Making a House a Home

Well … after weeks months of putting it off, I’m finally getting my apartment organized and cleaned. Well, mostly cleaned. Typically I’m a clean freak — I love order and organization and rules and cleanliness.

But, to be honest, since Amor (No More) moved out in March, I haven’t done a great job. Yeah, for a while I went through the motions: Picked stuff up and put it near where it belonged. I vacuumed around furniture. I really half-assed it. Then, after I visited him in July and realized that things probably weren’t going to end well, I sorta let things around the apartment turn into a danger zone.

Seriously. I’ve been living in a disaster area. It’s quite disgusting. I still cleaned the toilets and other such important duties, but basically I just left trails of “stuff” behind me wherever I went. And my magazines and books are just stacked all over the place. My mail’s strewn about. My dining room table is piled high with everything imaginable. I hate it. And it stresses me out. And “home” is not “home” for me. It’s hard to walk in the door at night knowing that there’s so much to be done but not knowing where to start. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick it up.

It’s funny how things affect us and we don’t even realize it. I know that my lack of cleaning and organization is in some way related to the ending of a relationship that was such a big part of my life — and had become a big part of my home. I know that there’s probably some bit of depression going on here — as much as I try to cover it up and brush it off.

But, last night, I had enough. I knew my sister was coming and knew I should probably clean up a bit. I was so overwhelmed at this task that I cried because I didn’t know where to start. My mom always says to start with the books … or the shoes … or the clothes. But, there was too much of everything lying about. I knew I had to start somewhere, though, and crying about it wasn’t getting me anywhere. So, I started with the bathroom. I picked up the sink and organized the drawers, bleached all the surfaces and lit some candles. Ahhh … sanctuary. One room that had some order. Then, I blew out the candles and went to bed.

This morning I woke up and tackled my more-disgusting-than-I-realized kitchen. It took a couple hours. By the time I’d finished, I’d organized cupboards, threw out old food and made a pot of tea. Then I went to the gym. Sweat out some of my frustrations on the spin bike and headed home to get ready for my day with my sister.

I love her because she really doesn’t care what my home looks like, but I was still embarrassed to have her see it like this. She was pleasantly surprised at my nice, orderly kitchen — so that made me feel good.

After our very fruitful day shopping and hanging out, we said our good-byes and I jumped back in. This time to the dining room. It’s just about how I like it, just needing a wipe down and vacuum and then I can move on to the living room. The bedrooms and second bathroom will be attacked later this week.

I will never let my apartment get like this again. It’s truly gross and stressful. When I come home from a crazy day at work or a long session at the gym, the last thing I want to do it stare at a mess. I deserve to have a peaceful home — a place I enjoy relaxing, reading and writing. So, I’m looking forward to getting things ship-shape so I can enjoy my own home. So what if there’s no one (currently) to share it with me — that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be nice. Just. For. Me. (And the naughty cats.)

My home should be my sanctuary in this world. And soon, it will be again.

My cleaning tunes? Dar Williams, Melissa Ferrick, Ani DiFranco, Melissa Eteridge and The Weepies.

My pre-cleaning spree energy kick/dinner? Scrambled egg whites with cilantro, spinach, bell peppers, green onions, garlic and swiss cheese.



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4 responses to “Making a House a Home

  1. wendy warren



  2. I have to admit that the OCD in me was completely stressed out reading your pre-cleaning description, but I have now exhaled and commend you on your efforts 😉

    There is messy and there is dirty. Although I doubt you were dirty, messy can be just as stressful (but much more realistic and livable.)

    Plus, blasting music and dancing around with your Swiffer Wet Jet can be fun, no? At least the cats are entertained 😉


    • Ohmigosh. You have no idea how disgusting I’ve felt for the past few weeks — knowing I needed to get this place in shape but not being able to start (or not knowing where to start … I don’t know). I finally took down the last pictures of me and Amor No More and put away the last of the T-shirts he left here. It’s sort of liberatingly sad … if that makes sense. Time to clean house and move on, I suppose.


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