neat and tidy

It most likely will come as no surprise to the people who know me, but I really don’t enjoy cleaning.  I like living in a clean house.  I like when things are neat, tidy, and organized.  I’ll even make a decent effort at keeping things clean, but I always seem to reach the tipping point where things progress through the  “clean up in 15 minutes or less” to “clean up in 20 minutes” to “you’re taking a week of from work, right?” stages pretty quickly. I know there are people out there that are worse than me about it.  I don’t have any hidden closets of dirty dishes or rotting food.  My version of dirty is more overly cluttered than disgusting.  Still, I will admit I have gone for three weeks without folding clean clothes (thank goodness for an unused guest bed to through them on) and I can take a full stack of “to-be-filed” papers, “file” them in a drawer, and not have a second thought about it until we are actually looking for something that came in the mail sometime in the past three months.

I don’t know where this behavior came from.  Maybe I’m lazy.  Maybe if physical cleaning was as easy as organizing file structures on a computer, I’d be more apt to do it a little more regularly.  I can remember, as a child, trying to vacuum badly enough that I wouldn’t be asked to do it again.  The sheer genius of the notion made absolute logical sense to me at the time, and I still remember the quiet rage I experienced when my masterful planning was ruined by the phrase “Do it again, and do it right this time.”

I’ve found in the past, I do have a breaking point where I admit that my surroundings have reached critical mass.  I have, on occasion, dumped out perfectly organized drawers of stuff just to motivate myself to finally put in the requisite time to get to the nice and tidy place again.  We currently have an on-again off-again Clean Kitchen Project, where we clean up the kitchen in 15 minutes or less every night and don’t let it get to the hour long project stage.  Our goal is to slowly expand this to the rest of the house.

Currently, we’re at the Clean Kitchen plus 1 phase, which means the kitchen plus anything within 1 foot of the kitchen gets cleaned each night.  This is up from last week’s Clean Kitchen plus 6 phase, which was 6 inches.

I’ve been told that slow and steady wins the race.  By next month, I anticipate being up to a full yard, and we should have the whole house clean sometime around the time I become eligible for Social Security.

Basically, I’m trying to tell you I don’t get excited about the prospect of cleaning.  I enjoy washing cars and that is about it.

Our Finish the Garage project has been about half complete since last fall and we let assorted garage type items pile up over the past several months, including a shop-vac.  I got the shop vac as a Christmas present from Tricia this past year.  I admit it was pretty cool to have one of the biggest wrapped boxes around the tree, I had reservations about the present itself.  While power-type tool = cool, cleaning appliance = not-so-much.  And so, the vacuum has say patiently in the box in the front of the garage, waiting and biding its time.

Until last night.

Rhiannon was gone at a teacher-type function of some sort and figured while her car was out of the garage, I would try to get some of the dirt off of the floor so I could detail tires without dust this summer.  Normally, I sweep out our garage onto the driveway.  The driveway is rather severely sloped so it doesn’t take too much work to the get the dirt the rest of way down to the gutter.  Last night, however, there was a stiff breeze blowing into the garage door and I didn’t feel like fighting dust flying back into my face.

Hey, a shop vac should pick up dirt just like saw dust, right?

You bet, and then some.  I got out the vacuum, assembled it with only minor physical injury to myself, and started to suck up some dirt that the cars tracked in over the winter.  With a 7 foot hose, two wand extensions, and a nozzle, a 5hp motor built solely to suck stuff up makes quick work of dirt.  And it was fun.

Enough fun that I started cleaning the garage and putting things away just to get to more of the floor so I could vacuum it.  I vacuumed dirt from potting a plant last November.  I vacuumed scrap insulation from wire stripping last October.  I vacuumed dirt in the joints of the garage floor that has probably been there since before we moved in.  I vacuumed up the massive ant hills that continually reappear underneath the side door, and when the ants started to poor out onto the floor to see where their front porch went, I vaccumed them up too.

Rhiannon was happy that the garage is neat and organized again.  We can see the top of our work bench once more and we’re feeling much more motivated to actually complete the work we started last year.  Now I’m just trying to figure out how to activate the “cook dinner and do the laundry” setting on it.  Something that cool has got to have one, right?