Making a long-term project to-do list into ta-da!

I hate cleaning. I’m so scatterbrained and easily distracted by things I’d rather be doing (like reading books and writing) that cleaning ends up by the wayside.

My cleaning projects become as epic as a journey into Mordor…and if I’m really unlucky I’ll meet some interesting living and dead species along the way.

My aunt and uncle might just be coming to live with me and dad. This house used to have 6 people in it, then just us two, then my grandma moved in for about a year (leaving most of her stuff), and otherwise it’s been back to the two of us for almost 20 years.

That leaves a helluva lot to try to get rid of, since we don’t have a dedicated trash service out here that I could’ve fed my stuff to the past several years. Trust me, if we had forked over the money for it, my cleaning plan would be much easier to maintain.

So, in the interest of making life easier, and getting things cleaner, I’ve created my Plan of Attack for each room of the house (and the shed, can’t forget that elephant in the yard).

Yeah, I know–to-do lists and I are like arsenic and iced tea–seems like a good idea at the time til the pain comes. I’m a procrastinator and to-do lists are the worst tool for the most part.

However, I will not be able to keep working on my cleaning in a consistent fashion. This is a long-term project, one that’ll take whatever time I can give to it in between work and sleep when I’m not too beat. That means this well-broken down to-do list, taking into account all the areas of most concern and in the best order possible, will make this into a “ta-da” list in no-time.

And the reason I’ve procrastinated thus far is I haven’t heard a thing about them actually coming to live with us in weeks…but if they are, it’s going to be relatively soon. Ugh. I still have to get rid of all this furniture and stuff.

Perhaps it was a good thing I didn’t donate before Harvey, when I should’ve been on a cleaning binge…I bet some of the Goodwill and Salvation Army locations could use what I’ve got to redistribute!

Wow–an instance where procrastination might’ve been a big help.

Anyhoo, the Plan of Attack.

I wrote it down because my previous attempts at cleaning have been just as bad as the mess. Because of all the excess crap we have in this house and never dealt with, my cleaning was more like shuffling rubbish around in circles. If it’s not burnable, we can’t get rid of it.

That’s the general rule when dad doesn’t want to pay for trash pickup (but that’ll change eventually).

Well, I made a detailed list of things I know need to happen to straighten up and clean each area of the house. For instance, my shed.

  1. I have a list of possible cleaning supplies and stuff to bring with me (and account for so I’m not going all over the place looking later). That way, I’m not going “aw, crap” and stopping to go hunt down a broom or bottle of cleaning stuff, or whatever.
  2. I‘ve got about 11 steps that need taking care of, all of which will take various amounts of time and energy, in a general recommended order. Remember, before I was basically shuffling messes around. Now, for the shed, I have designated places I’m putting things. I have to really think about the shed because excess furniture I can move on my own are going to go there for easy access (the rest will be stuck in our unused living room til Goodwill or whoever shows up). Garbage for the Bagster (or a helpful few truckbeds to the city dump) will go to the left so the furniture gets out first without anybody tripping.
  3. My margins have estimated times for each step. I did some preliminary cleaning when I first heard dad’s plan (ended up with the entire back of my car full of donatable clothes). Thanks to that, I have a better idea what’s in the shed. Some things may take only 10 minutes, others an hour.
  4. I have a general total time-frame to work with. Because I’m an awful underestimator, I tack on another half hour or so to the time-frame, in case I need supplies, or a break, etc. My shed list has rounded cleaning up to about 4 hours. I’ll get started when dad gets up on his own so the noise doesn’t bother him.
  5. When the shed is done, I have my next room to take care of: the living/dining room. This room has a lot of holdover stuff from grandma’s time here and had a lot of my art stuff, my paint and canvas and such so that it wouldn’t get baked in that hot shed. Well, all that needs to be sent out to the shed now (hence why I cleaned the shed first) and put on the right side, out of the way. I’ve also got totes I’m going to fill eventually, and a place for recyclables in the living room.

Ah, irony. I just got done with this list and what happens? I get a phone call and need to go into work.

That’s another plus of the list. If you know nobody else is going to mess with your cleaning plan and work, you can just cross things off as you do them and leave it for later. But mark down what little things you could get done without a problem, or in short bursts of time that won’t throw things out of whack. In this case, I can’t go and sort painting supplies and climb into the lofts yet, but I can gather all the stray garden tools in and out of the yard and garage and put them next to the door, so tonight I can relabel their spots and put them back properly. I shaved 5 minutes off that 4 hour list already.

Long term cleaning projects suck. Wish I had a whole week–paid–to really tackle it. But at least I’ve got the best order to work with down.

Now, off to work to get paid! And then onto the smaller steps on my to-do list for tonight…or my bedroom (which is my miscellaneous list of “when I can get to it because it doesn’t impact the rest of the house”).

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