"just a spoon full of sugar"

No, this post isn’t about musicals.

For those of you who don’t know about my recent past, I moved to Utah mid-2006 after deciding that I didn’t want to get married to the person I was going to marry. While it was my decision, I was heartbroken and an emotional disaster for various reasons. I was also broke. I don’t know if any of you have been through something like this, but it can leave you quite unsure of yourself, and so the prospect of getting a job after leaving one that I loved so much was daunting.

Enter my darling friend, Debbie. At the time, she was the landlord of two rental properties in SoPro (an area of P-town), and like the smart woman that she is, she included cleaning as part of the rent ensuring that her houses–one of which was occupied by five guys–would get cleaned at least twice a month. She was looking for a cleaning lady and she offered me the job. I took it and enjoyed the four hours a week I spent working out all of my anger on the floors, toilets, and kitchen sink. I only tell you this so that you understand, when I share with you what I am about to share, that I am not incapable of cleaning, nor do I think myself above it.

For the past 3.5 years, I have been living in a very small studio apartment over my dad’s garage. I realize that when I move to New York, the apartment will be no larger in terms of floor space, but without the encroaching roofline, I’m hoping to get much better use of the space. I digress.

Anyway, for whatever reason I have really struggled to keep this place clean. (And by clean I really me uncluttered. My mother instilled the fear of all things holy in me when it comes to germs and such.) I just have so much stuff and not enough places to put it, on top of which, when I try to figure out how to organize anything I become almost paralyzed with fear that the way I decide to hang my clothes or file my papers will not be “the best way.” It’s kind of ridiculous, really, but totally true and completely embarrassing considering I used to clean houses.

Please note that it is especially disastrous as it was when I was getting ready to move to New York for the summer and in the process of deep cleaning, but replace all the toiletries and cleaning machines with clothing and you have a pretty accurate picture of how cluttered/messy/out-of-control my apartment gets/is.

Well, a couple of months ago I was having a conversation with a friend who mentioned that she has someone come clean for her. This particular friend is also in grad school, so for whatever reason, it made me feel not so bad about wanting to hire someone to clean my own apartment. Enter my friend Kristan’s younger sister. She is an undergrad here in P-town and was happy to earn some money putting away my clothes and organizing my papers. Of course, it didn’t take very long for the mess to return once I got pneumonia because I just couldn’t be bothered.

Then, last week just before heading to New York, I received the following text message from her: “Chloe, I was wondering if you needed your cleaning lady to come by this week. Let me know!” It was a dream come true. I texted her back and we set up time for her to come over while I was gone. (While the apartment had mostly returned to its previous state, I did manage to keep the closet organized.)

So, when I got back from New York, closet looked like this:

And my apartment almost looked like this (well worth the money spent):

Having been inspired by the progress that my “cleaning lady” made in just 4.5 hours (yes, it was that bad, and I left her dishes to do, as well), I decided to continue the trend and organize (put away and throw away) the piles of papers all over my coffee table. That and I had to find all of my tax stuff…which was actually neatly stacked in one pile ready for me to go.

These pictures were taken last night, so it has now been one entire week of me keeping it clean, which in light of my week, is nothing short of a miracle. It helps that in the back of my head, every time I pull out a shirt and decide not to wear it, before throwing it on my LoveSac, I now have this voice saying, “Remember how embarrassing it is to live in a pigsty and how long it takes you to find anything when it gets that crazy.” For whatever reason, that voice inspires me to hang the shirt back up and keep things clean.
We’ll see how long this lasts, but I am hopeful.
Feb. 23 – I love a clean home!!! (Even if I pay someone to make it that way.)

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