I didn’t even know I had that I filled a bag for my son and his wife and filled a bag of “stuff” for Goodwill and stuffed two more garbage bags with more “junk.”

        Now I am determined to clean out under my bathroom sink. I’ll probably find five bottles of the same brand of shampoo because I forgot I already had some stored in those dark corners and bought more. Lord knows what else is under there. Then I’m going to clean out under the sink in my husband’s bathroom. And don’t even talk to me about the garage. That’s a project for when the weather warms up. And I won’t plan it. I NEVER plan to deep clean. It ALWAYS starts with something simple, like going out to the garage to get something out of a cabinet there that’s packed with extra canned goods and such. I’ll spot some little thing that belongs someplace else, and off I’ll go!

        At any rate, my latest cleaning binge started with putting off a re-write, and putting off the re-write led to cleaning one little cupboard and … well … you know the rest. So, if you need an incentive to deep clean, use it as an excuse to NOT do something that’s actually more important - something you really DON’T want to do yet. Of course, the corona virus “stay-at-home” rule helped, but just a little, because I’ve done this all my life. I’ve never had to “plan” to clean anything. It just “happens,” and usually because I’m putting off something I SHOULD be doing instead.

Coming in June 2020!


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