Warning: This post may will contain excessive levels of cynicism, complaining, and irrational thought.
While I wore my fair share of friendship bracelets, and tight-rolled my jeans with flair, I am generally able to resist peer pressure.
In fact, when I feel pressured to do something, but haven’t had time to decide for myself that it’s something I want to do . . . I might just dig in my heels and refuse to do it.
Anyway, I had stumbled upon, and then Diane had also mentioned in a comment recently, that the organization blog A Bowl Full of Lemons was doing an organizational challenge this month.
I checked it out while holding my breath.
I’ve mentioned before that organized people scare me a little, and I rarely visit organizational blogs because I get so quickly overwhelmed. I’m doing things at my own pace here, and I’m making progress. Real life progress for a real life slob. Not whip-it-back-into-shape organization by someone who gets giggly at the thought of baskets.
But honestly, she seems really nice, and quite encouraging.
So, I thought I’d check out the daily challenges and see if I could fit one in. You know, because if I’m not going to blog about it, I’m probably not going to do it.
My motivations are oh-so-noble and all.
I glanced at the ‘clean-off-your-desk challenge.’ I smirked at the before picture looking like my dream after-picture. But then, I visited the ‘Tupperware cabinet’ and linen closet challenges. And my cold heart softened a little.
Her before pictures were . . . . actually messy.
And this is someone who loves organization! I started to think maybe we could be real-life friends after all.
It gives me hope to know that an organi-lover might just have a messy linen closet.
Maybe they took down their Christmas tree before yesterday, and maybe they didn’t just this morning pick up the tissue paper from their 9yo’s birthday party (on December 28th of LAST YEAR) . . . but just knowing that their Tupperware isn’t perfectly organized . . . helped.
So, I decided that today would be the day. The day when I would join in. After lunch, I turned on the computer, checked the assignment, and fell immediately into a funk.
Really? I could have done the Tupperware or the linen closet (not that I did)!!! But really? Under the kitchen sink?
I mean, I avoid even thinking about what’s under there. And I’m having a good hair day for the first time in weeks, and this project means getting on the ground and sticking my head way back into the recesses of my how-neat-that-the-sink-is-in-the-corner cabinet!!!
I opened the cabinet door, and stared for at least 3 minutes.
I finally pulled out a few of the things in the front, and then stared for a while longer. I tried to convince myself that this was an impossible task, that everything under there probably needed to stay anyway.
But finally, I grumpily got a footstool and sat down. I pulled out the miniature Beethoven statuette. Because that’s what every sane woman finds under her kitchen sink.
I think I put him under there when I needed to put out Christmas decorations . . . three years ago. He’d been there a while at least, because his face had been eaten off. Not by rats, but by lying face down, never getting moved during the time when our sink was leaking.
I also found various vases and other decor that I never replaced after I accidentally decluttered my kitchen window in the fall. It’s a rare thing that I put out flowers, so I think the three I kept are plenty for this wanna-be minimalist.
The sentimental items were most difficult. These are two milk bottles I got when I was in college and visited Hong Kong. I put them to use by placing paintbrushes in them up on the counter where I could actually enjoy them.
And I just flat-out threw away a lot. While that tray and bowl might be usable after being soaked and deep-cleaned, I haven’t missed them for several years. They can go.
I was oh-so-tempted to stop after the decluttering. Surely that was enough???
But I muttered and scowled as I searched in the garage for something to put some soapy water in. Something that would never have food in it and had never been used to clean a bathroom. Since I am, after all, a germaphobe.
I scrubbed, even crawling almost entirely into the cabinet, and shined up that curly-80s-faux-wood-grain-linoleum.
Here it is now:
After all of the griping and whining and complaining of my inner-monologue, I’m glad I did it.
It looks good! I think under your sink must be bigger than under my sink.
WOW, you sound like me. heheheheheh
I have been following the challenge, from day 1.. and I have been thinking that I should give it a try…. and you know what, after reading your post(with a smile on my face, may I just add) I think I'm going to sign up.
Keep up the good work.
GREAT JOB! From one slob trying to be clean to another, WAY TO GO! Glad you joined the challenge. I have slowly been transformed and I even bought a label maker today! What is the world coming to?! Enjoy your cabinet!
The sink area looks terrific!
I'm doing the challenge too and have (so far) really been enjoying it.
I've been following your site for at least a year now and really enjoy your candor and honesty!
I love your voice! This post made me giggle. I also love the milk bottles and kinda now want some of my own–not that I have a place to put them. Great job cleaning it all out.
You are too funny! Wow, you got that cabinet clean. Thanks for joining my challenge. I cant wait to see what you do next!
You did a great!!! job. Love the inner monologue. Much better than explaining all the sudden de-cluttering to a 5 yo busybody. LOL
I am also super envious of the milk bottles. Having grown up on a dairy I think that they are just the cutest.
It looks awesome way to go !!!!!!!! I am also part of the challenge but my stupid computer is acting up so I cant post pics.
Way to go! Glad you grumbled your way through it ^.^
Great job! I'm totally with you on being intimidated/irritated by the organization blogs. This is the first challenge I've joined for just that reason. I've been pleasantly surprised that I've been able to somewhat keep up (although my Christmas tree is still up and the house hasn't been cleaned in…uh…never mind).
I love your blog! I will definitely be back 🙂
You go GIRL!!!!
You are full of WIN!
That's a great use for the milk bottles and you're absolutely right about the bowl. There is no explaining how the Beethoven migrated through the wall of the cabinet and settled in for a good long hiding.
You got started and you didn't let that other inner voice that says "later" or "another time" take over.
What a triumph! Thanks for sharing.
Great job! The challenges sound interesting. I would have totally tossed rather than scrubbed and soaked, good call.
The designer and organizer says
Just keep it up…would love if you visit my blog 🙂
Roll over, Beethoven! You made me LOL! I could so relate! Fantabulous "after" picture! 🙂
“Not whip-it-back-into-shape organization by someone who gets giggly at the thought of baskets. ”
I haven’t finished the post yet but I think I love you.
That cabinet looks amazing by the way! And reading this makes me feel pretty motivated. Hey I just took the paper hearts I cut out off of our door that I put there for Valentine’s Day and it’s the end of July! About time! Wow!
I am readin your blog from the beginning after discovering your podcast and blog. I have to say the Beethoven made me laugh out loud. I really love reading your journey and am glad I can follow along from the beginning!
Dana White says
So glad you found me!! Welcome!!
Kathy Krause says
I have been reading your blog for the past few months, bought and read your books AND watched your podcasts. I have to tell you, you are the first person that truly motivated me to “deslobify” (is that a word?) my house…because I feel like you get me and the way my brain works (or doesn’t work depending on the day).
Although I won’t post before and after pictures, since the before is WAY too embarrassing, but I’ve already noticed a big difference in just the few things I have done. I want to thank you for all your great advice!
Dana White says
I love hearing this, Kathy! Thank you!
i get real frustrated when i look at what all i have to do – and i lament that im not doing the area i just finished – because that area that seemed so impossible now seems easy – but you put a phrase that really put that “seems so impossible” into clarity – you added everything probably needed to stay anyway – i think that’s part of my problem – thinking that everything is going to have to stay – and i have no where to put it – and anticipating the emotional stuff – but i think that’s my irrational fear – that everything is going to have to stay – thinking you for putting it into words – the only other phrase i’ve ever heard that was as close to being helpful – i found it on youtube and haven’t been able to re-find it – but clutter is evil – and it wants to stay in your house – it helps me feel like a warrior princess fighting to defend my home – which really we all are
PAULA HARRIS says
The struggle is real. I keep telling myself one day at a time
Julie in the UK says
Several snort-out-loud moments in this post and the comments: Beethoven under the sink, I haven’t finished reading but I think I love you, clutter is evil and it WANTS to stay in your house. I’m still chuckling at all those.
Susan McVicker says
SQUEAL!!!!!!!! MY ‘under-the-kitchen-sink’ had already been cleaned and organized a few months ago! I had cleaned it, laid out a liner, and put two dish tubs inside to organize the cleaning bottles.
yahoo! I don’t have to feel guilty about not doing that challenge! HOW REFRESHING!
You made me laugh out loud.If I was drinking milk it would have come out of my nose- At first I was thinking – that was not a lot very much stuff under the sink before you started tossing. Compared to my “under the sink” anyway. Like I was wondering where the Orange hand cleaner and the Costco box of big black bags and the Costco box of small white bags and every sponge you own and the butcher block oil and the big jug of ammonia and the big jug of vinegar and the jug of drain cleaner and the costco container full of dishwasher pods and the tub to do hand washables were. And then I realized- ah-ha! She must have a garage!
I own a mobile home with a nice little 8 by 6 foot shed wayyyyyy in the back of the house where it is dark at night. I only visit it during the day because me and my flashlight have come face to face with racoons, possums and one time a skunk. It is full of mostly appropriate garage type stuff. So I have to keep a lot of stuff I would normally put on a shelf in the garage- in the house. Sometimes in weird places.
No excuse though! I need to get under my sink and do some decluttering.
You after pic looks great. (I am suprised that no one has asked why there are coffee mugs under there…….) Made me grin and scratch my head.
It’s funny that I find I do my best cleaning when I am mad about something. I guess it gives me energy. Unfortunately I haven’t been mad to much lately. I guess I just need to get at it anyway.
Ok… so nine years later, you’ve inspired me to clean out from under my sink. The biggest positive outcome, I found and tested our fire extinguisher and put it where we could actually get to it in a fire. Buried under the sink, in the back, behind all the cleaning supplies is probably not the best place for it!