Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Triumphant Tuesday

Good morning Moxiecleaners. True to form, I went to sleep at 3:00am and got up just before 6:00am, so I thought I'd have plenty of time to get something posted for my fellow early risers, but it seems your comments aren't coming to my email, so I was greeted by 12 of them, which I had to answer because you guys freaking ROCK, and each deserved recognition for busting out some serious sweat!

I really am so proud of you guys. So far it seems that the key is just getting that nudge, maybe a few ideas, see that others struggle too, but that, with proper support, you are all capable of so much more than you knew. Also, several of you short change yourselves (ahem, Sam), and I think participating in an open forum helps you see what an incredible job you're doing.


While you're all fretting over the obvious areas pulling you every which way, I'd just like to offer a little suggestion that works well for me. Now, it may only work for those whose brains are riddled with a need to clean, but let's see: So, everywhere you look there's something that needs you. Kids, dishes, kids, dishes. One thing that has really served as a household pick-me-up are tasks I consider "psychic rewards." No, not in the mystical weird sense, rather in the sense that a guest would never notice that this was done/cleaned, but you know it, and it affords you some relief. Case in point: In Todd's closet (aka the seventh circle of hell) there is a really cute basket from the now-defunct Linens-N-Things. I paid $5,000 for it, back when I thought cute lined baskets would, in essence, make my house bigger. So this basket has been housing untold miscellaneous bullshit for like five years, but Todd's closet is not my problem, so I just pretended not to hear its pleas for salvation. Finally, a few weeks ago, I wasn't feeling well, but I can't just sit, or my skin will peel off, so I had to find something to do while I sat. The laundry was folded, pillows arranged, etc., so I dragged this 50 lb. basket (49 lbs. worth was dust) into the living room, and as I surveyed all the shit that had made its way into my awesome espadrille basket, I sort of wanted to light it on fire. Its original purpose was to house all of our assorted envelopes. Security, business, small, padded large, padded small, manila large, manila small, you get it. Throughout the years I have need to reach into the murky abyss that it is his closet (he's no slob mind you, his method just really really sucks) to retrieve and envelope. But the box is situated in such a way as to never be visible. I would just reach around until I felt what I needed. Thus, once I was face to face with this heaping pile of crap, I was sickened. Inside the basket was a Rubbermaid tote of man-only electrical cords of no known origin, a box of casters (?), 750 instruction manuals to things like infant car seats (our kids are 9 and 10), cars we owned ten years ago, microwaves we've replaced, tv remotes we've never owned, and so on. So I tossed the manuals, sorted and consolidated all the envelopes, arranged in order of size, washed the liner which is far too cute to live in the seventh circle of hell, placed everything neatly, having wound the man cords, and found a more accessible place for it in the closet. Obviously, no one will ever come in my house and intuit that I cleaned a basket from Todd's closet, but I knew I had, and it was very satisfying. So don't forget that while you're sitting, nursing, what have you, you can always find a less obvious task that will soothe your brain.

Anecdote: When I was a teenager, we lived near Newport, in a giant ocean front house. Unlike most teenagers, I did not butt heads with my mom over curfews or driving privileges. Rather, I ranted endlessly about her beloved agates, and how she brought them home from the beach and put the sandy bastards on my pristine counters. God this was an endless battle. I took every pebble as an affront to my orderly home. One day, while she was at work, I decided to clean the entire kitchen, top to bottom, including the small end of the counter whereupon Mom kept her bills organized. When she got home she was pleased at how the kitchen glistened. And my OCD was satisfied for 2.5 blissful seconds. Soon though, trouble arose, as Mom couldn't find her paycheck. I helped her look high and low, assuming the coastal breeze had blown it behind something. Soon we were pulling couches out, looking in high-up cupboards. Nada. She had asked repeatedly if there was any way I had moved it or thrown it away in my cleaning frenzy. Oh god no Mom, I'm more responsible than that. After a couple hours I skulked silently out to the garbage can and incredulously sifted through the bag I'd tossed. Sure enough, there was her crumpled paycheck, our livelihood. I went back in and hung my head to the ground and handed her her lump of paycheck.

The moral: Don't become so obsessed with cleaning that you throw away a paycheck.

Bonus anecdote: Our dryer broke yesterday. Mmm Hmm. There's nothing like sheets and towels hanging everywhere. I may need to check into a motel.

I have appointments today so I worked hard yesterday, and this morning, at 5:30 I:

Hung wet laundry all over my house--JOY!

Did the dishes that somehow escaped my notice last night.

Wiped entire kitchen.

Swept kitchen and laundry room.

Made the bed.

Wrote many lists.

Took pictures for my Moxiecleaners.


And here are some areas that give me endless grief, either because I am forever cleaning them, or because they're lost causes:

My kids' chore lists:

Must haves (I was so proud the day Quinn said, "Aw crap, who bought Clorox wipes? We need Kirkland, they're the best!"):

Find a happy place, find a happy place:


I know crafts are important, but omg. Tiny bits are the worst:

Any home schooler will tell you, this is a clean table. As for the mixer? It's looking for a home...:

Sometimes radical acceptance is the only way. this is as clean as it can get:

Todd tends to nest, or create little mini-offices in the oddest places. Like the microwave:

Todd's front bathroom office (God grant me the serenity...):

This makes me absolutely insane:

"Oh Reilly?"

That's my girl:

Jacob, avert your eyes! (We share an obsession with clean surfaces, but he doesn't have kids):

Okay Jacob you can look now:

"Oh I know, just set it on the washing machine:"

Back in business:

A Moxie-must:

Sorry this was such a long post. Folks have asked for pics of my house and I have had to muster up the nerve, not to mention it takes 25 hours to post them.

Today let's see if we can conquer the almighty bathrooms! Cleanser in the shower and toilet, scrub the sink, wipe down the counter, shower/tub next, then toilet. Toss your sponge in the garbage, wipe the surface of the toilet down with a wipe because sometimes the cleanser leaves a gritty feeling, and then sweep and at least spot-check the floor. Voila! Two clean bathrooms in 30 mins. Go!


  1. Today I am baking six dozen scones and going grocery shopping, but on top of my usual 20 minutes of daily household tasks (and the ensuing dishes and kitchen cleanup from my baking order)I will also dust the entire house, dust all of the blinds and window sills, and clean all of the mirrors. Luckily my bathroom is already clean, as it was just scoured this weekend! (Though I have, of course, already done my daily toilet/sink bathroom scrub down) Perhaps I will be able to do more, but for now I am comfortable resting on yesterday's triumphant pantry success. =)

  2. ugh... stupid logins.

    Let's see, can I recreate my original comment?

    Um... Thanks for the photographic clarification on the Kirkland wipes. I could only think baby wipes and while I know that a wiping/scouring with a baby wipe is better than nothing, and good enough for some people, I didn't figure you for one of them. I'm in agreement about craft scraps and while I'm ok with the clutter on the face of my fridge it is the clutter on the top that does me in weekly.

  3. I love Kirkland Surface Wipes, but haven't bought any in a long time-even though I go to Costco like all the time. Jotting them down on my list.

    I so wish I could clean my bathroom today, really I do. Unfortunately it was painted a teracotta color and thus needs a billion coats of primer and a million coats of paint to cover said offending paint color. Then there is the shower schedule to work out-no painting past 1pm or Andy will arrive home from his dirty job of tire slingin' and not be able to shower. The consequence of this is a trip to his MIL's house to shower. Not his idea of fun apparently. Anyway, no shower cleaning today but have no fear, I will find something else to clean.

  4. I had family here visiting all afternoon. And now I have 1 hour before I have to head out the door, but I had to take a moment to log on to see what challenge I would not be meeting today.

    In the next hour I will get the lunch dishes done, rotate laundry and tame my ridiculous hair (I let it air dry. WTH was I thinking?)

    And I'll try to catch the bathrooms tomorrow.

  5. Chelsea--you're exempt because you said "...needs a billion coats of primer..."

    I so heart exaggeration, you get a free pass! Good job painting, that's just as rewarding than cleaning!


  6. Sam--Guests trump cleaning, and dishes are just as important as bathrooms. As long as we're keeping things from becoming insurmountable, then we're succeeding.

    As for your hair, you know how I feel about that so by all means, get it looking fierce, and you'll get a big A+ from me!

    <3, C

  7. I cleaned my bathroom this morning while chatting with my sister. Check! :)

  8. Nice! Putting your name in now!

  9. If I can muster the energy I'll do some things but I am so tired my eyeballs feel like sandpaper.
    I got up at 6am to take the kids to the zoo and we trekked around there for 6 hours.

    My personal list for tonight:
    Fold laundry
    Dishes from tonight's dinner clean and put away
    vacuum living room
    wipe bathroom sink and toilet (we have a guest coming tomorrow)

  10. Speaking of Kirkland wipes....... What the heck is up with the little hole the wipes are SUPPOSED to be dispensed through? Mine always break off and I have to take the damn lid off to get another wipe. The are wonderful though. I especially like the scrub surface of the oreange wipes!

    And Ms.Moxieclean, I'm hoping you might have an enlightening "mail basket" chaos solution or method.

  11. As I pull myself out of the depths of last week's sickness hell, I can barely even begin to start thinking about cleaning the house again because this week is insanely crazy for me. But, I did manage to finally find the Kirkland wipes (WTF? who knew they stored cleaning wipes in 2 different places there?) and got some. It's a half step, I know, but hopefully I'll get there ;)

  12. So, what chemicals are in these fabulous Kirkland wipes? I'm hesitant to go buy any. I can already feel the headache I could get from them.

  13. Which chemicals in particular give you headaches?

  14. Sam--Active ingredients:

    n-Alkyl (68% C12, 32% C14)
    dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chlorides...0.14%

    They're not noxious. You can't smell them unless you put one in your nose (so what if I have?)

  15. Loved this post! You got me in the right mood to go tackle my day.

  16. Manda- Mostly fragrances. But I'm careful with what chemicals we use. If a fragrance can give me a migraine, what are the other chemicals doing when I absorb them through my skin?

    So, I may have to pass on the Kirkland wipes, and stick to my h2o2, baking soda and rubbing alcohol (I'd love to ditch that one, but haven't found a good replacement yet). My biggest hang up is I refuse to buy the brand name "green" cleaners. I'm a cheap snob like that.

  17. I was out late and did nothing last night. Not a thing. But we also weren't home so the only mess I made was mail. I'm with Manda on helping with that chaos.

    I wanted to add that my favorite "phycic reward" is wiping down all the walls with a magic eraser or whatever floats your boat. Most company won't notice that you did it but they will notice if you haven't (especially with little ones around)

    after that I would say it is decluttering my bookcase or cleaning off the top of that dreaded fridge.

  18. I am feeling a little too under the weather to keep up, but thought I'd let you know that if de-clutter was necessary for you, I have a great home for that mixer. ;)
    Also, I've been forwarding your blog to friends who have claimed, OMG, she is more insane than you are. So if nothing else, thank you for posting this blog to make my OCD appear well-controlled! LMAO