Tuesday, May 12, 2009

cleanliness pays

After visiting my sister in law last month, I've been motivated to undertake an extensive cleaning and decluttering mission in our house. My sister in law is one of those people whose house always looks impeccable. I got into her car when she picked us up from the airport and it could have been a test drive in a model car. I could EAT off of her floor mats. She never has piles of dishes, or laundry, or stray papers lying around. She is crazy organized. She works out 6 days a week, takes care of her two kids, helps them with homework, pays attention to her husband, goes out with friends, cleans her own house, AND she goes to bed at 10pm every night, so it isn't even as if she stays up all night to do everything. Granted, her kids are 9 and 5, so they are in school 5 days a week, but still. On a great day, my house doesn't look half as clean as hers.

The truth is, though, I think I just don't care enough to make it happen and therein lies the biggest problem. I want to spend FUN time with Gabe and Josie and Josh, and when I have downtime, I want downtime, not cleaning time. However, I need to find a happy medium between perfection and a pigsty. Since I've gotten back, I'm trying to slowly work my way through every drawer, every shelf, every pile of papers. It is slow going, but I am making some progress.

Today, I emptied out my car for the first time in, well, we bought the car 4 years ago, so the first time in FOUR YEARS. I took several large grocery bags out to the car and removed the following:
- One hooded rain coat
- One spring light jacket
- Snow hat for Gabe
- Fireman rain coat for Gabe
- Snow hat for Josie
- Baby Bjorn
- 2 dry cleaning hooks
- 17 (SEVENTEEN) kids' cds scattered throughout the car and under the seats
- 6 holiday cds (fyi, it's May, and I actually think these cds are from 2006 holidays when I was pregnant with Gabe)
- 3 chapsticks
- 2 song books from a music class we took last June
- 37 cents in pennies
- $2.45 in other assorted coins
- 1 Josie diaper
- 2 Gabe pullups
- 9 random books
- 1 large box of Kleenex
- 1 small package of Kleenex
- 1 golf ball
- Empty yogurt container
- 32,467 cheerios
- 1 sippy cup
- Countless baby rings (those rings you use to hang toys from the car seat or stroller or whatever)
- 89,000 receipts (not an exact number)
- Multiple expired coupons
- 1 sandal
- Lunchbox with moldy grapes inside
- 4- 37 cent stamps
- Shirt for Gabe
- Onesie for Josie
- Empty package for Robeez shoes
- 2 pamphlets
- 1 clothes hanger
- Address labels
- 2 phone chargers (none of which are for my current phone)
- Packaging tape
- Nylons

And worst of all...

- Staples gift card (amount unknown)
- Starbucks gift card (amount unknown)
- 2 Gap gift cards (amount unknown)
- Bloomingdales gift card... prepare yourself... $209.79 remaining on card from 9/30/2004 (I have no words for this one)
- Babies R Us gift card (amount unknown)
- 3 gift cards for a local toy store

Do you see that list? I do not drive a semi, but rather a perfectly reasonable petite Honda CR-V. There is no excuse for that kind of junk. And I'm not even listing the straight up trash or the stuff that is staying in the car- the maps, map books, changing pads, Gabe's placemats for restaurants, the double stroller, Josie's toys, Gabe's pacifiers, my coin purse, my cds.

Additionally, the removal of the above items has made it abundantly clear that the car is disgustingly dirty. I mean, DISGUSTINGLY DIRTY. I'm surprised mice haven't taken up residence in the car. Since I couldn't see the floor mats, I couldn't see the ground in crumbs and dirt. Today I drove 25 minutes to a car wash, only to discover that they stop vacuuming and shampooing rugs at 4:30pm, so tomorrow I am dropping Gabe off at school and Josie and I are taking a trip to our friendly car wash. I'm just hoping they don't charge me extra for "total slob upkeep".

I am shamed, people. Really and truly shamed. Good news, though, I can apparently go shopping with my gift cards to cheer myself up! Silver lining, I guess!


Chatty Cricket said...

Coupla things here:

1. am impressed that you remembered to look under the seats

2. seriously? where did the golf ball come from?

3. don't beat yourself up, my friend once located fish sticks in the 3rd row of her minivan, only to realize that they hadn't eaten fish sticks in at least 5 months.

Remind me to tell you about my cloth diaper issue (as related to one of our recent emails). I have GRAND ideas of being so clean as your sister in law (and frankly, mine too. And my very own sister), but I can't imagine making time for it because if the kids are awake and I try to clean they do things like make me an ALEVE COCKTAIL (open Aleve bottle, dump contents into glass of water on my night stand, stir until water turns blue) which necessitates yet another call to poison control.

Sigh, When they're in school full time for sure. Then people can wonder how WE do it.

ColorCodedC said...

I'm not a messy car girl (messes other places? Yes, definitely), but I also don't have any kids, so I may one day very well be a messy car girl. But, it's the $209 gift card I can't believe!! Man, that thing would keep me AWAKE AT NIGHT burning a hole in my pocket. Must shop... Money on gift card...

kathy a. said...

that sounds about right for a family with toddler and baby.

Meika said...

That is one heck of a silver lining!!! When I was growing up, every Saturday was clean-the-car day, so I've always felt guilty that I don't do that. Not even close.

I'm actually surprised you've made it this far in parenthood without being FORCED to clean the car (which is how ours always gets cleaned) - we've had one vomit, one what-the-heck-SMELLS-like-vomit, one pee-in-the-carseat, and a few OH-HELP-where-is-the-dirty-diaper-that-is-causing-that-ODOR clean-ups. So rock on that you made it this long!

Knit and Purl Mama said...

That is too funny girl. Hope you have happy shopping! It does pay to clean your car! Speaking of which, I need to take my car for a shampooing. There has got to be 89,689 goldfish on the floor of my car.