DIY DIVA
DIY diva

Get Your Shit Together: A 10 Day Project

June 30, 2014 | 38 Comments | Uncategorized
DIY diva

Here’s an actual thing that happened this week: I went out to dinner with my fabulously bearded dude–who recently managed to set his face on fire and burn off a chunk of that fabulous beard, by the way, and the fact that that’s the kind of thing that could happen to him either makes us really well matched, or, like, heading for some epic disaster together… probably both–anyway my somewhat-charred-but-still-fabulously-bearded dude decides to come back to the farm after dinner, and just before he stepped inside I got a glimpse of the absolute shit-show that is my house right now, and then I stopped dead in my tracks and actually made him close his eyes while walking through the kitchen before I stuck a beer in his hand and banned him to the living room while I raced around trying to make my house look less like a future episode of hoarders.

Holy shit, you guys. My life is a mess.

I mean, my life is usually, ah, comfortably messy? But with my focus on outdoor projects lately, I might have gone a bit ’round the bend.

And maybe it’s a because I just made a big purchase which reminded me that despite living in the middle of nowhere and often carrying on in-depth conversations with my chickens, I am, in fact, a responsible adult. Or maybe it’s because the afore mentioned bearded dude recently found an amazing person to help with the cleaning and whatnot around his place, and is constantly bragging about how awesome it is to have a clean home. I don’t know. But I do know that things are bad enough that I need to spend a little quality time over the next two weeks getting my shit together.

So. I came up with a plan. Well, wait, no… first I found this site: Unfuck Your Habitat

From the website: There’s a weird sort of void in the “taking care of your physical surroundings” stuff, in the archaic “how to keep a home” and “how to be domestic” arenas. It tends to ignore single people, or people without kids, or students, or people with pets, or people with roommates, or people with full-time jobs, or classes, or other shit going on. It assumes everyone is married with kids and one partner is around a lot of the time, and has a lot of time to devote to “housekeeping.”

Well, we don’t all live that life.

No. No we don’t all live that life. Unless you count my cat, who is, in fact, around a lot of the time and has plenty of time to devote to “housekeeping”. He chooses to do this instead…

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So, it’s time for a different plan. One of the great ideas on UfYH is the 20/10 — 20 minutes of cleaning, and a 10 minute “break” (chasing chickens, anyone?) I tend to “clean” by going on a binge-cleaning marathon once every couple of months, where I literally spend six hours cleaning everything I can reach in the house, and then it’s back to being a disaster 24 hours later, and I vow never to waste that kind of time or energy again. I’ll just buy paper plates thankyouverymuch.

But a 20/10 (or two) in any given day actually seems manageable. I decided to make a list of the major spaces in the house right now, and my plan is to at least get these spaces moderately unfucked in the next 10 days, then see how well I can maintain them after that.

One of the biggest hurdles for me is that I don’t like cleaning or organizing a space that I’m eventually going to tear up and make more functional. So every time I’ve said to myself “I really need to clean the Laundry room” in the last two years, what I really meant was, “I really need to tear out the counter, build new cabinets, and put in a new floor… then I’ll be able to organize this properly.”

Yeah. You can see the flaw in that logic.

It’s very, very hard for me not to think that way though, so I made some lists for all of the main living spaces in the house and the one rule I had for each of them was that I had to work with where the room is at now, and not where I want it to be when it’s finished. (Although I added a few smaller “bonus projects” in for each room, because I can’t help myself.)

Here’s the “downstairs” list…

Mudroom

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  • Organize closet (move old coats upstairs, hat/scarf boxes, shoes, archery stuff)
  • Organize shelving (hooks/drawers?)
  • Clean floor/ organize shoes
  • Bonus project: Paint door black

Downstairs Bath

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  • Hang new shower curtain liner
  • Organize cabinet
  • Stock up on supplies (shampoo, soap, Qtips, cotton balls, tooth brushes etc. for guests)
  • Deep clean… seriously, find the bleach

Laundry

Untitled

  • Holy shit that counter
  • Stock up on supplies (laundry, cleaning)
  • Organize the cabinets
  • Clean out the sink
  • Bonus project: Hang new doors

Kitchen

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  • Clean floors
  • Organize cupboards
  • Clean off counters (all the way)
  • Clean out fridge
  • Organize canning/beer-making supplies
  • Bonus project: Convert cabinet for trash/recycling

Office

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  • Get tax info together
  • Organize important papers
  • Move old desk out of closet, move storage items into closets
  • Clean, clean, clean
  • Calendar/ bill paying system
  • Scrape and clean doors (touch up red paint)
  • Stock up on office supplies (paper, printer ink, other?)
  • Bonus project: Quick build storage with wire shelves
  • Bonus project 2: wood overlay on closet doors, swap hardware.
  • Bonus project 3: Cords/ elevated computer (need wooden box)

Entry

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  • Clean out (get ready for floors)
  • Change Lightbulbs
  • Bonus project: Find actual door handle
  • Bonus project 2: Fix effed up ceiling drywall (and repaint)

Living Room

(I guess I forgot to take a picture of this room, but suffice it to say, all of the Christmas decorations the trespassing bird knocked over a few months ago are still… right where they fell.)

  • Clean
  • Refresh mantel/books
  • Bonus project: TV stand
  • Bonus project 2: Mirror behind couch

Intangibles & Other Things

There are a few things I need to do that don’t actually belong to a “room”, such as…

  • Clean out personal/website inboxes and respond to emails
  • Clean off desktop of personal computer
  • Organize images on phone
  • Get phone chargers with right cord for around house
  • Refill salt/medium in iron filter and softener
  • Set up time for goodwill to pick up unused furniture
  • Call about entry floor
  • Get bathroom remodel plan drawn up

So that’s the list (for the downstairs)… I’m going to do 20/10′s until it’s done, but I’m shooting for 7 days from now– not including the holiday or weekend, which is still for outside projects. And for this…

UntitledWhich is necessary for my sanity.

If you’re wondering why I’m publicly admitting my life is a disaster– you’re actually not wondering that, because it’s probably not your first time reading this website, right?– well, there are two reasons. 1.) accountability, and 2.) I can’t be the only person whose life is a complete disaster (right? right??) so if anyone needs a little motivation and wants to join me… I’ll be starting with the mudroom Monday night.

You can expect more updates than usual this week, but they’ll probably be shorter check-ins than my usual posts… because I’ll be cleaning while I drink instead of writing.

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I’m totally ready for this.

DIY diva

    Comments

  • TrixieB


    Oh Kit I am glad to see that I am not the only one with bins of laundry around. Of course mine are in every room in the house and not nicely organised in the laundry room. Your kitchen however is WAAY too clean.

    We are kindred spirits in the “Clean when you run out of underwear, forks, or when people are coming over” practice. Then cleaning non-stop. (Less said about taxes the better!)

    I will give it a whirl. Thanks for the incentive.

  • Kristen


    As soon as the weather turned nice, I gave up on anything that involved being inside, and thus my house is a shit show.
    Perhaps company can come over, so I have some inspiration to get off my ass and tidy.

  • Gene


    If only there were an appropriate attachment for your new tractor for cleaning, you’d be done by now :-)

    • Clark in VT


      There is, it is the loader…. load it with the “lists”….. Kit-Kat, STOP MAKING LISTS, your driving yourself crazy !

      • Kit


        On the contrary, the lists are the only things that keep me sane! ;)

  • aart


    Single with a dog and chickens……My whole house looks like across between your laundry room and your mud room…..kitchen stays pretty functional but I haven’t seriously cleaned anything but the kitchen and toilets since a major trauma 2 years ago. Have an old friend coming this summer tho and am really hoping that will inspire(force) me to Unfuck MY habitat… so you’re not alone, most folks do not live like better homes and gardens, good luck!

  • Vanessa


    Can you hire the Dude’s cleaning lady for one day? I think if she (or someone) helped with the not-actual-home-owner-required projects (bathroom, kitchen, laundry, mudroom, for the most part) then all of this would be much more doable and you could focus on the stuff that does require your touch, skill, or knowledge: put away Christmas decor, fixed effed up drywall, painting, and organization on a deeper level. Just a thought.

  • Devi


    UFYH is the only reason my house is clean.

  • Megan


    “I can’t be the only person whose life is a complete disaster (right? right??)”

    Nope nope nope. Given my sundry list of ongoing projects are mainly indoors as I don’t have a kick ass farm. I have the unfortunate ability to survive in the fuster cluck of laundry and books and boxes like a champ. I’m not sure I remember what my floor looks like.

    I actually went to school for Archaeology so I have an uncanny ability to tell you exactly where and under what level of stuff something is at all times. I sometimes consider leaving behind the life of a hot mess. But tell myself it would be boring. Is it healthy? Not at all. Do I skip folding laundry to strip wallpaper? All the time! (Most because wallpaper is of the devil.)

  • Courtney@The TriGirl Chronicles


    I’m totally the same way. I go on like a four hour cleaning binge one every month or so (with the most recent being this past weekend) I really need something more along the lines of 20/10, it makes so much sense. Now to find the kick in the ass I need to even wrap my brain around cleaning everyday…

  • Syl


    I hear ye there! My house is in utter chaos at the moment (think 60% of the space looks like your laundry room)…

    I’m housework-challenged at the best of times and lately it’s gotten worse as I slowly repaint the ground floor (open plan). I’ve somewhat stopped seeing it but I know it’s bad when the dog gives me the stink eye because I’ve piled stuff on *both* dog beds *and* on the dog couch o.O

    So maybe I best jump in and give that challenge a go. Nothing to lose, right?

  • Michele


    I suffer from/enjoy that “but if I was going to do this right” project scoping trait. What I have learned is that the final product is often a better fit in the long run if I first clean things out and get a better scope of what is really needed.

    But then I lived with exposed masonry brick above the fireplace for 5 years because it meant I was making progress from the bad paneling that was there when I started. Or rather I did till it drove my mom crazy and she made my dad build a frame so I could hang a rug over it until the fireplace was refaced. Sometimes chaos is progress, even if it doesn’t look like that to anyone else.

    Good luck!

  • GG


    You are not alone!! I dont’ know why the last couple of months have been such a shitstorm I had zero motivation to do anything cleaning/organization-related. So my life was a complete mess until I decided to do the deep cleanse of 2014 this weekend. I sent my pup off to “summer camp” and deep cleaned the house top to bottom and now I’m really greatful for your 20/10 discovery so I can MAINTAIN rather than wrangle. NEVER AGAIN!

  • Meg


    Yeah. I have 2 rooms of my house which have the doors closed all the time. Because inside those rooms is where the disaster always gets shoved. Which would be fine, except one is the guest room. So we can’t actually have any guests since the whole room is filled with… stuff…

    20/10, huh? Might be worth a try.

  • Laura


    I am glad I am not the only one who thinks that it’s totally normal to have to step over a saw to go out the door every day for 3 months or to only sweep the floor when the dust bunnies are ankle deep. This kind of challenge is exactly what I need.

  • Jake W


    I have the perfect shirt for you.

    https://www.thechivery.com/products/welcome-to-the-shitshow

    I own two, one I wear and the other is framed and hanging in my living room so people who come to my house know what to expect :-D

  • june


    I agree with Vanessa. I also have a room like Meg’s… only it was my project room. I think our tax stuff in at least three locations, and I cannot locate the combination to the safe. The grandkids sleep in the “tents” because the guest room is still a resting spot for another child’s stuff. No, you are by far not alone. The neighbors on either side of me are such fantastic housekeepers that a magazine spread could be shot there with 5 minutes notice.. and that includes their garages. I do my best to shrug it off.. it is my house, not anybody else’s. I have not poisoned anyone and given a day, one floor is presentable. But the 20/10 plan sounds maybe doable. Just try to get a handle on it before you add another 20 years of life. It gets real hard to break a habit… ask any of us!

  • Heidi


    You are totally not the only whose life is a total disaster! There has been a bathroom vanity in our living room for months and bathtub and dining room table in our guest room for oh, over a year now. As a bonus, there are balance balls IN the bathtub. Considering our only children are three furballs (one of whom could be your master’s twin) living with us, there are literal furballs floating all over the house because I can’t remember the last time I vacuumed. This 20/10 could work. Until I have to figure out how to move the vanity and the bathtub – oh and the tile that will surround the bathtub!

    THANK YOU for a fantastic blog!

  • Ashley


    Thank you so much for 1. admitting the state of your house and 2. introducing me to this site! Now I don’t feel so alone!

  • Amy


    Ah, Kit, you are SO not alone! When the weather turns nice I work on the disasters outdoors instead of the disasters indoors. Now my step daughter’s boyfriend is coming for his first visit in a week and a half and I’m cruising the blogosphere instead of cleaning my dirty, stinky house. However, I am taking 2 days off this week to finish up the bathroom remodel that I abandoned sometime in, oh, early March.

  • David


    I’m not sure I agree that your life is a disaster. Look at all you’ve accomplished because you had a tool, an idea, and gumption.

    On the other hand, I never really understood chaos theory until I started reading your blog last year.

    Ergo, I dub thee Master of Disaster!

  • Charlie@Seattle Trekker


    Great bones; it gives you the option to go small and get very good results, or go really big for, well, much larger results.

  • trudy


    I got about half my garage organized. The other half looks like your laundry room counter.

  • Koen @ TownHouseHome


    Like everyone above me I too can relate, half our house is a mess as well. And the other half is empty because we’re working in it, or just finished working in it, waiting to be turned into a mess again…

    Just as you the wife and I seem unable to clean up a room, knowing we still have to take it on “for real this time”. As a result we keep on living in a mess. But wait until the kitchen is finished! And then the living room! Then everything will be fine!

    Yeah right… :)

    Anyway, good luck with the cleaning project, I hope you’ll be successful by the end of week 2

  • Sarah In Illinois


    Thank you for being honest! I STRUGGLE daily with my house looking exactly like yours! I am not sitting around watching soaps and eating ice cream and doing nothing, I’m just really busy with really poor habits!

    Sidenote: Watching an episode of Hoarders does get me in the mood to clean!

  • Jessica


    I love Ufyh. I’m not over exaggerating when I say that it has changed my life. I have a chronic illness, so learning to do things in little bursts has really been great. I also take advantage of the “in-between times” like waiting for water to boil to wipe down the stove or put in a load of laundry. I’ve been doing it for 8 months or so and I *still* am shocked at just how bad I am at estimating how long things take. The positive corollary to this is my pleasant surprise every single time at just how much can be done in only twenty minutes!

    Found your blog through Honey Rock Dawn yesterday and am so happy I did! It’s like how blogs *used* to be: honest, real, and not curated.

    • Kit


      I LOVE Honey Rock Dawn… I actually found that site from some traffic that came over from her, and how amazing. I need an effing cow to hug now, FOR SURE.

      (Also, I really suck at the time estimate thing… it doesn’t seem like cleaning should take *that* long.)

  • Guerrina


    I am so glad I am not the only one with my home’s inside a mess. Though for different reasons than yours (such as the number of people who have temporarily needed a place to stay with their resulting crap this past year…son/grandson moving in…with their resulting crap), I walk in my house and want to walk right back out…and have! Guess I should buckle down and de-crappify and do some deep cleaning…maybe get the small pieces of baseboard back up in the process!

  • Samantha


    The 20/10 rule? I’ve never heard of it, but I’ll be embracing it completely. Also, I’m stealing most of your list because that looks about right for my place. And my house is probably half the size of yours!

    Also: cat.

  • TracieMcOB


    This is probably a dumb question, and I should know better, but why are you taking the archery stuff UPSTAIRS!!
    (Great post, btw – I think most of us are in the same boat – I have a ripped up bathroom floor and 1/2 built projects in my sewing studio….)

    • Kit


      Ha, no, just the coats were going upstairs… the rest was just a list of things to get organized. I’d like to build a rack for them (downstairs) one day soon, actually!

  • Mary


    Holy cow!!! 7-10 days?! That list would take me waaayyyy longer. I’d be shooting for 1 (maybe 2) rooms/areas each week since you have an actual life (donkeys, chickens, garden, etc) to keep you busy. Good luck!

    • Kit


      Well, I work better under a bit of pressure! And I’m doing one or two 20/10s between 9-11 at night, so the farm is already settled down for the night, and it just eats into my writing time a bit.

  • GreenCanary


    Last night, as I stood staring at the wall behind my parrots’ cage and the Jackson Pollock-like design they’d made upon it with raspberry bits, I had this epiphany: I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT, THOUGH THIS REALLY BOTHERS ME, I AM NOT GOING TO CLEAN THIS DISGUSTING MESS BECAUSE I HATE TO CLEAN. So right at that moment I finally accepted that I am not a neat person, will never be a neat person, and will never ever ever enjoy (or at not detest) cleaning. So I’m going to hire someone to come and clean. I felt guilty about it at first – My house is teeny and I have time, why the hell can’t I clean it myself, right? – but then I accepted Who I Am and that’s okay.

    • june


      you are my hero!!

  • UfYH


    UfYH wouldn’t even exist if my life wasn’t cyclically and predictably a total disaster. I’m looking forward to seeing your progress! (No pressure or anything.)

    • Kit


      I don’t know if I just needed someone to swear a lot while talking about cleaning (so I could be like, THESE ARE MY PEOPLE!) or if finding UfYH was just good timing, but either way you’re doing some awesome shit there that totally resonates with me. This is the least stressed (or, frankly, pissy) about cleaning and staying organized that I’ve ever been.

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