I am not sure how you got here to my blog, but welcome. I am LC Giffin. You may know me by my married name or other variations, but lets just get comfortable with my writing name shall we?
So this morning I was standing in my kitchen, the kitchen that I have successfully kept clean all week and I thought to myself, how peaceful is this? Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t perfect, but I will say that if any of my friends stopped by, I wouldn’t be hiding under the couch, especially since I know what IS under the couch already.
Let me tell you a little bit about my world and it will help you to understand why this kitchen thing is such a big deal.
First of all, I am on the dark side of my 30s (although I can pass for the dark side of my 20s some days!). I have a husband, sometimes he is awesome and sometimes he is so typical husband I could pull my hair out. He is my best friend and there is no one else I’d rather fight for blankets with or think of spending the rest of my life with. We’ll talk more about him later.
We have one dog, Gracie. She is a 100 lb Golden Retriever and man does she have my heart sometimes. Like when her eyebrows move up and down when you talk to her. Its like she actually gets what you are saying!
We also have three cats, Allie, Horatio, and Lucie. Now each of them has a very distinct personality that makes them interesting in their own way.
Allie, well she is my husband’s cat through and through. Every night around 9pm she demands time with him. She snuggles up on his chest and falls asleep. It’s really cute, but I don’t know what would happen if we had a baby that tried to take that time and space. She is like some Goth teen that alternately loves and hates her parents.
Horatio is a love. He is a little flighty, a little dumb, but largely just a mush that loves attention. You know that video that went viral more recently with a cat that was pawing for attention? Here it is: http://youtu.be/ZsqYZU4qi50 Yeah, that is every day with Horatio. He is like that lovable jock boy that everyone just adores.
And then there is Lucie. If she were a child, she would be the one that sits by herself most of the time, with glasses, reading a book well above her grade level. She is by far one of the prettiest and softest cats I have ever seen, but she is also the most skeptical. Yes, I said it, a skeptical cat.
There is so much more about me that we will get to, but for now, that little snip it at least gives you a little bit of a picture of the “who” is in my daily life and in my house.
My husband and I bought this house in 2008 from my mother. I know what you are going to say, this is where the comedic element of my personal life sitcom enters, and you are right.
While the house is not bad, my mom, a hard working lass, was somewhat overwhelmed with everything from the grass mowing to the over abundance of crap that no one needs or wants. When we decided to buy the house, my mom distinctly decided to downsize her life in general, which meant to get rid of crap, lots of crap. But the funny thing about crap, is that it sticks. Once you wipe it off of one thing it always ends up smeared on something else. Unfortunately, that crap seemed to stick our house like well… ok enough with the poop analogy, I am sure you get the picture.
My mom tried hard to purge before we moved in, but it just didn’t happen. I could say we were busy, or that there were other problems or issues, but at the end of the day, the truth is that no one wanted to totally just give up or get rid of stuff that someone “might need one day”. The emotional attachment to crap that doesn’t matter is a strong one. Largely because most of those items were bought with emotion, not with objectivity. In addition, we know what we paid for things and to come to the realization that it isn’t worth the money we paid anymore (few things are) is really tough because in our mind it will always have that perceived value.
So here we have a house that has my mom’s left over clutter (and she by the way ended up downsizing to a double-wide with two storage units as well as stuff still in our house) and our newly added stuff AND clutter. Despite the fact that we moved here from a 2 bedroom apartment we had our own clutter and crap right to add to it. The story wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t add to the pile.
So here I am, now 2012 with a house that is not bad enough to be on hoarders but certain rooms could certainly give them a run for their money. Ok well it isn’t that bad but I am telling you, close… real close!
I’m the kind of person that would love to be able to regularly host friends and family. I like being around people, but with a house like this, well it is just not possible. And like my ancestors before, when you can’t have people in your house, sometimes it is easy to fill the space with stuff, and by stuff I mean not only the house clutter, but also the mental, and physical clutter too.
Writing this blog is about my thoughts, trials, and tribulations of me and my husband de-cluttering our lives in every way. From the the basement to the obesity. Yes you heard me right, being over weight is all about clutter in a way (it is like I have been packing it in for some impending ice age!) It is time that the abundance with no substance stops in my life.
So that is why this blog is called You Can’t Appreciate What You Can’t See because it is all about me and my family working through our house, emotional, and physical clutter to find the most valuable pieces of our lives and to better focus on the important things and not just the stuff we have.
Life is short, we hear it all the time, yet it still doesn’t seem to hit home most days. We are infested with insubstantial material. That material includes the clutter in our houses, the static of poor quality friendships and family, and even down to the nutrient-poor foods we eat. So much of it is insubstantial and rubbish (yes I said it, and old school word… marvel at my reach into the past!) and has to be removed from our lives.
Ok… so uhm, I am not going to be able to sum up the whole blog in this one post, nor do I want to, it will evolve and develop on it’s own. I can’t possibly give you all my wisdom in one post either… because quite frankly while I have lot, I also have a lot to learn. This blog is the record and an attempt to force some accountability into my life for finding and appreciating the things that really do matter.
So back to that peaceful kitchen. Two weeks ago, that kitchen had cupboards full of falling plasticware (that is by the way not all that good for our bodies anyway, especially if you try to eat it.. just kidding you know what I mean!) appliances I don’t need or want, junk drawers full of, oh you don’t even want to know, a fridge with bad food, a sink full of stinky dishes and utensils, and a floor full of dog and cat hair. That’s just what I am willing to admit to. Ok there was at least one pair of dirty underwear (courtesy of Gracie) and a few pairs of socks too, if you must know. Oh… and one… more… icky… thing………. mice poop. Yes I admit it. Our cats on patrol must have been missing the mark because we found mouse poop on the counters and in drawers.
Two weeks ago, I was one week away from the in-laws visiting. We all know that that is like. Ladies true or false even if you and your spouse share house cleaning duties, when the house is not in order, the judgement always hits the wife in the forehead right???? So no matter that I work a full time job, am getting my MBA, have an active family and friend circle, or any of that stuff.. if the house is not clean, it immediately reflects on ME. So I am sure you understand that I couldn’t allow my in laws to arrive to a house that was a mess (really bad) and especially to a kitchen that had mouse poop… and killer plasticware.
So many times before when my husband and I came to these crossroads we hurried to cover up, hide, and make things look like they were clean and organized, even when they really were not. But not this time… oh no. The mouse poop pushed me over the edge. The falling killer plasticware had fallen on me for the last friggin time. So… I gutted the place. It may have taken me until 3AM. But.. when I went to bed Monday two weeks ago, I knew the only thing that was left outstanding in redefining my kitchen into a place that I was happy with and comfortable was a good mop job.
I even.. wait for it… put out items I don’t need or want for free (Curb Alert… Craigs List) yes….. free. It was hard, I looked at the items feeling like it was wasteful, and wondering how much money I actually spent on it and now I was giving it away… but the value of those items was nothing when compared to my peace of mind.
And since then, I am a clean kitchen OCD (no insult intended) freak. I mean it. I wipe the counters once a day, I make sure no dishes are in the sink ever. I gut fridge as soon a something seems like it might not get eaten (we have a 2 day rule on left overs, if it isn’t eaten by day two it goes into the freezer for later). I refuse to go to bed unless the kitchen looks exactly like it is supposed to. And… I would have to say… it’s been working. And it is not all that difficult. I am sure you have all heard, if you clean up as you mess up it is easier. It is true.
The hard part is not getting lazy. The hard part is remembering the pain of stress from a dirty kitchen is more painful than taking a minute to maintain the situation. It is easy to forget.
I do have a reason why this time is easier though. I know it. My in laws are visiting again at the end of May. I really don’t want to go through another few days of freaking out and cleaning between now and then. So… I have convinced myself to stay on top of it. To spend minutes a day maintaining the house. You know… like normal people do.
The interesting thing I thought about this morning though is that they say, it takes 21 days to create a habit. Maybe… just maybe because I am being practical about keeping the house clean between in law visits… maybe I am building a new pattern! Let us hope!
Well, my friends, I have loved writing today. I have so many things I want to write about but I do have laundry that needs to be washed and a dog that sincerely wants to go outside. So I best be on my way.
So my tip.. because part of this blog is about helping to spread success…
Beginners: Open the plasticware cabinet today, take out your unmatched lids and all the containers that have pitting from microwaving them and either: A) Put them in the recycle bin and don’t look back or B) put them in a box put them out by your curb and post them on Craigslist for FREE as a curb alert.
Advanced: Open the plasticware cabinet, box up everything (even that Tupperware that you haven’t used in 2 years) and put it all in a box and put it on your curb and then list it under the Craigslist for FREE as a curb alert. Then, if you don’t have any, invest in a versitile GLASSWARE set that is more resilient and better for your body to use! I personally love Pyrex because you can freeze, microwave, and bake in them. Don’t get a lot because the goal is not to re-clutter in a different way!