Bears With Furniture

One problem with living in a creative family is the amount of stuff we all tend to accumulate. When Mr. Man decided he wanted to play guitar, the Yamaha acoustic cutaway was soon joined by five electrics and Frick’s Squier jazz bass and Martin dreadnought. We have piles of movies and video games, boxes of art supplies, and yarns for both knitting and needlepoint. We’re all readers, so we basically drown in books (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). But the worst, thanks to the fact that I’m a writer and we hate anything associated with bills is the paper. Good Lord almighty. I swear it breeds when I’m not looking.

A couple of years ago, I jokingly asked for a house elf for Christmas. Mr. Man is nothing if not attentive and really, really good at presents, so he hired a housekeeper. Wendy came every couple of weeks and kept the piles at bay and the floors cleaned and whatnot. It was awesome.

And then I got the note that she was going into semi-retirement and only doing a couple of small houses a week. Our 4/2 did not make the cut. Ouch. Ouch and then panic, since our normal housekeeping entropy creates a habitat Mr. Man jokingly calls “Bears With Furniture.” So basically I have a couple of choices: 1) Search for a new house elf who will have other habits to get annoyed by used to like the stacking and the hiding and the accidental breakage because efficiency and speed are more valued than antiques and heirlooms, or 2) Get off my keister and clean my own danged house.

Option 2 isn’t impossible. It’s actually more manageable now that I have a teen who drives so I don’t spend all of my time playing Momtaxi anymore. But how do you teach a bear, even one with lovely antique furniture, how to manage a household like a human without being distracted by all the creativity that’s all over everywhere? Routines. I checked into the Flylady (again). She doesn’t have an app, although she has partnered with Cozi, which isn’t workable for me since I have work calendars and whatnot that I need to keep synced. Plus, the website-focused app only goes so far for me, which I discovered during my dalliance with Remember The Milk. There was another pretty app called HomeRoutines, but cheapskate me didn’t want to pay the five bucks to download it. And then I found Unfilth Your Habitat–which is the cleaned-up name for an actual app and Tumblr site that apparently caters to minds like mine.

UfYH, as its aficionados call it, isn’t polite. There’s lots of cursing involved in the app language, so it’s definitely not the choice for someone who hasn’t spent a lot of years in either the restaurant business or a high school–both of which I have. Its straightforward advice: Even a little is better than nothing. Work in short bursts and take breaks rather than undergoing marathon cleaning. Tackle a small project. Take pictures so you can see progress.

So UfYH and I have been at work, and since I’m slightly more proud of the progress than I am embarrassed by how awful everything was looking, here are some before and afters during my first week of Unfilthing:

2014-10-18 11.56.23Kitchen table. People can actually eat here now.

2014-10-18 15.44.18Dry sink which is no longer a catchall. Plus, all the pencils are sharpened and the pens write.

2014-10-24 13.50.31CD beast tamed so we can weed and purge.

2014-10-25 17.51.47See? There was a desk under all that paper.

2014-10-25 10.50.30Still need to pressure wash, but it no longer looks like the Addams Family lives here.

We shall not speak of the twin horrors that are my dining room and living room, but they’ll have their turn. For now, I’m concentrating on keeping the floordrobe under control, taming Mt. Washmore, and editing and donating. Someday (year, perhaps), I’ll get Inga the Convertibeetle back in the garage, if Mr. Man gets on the UfYH bandwagon with me. And maybe, just maybe, I can prevent Frick and Frack from degenerating into bears once they’re on their own.

Wish me luck!





1 Comment

  1. Excellent post, Mimi. I love that you look to apps to motivate yourself to tackle something new. I do the same thing! When I decide I need to make a change, learn something new, or tackle something I’m not crazy for, I head to the App Store first. Somehow it makes any type of chore a bit more fun and less like work. Good luck taming the bears!

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