On Housework and Getting Organized

This morning I was staring at an article on the “most organized” woman in the US, according to the Daily Mail.

I try to be a good housekeeper of sorts, I don’t have (make?) time for a lot of things outside of making sure my significant other and I both have clean underwear every week, and the dishes manage to get clean every day, except the pots and pans which sometimes sit for a few days…

I do a lot of the cleaning, because I am slightly disabled and home much of the time. I am also doing online college classes — some are free through Saylor Academy, some are paid through Study.com — which is a good thing, even if I only got a semesters worth of work done last year as I went through all this pain madness.

The true fact of life right now is that I’m pretty much disabled from pain for many days of the month, and my significant other is out there working 60 hours a week (Ok, sometimes from home, but he’s often banging out code while I take a warm shower or a nap.) He commutes for a half hour to work at about 7 in the morning and sometimes even gets me an Uber to the doctor on the days my face pain is too much to take buses. He takes care of me in ways I’ve never needed before. I love him. I appreciate him.

So I am left to try and keep the house intact when I feel ok, and that includes cleaning some things, trying to get organized, and basically any other housework-related thing that I think that I’m supposed to do. Anything that doesn’t push past my pain threshold…

Oh, and the cats are mostly mine. So I do cat litter twice a day, every day, to keep the big fat spoiled kitty from peeing on the floor. He’s very picky about a clean litter box, and I am picky about carpet reeking of cat urine.

I’m a Feminist and I Sometimes Mop

I don’t have a problem with this. I’m a feminist, yes, but contrary to weird popular opinion that doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t clean things. I even bought an apron a few years ago to keep the water from splashing my boobs when I do dishes. (I am very short, and I have big boobs…So this is actually a thing. ) My cat’s white hind legs turn gray if I don’t mop at least once a week. This happened a lot when my arm had popped out of its socket and I tore my labrum….

But I hate not being able to mop. Bacteria and yeast and all that stuff terrify me ever since a nasty bout with cellulitis, so I clean the bathrooms as often as I can. Which is about once a week.

not muh actual floor — image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

By the way, we have a roommate/renter who literally has NEVER cleaned her bathroom. She used to take out the bathroom trash but I can’t remember when that stopped. She lets female products overflow on to the floor and just sit there, no matter that she’s often the only one who has company and her bathroom is the main one in the hallway… I have to empty her biohazardous trash with blue disposable gloves.

One day, a few years ago, she quit her job, announced she was depressed, and needed to get well and focus on that. It’s been at least two years, and she never resumed any cleaning duties (no, not her dishes, her bathroom, or anything else in common areas), but she’s been to a resort in a distant (albeit cheap) locale for yoga purposes and uh, still goes out every night. Literally every night. I get where she’s at in life, sort of, in a way. Everyone gets lost along the way in life, and other aspects of life suffer. But man, I wish she’d just once clean her own damn bathroom.

As far as my roommate, sometimes I get judgy, but mostly because I’m jealous. When I was depressed I got so drunk I couldn’t do anything right — I couldn’t function, pay rent, pay any bills, most definitely I could never have afforded to go to Thailand…I wasn’t sitting in my room watching Difficult People and laughing my ass off so loudly that people could hear me down the hall. So I get jealous of her depression. It seems a much different beast than the kind I get from PTSD…Somehow she keeps going, every day, out the door, out to Real Life. She laughs a lot. It doesn’t seem strained or fake, either.

Anyway, I still clean her bathroom. Sometimes she still seems depressed, but isn’t that life? We don’t talk much. Her rent is always late. She’s become a life coach. People pay for her advice. ( I don’t get it.) Her bedroom looks like a 15-year-old depressed kid… Her car is full of remnants of fast food meals from road trips taken 6 months ago. She never brings clients home. She also gets paid to walk dogs. (We have cats, so she can’t bring them over, either.)

But we get along, mostly. At least I can help her keep her bathroom clean. (OK, it’s technically “ours” since my s.o. and I own it..)

Can I Be This Organized?

From DailyMail.co.uk article/ copyright Alejandra Costello

Back to this Daily Mail organizer lady. She’s the best organizer in the country. The Daily Mail says so. Youtube also says so because nearly a million people choose to watch her use her label maker and perfectly fold t-shirts for her husband, wherever he is. Also, she makes a living doing this. Which may be why she is so OCD….

Being organized must not help as much as you would think though. Her kitchen cabinet looks nearly empty, though, and something else seems off.

She doesn’t look like she even lives or cooks in the house. What is organizing, if you don’t use it to live more? Why does she have an airtight container filled with lentils that’s labeled “beans”? (I have five or 6 jars full of beans right now, and because I know the world of beans, none of them are labeled…) While her rice container actually contains many different types of rices? She also has a small lazy susan that’s got about 12 spices on it. Who only uses the same few spices in every meal?

My significant other and I practically own the entire selection of spice offered at Safeway. We both had to give up salt due to borderline high blood pressure. Let me reiterate — both of us, which is why it was worked so well. So we basically can’t eat anything that’s commercially prepared or packaged. Spice is what makes all this home cooked food taste good. The one spice we have to leave out is salt, in all its wonderful varieties. That sucks, but we manage.

Organization is Boring if You Don’t Enjoy Life

A few years ago, I had to buy a moving cart to store our spices because they wouldn’t fit anywhere. I sure as hell felt like the most organized woman in America at the time. Now, a few years later, after filling two shelves in the cart, we have two tiny shelves stacked with mostly spices on the kitchen counter, too. How do we downsize to 5 or 6 spices, when that’s the only pleasure we have when cooking?

But maybe I would be more organized if I had a label maker, like the organizer lady. Or if I had a place for every single thing we own, right?

I mentioned I’m partially disabled, right? People seem to think that means I have a lot of time on my hands. (Writhing in pain or crying in bed until a pain med kicks in is NOT time that can be used better, trust me.)

Why the hell haven’t I learned to upcycle all my med bottles into nifty things like this? Why didn’t I buy myself a label maker for Christmas so my significant other and messy roommate can know where I want to force them to put everything?

Because that’s so boring. I don’t want to tell my significant other and my roommate to make sure to save empty pill bottles so we can fill them with Q-Tips and toll road money.

From DailyMail.co.uk/copyright Alejandra Costello

Because dealing with all those pills isn’t fun anyway. You want those bottles gone as soon as they’re finished. They’re a reminder of all the goddamn pills you’ve been going through. Turning them into “organizers” is joyless. They’re better off getting recycled and made into plastic crap that some kid gets for Christmas at Walmart.

I still may try labels. I may start to sort my socks again.

But “being organized” is a fruitless, loveless goal unless it leaves more time for other things, like cooking foods from scratch and eating them. I’ll still clean the bathroom all year, because that’s what I do. But I’ll be damned if a label maker is going to take over my whole way of life.

Getting overly-organized looks like just a new, disappointing obsession in the long run.

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