Divine Bird

I believe in a high-fiber diet…like wool, alpaca, cashmere…

Cleaning House: Progress on Several Fronts


November 2014 has been — well, I’m not sure how to describe it. Dashing is still sick, so that brings its own stress and worry. I picked up some editing work that will help us cope in the meantime, and I’ve applied for a job that could be amazing if I get it. My Nanowrimo project has only moved forward a few hundred words at a time, though I’ve been able to make the writing meetups on Fridays. So while I won’t win this year unless a miracle occurs, I’m content with the progress I’ve made.

The one thing that is definitely going right is the progress on my house. Every day sees a big change in some fashion. I’ve been good about moving things out and putting in at least two or three hours of work every day. If you ever visited me in the past, you probably wouldn’t recognize a lot of the house now.

This project hasn’t been easy. After my last post, I had a day when I felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff that still needed to be done. I was at that point where the cleaning looks worse than the original mess. Feeling a little despair, I took a breath, poured myself some cider, and sat down to make a list of the things that still need to be done. Quantifying the work helped more than I expected. There’s a lot less to do than I thought. With that in mind, I counted up the tasks and the days remaining in November. Even taking two days for Thanksgiving into account, I could do one list item per day and be finished by the 30th. I would love to have Angie all moved in by then, too, so I made the 30th my goal. It’s not a deadline, because I know I’ll procrastinate against it if so. Instead, if I get this house in order by the 30th, I get to reward myself with a day trip to Boston to see a museum’s textile exhibit. So…onward to the 30th!

From this point forward, I’m going to score each section on its level of completeness. To get off to a good start, I’ve already got two areas that are 100% done!

The Entertainment Unit

I found some perfectly-sized fabric-covered bins at Ocean State Job Lot, one of those discount chains, and now all of our movies — Angie’s and ours — are together. We housed them on the “entertainment unit”, which is made up of four sets of wire shelves lined up together. The Wii, PS2, and PS3 are all set up, with all the PS3 and Wii games together in some green fabric bins I already owned. The printer moved to its new home on top of one of the shelves, within reach of both a power outlet and the standing desk that’s going on that wall soon. No more dragging it out when we need it, while it remains tucked out of the way the rest of the time. Since one of the shelf sets included a pair of wire drawers, all the game controllers, extra wires, and memory cards can be stored in there.

Eventually, my dad and I are going to built a single long top to go across all four sets of shelves, unifying them further. I’ll make a curtain to hide the stuff underneath, since they’re all different colors and the wire doesn’t really feel “cozy” as I want the living room to be. But for now, having all the movies and games organized with proper homes is enough. Even if it’s not pretty, it’s organized and easy to live with.

That said, I think this part of the house can be considered: COMPLETED

The Kitchen

Nearly two weeks have passed since my mom and sister helped me organize and clean the kitchen, and it’s still spotless. Everything truly has a home, so when I use it and clean it, it goes back into its home. No more crowded cabinets, no more duplicate items that take up too much space. Today, my dad came over to finish up a few small tasks like fixing my broken lazy susan and installing the last cabinet door hinge. With all the large surplus items like my dehydrator moved to a shelf in the basement, there’s nothing left for me to do. I might rework a few things and I would still like to replace the solid shelves in my pantry cabinet with rolling ones, but that’s all minor stuff that isn’t necessary to make the kitchen run properly.

Therefore, I am happy to declare that the kitchen is now: COMPLETED

The Man Cave

The Man Cave is coming along well, if slowly. On Tuesday, Lisa came over to move shelves and the dining room table to the Man Cave, and when Angie arrived, we moved the rest of the cube shelves. That meant the board games could finally be put into their new home. My living room closet looks so empty now! Throughout the week, I emptied a few boxes of Dashing’s stuff by putting books in order on the shelves. I’ve been trying to give him little tasks that he can do while sitting or lying down, so he went through all his magazines. We’re getting rid of more than we’re keeping — he’s getting the hang of this whole cleaning thing!

I can’t rest on my laurels yet, though. The Man Cave needs quite a bit more work. The video games need to be organized and placed on their shelves, the game systems have to be set up, and the rest of the boxes need to be emptied. There’s also a lot of music to go through. Dashing and I both had large CD collections. It’s time to cut them down and maybe start ripping the CDs into MP3s instead. Until then, the CDs have to find a home.

At this point, the Man Cave is perhaps 50% IN PROGRESS.

The Road Ahead

As I write this, I have seven full days (taking away Wednesday and Thursday next week) to complete this cleaning project. Steady work and a dedication to moving things out of the house quickly have helped me to stay on track without getting overwhelmed too often. My friends and family have been supportive, too — I know for a fact that I would have dissolved under the pressure months ago if it wasn’t for the help of so many other people.

Here’s what’s left on the list:

  • Clear out hallway & set up bookshelves; move books upstairs
  • Set up new studio space
  • Move fabric & fiber to new homes/clear out old studio
  • Cover up A/C opening/Put up crown moulding/Fix baseboard in Angie’s room
  • Hang artwork
  • Mail out packages
  • Go through last boxes of papers
  • Finish putting Man Cave together
  • Put up risers on basement staircase
  • Hang curtains over closets & set up bench in bedroom
  • Finish sorting & donating clothes

Some of these tasks won’t take long, and some will take a whole day to complete, but I can do it all. I will have help for almost all of it. The 30th is on its way, but I want that trip to Boston so badly!

Ever onward!




  1. I started following your blog last year when I was going through my UFYH tag on Tumblr. I was so impressed by how much you had to do and how much you completed, that I became like, just addicted to reading about your progress.

    I love those make-over home shows where they go in and in three days have a house going from zero to hero, yet we who live in the real world KNOW that nothing gets that way so quickly. We as viewers off an audience don’t see the dozens of workers that were in and out of a place to get it where it is ‘tv ready’ and I always wondered how people who HAD all those things went from living in total chaos to perfect oasis without backsliding. No habits are formed, no true routines put in place on those shows…so I always wondered if any of those people are able to keep it looking nice afterwards.

    What you’re doing isn’t like that at all. Instead of ‘biggest loser’ where you have some professional coach coming in and putting a plan in place, YOU are the one handling it. Daily. Slowly. Tediously, yet so so noticeably.

    I know we don’t know one another outside of the internet, but you really are one of my biggest inspirations Jenny. I admire how far you’ve come in a year and I’m glad you’re keeping up the blog for me to see. I hope Dashing feels better soon and that you continue to post the befores/durings/and afters as you reach your goal. If it takes you five years, I’ll still follow and read up on your progress. Happy 2015! Good luck and I can’t wait to see what you post next.

    • This means so much to me!! I feel sometimes like I’m talking to myself; it’s humbling to realize there are people who not only listen, but might benefit from my experiences. Who says the Internet is not a place to make friends?? Thank you for the huge boost and the encouragement. <3

      • Not gonna lie, when I saw you’re blog post I went all blushy and ‘d’aaaa shucks’. You’re a sweet lady who is doing her best in this world to take a little more care of it. Ain’t no one on this earth perfect and I respect people who work on their flaws and do it with such honest aplomb more than people who try too hard to present a flawless exterior. You rock on wit’yo bad self girl. ;D

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