Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I am a slob.

This is not by any means a revelation. Anyone who knows me even sort of well knows this. It's been a thing since I was quite young -- my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Carlson, even told me, "Ashley, you can be anything you want to be. Just please don't become a cleaning lady."

Yeah ... She would be alarmed at what I now do for a living.

The thing of it is ... I've been taught better. My mother is an excellent maintenance cleaner. Every Saturday morning is spent sweeping, scrubbing, dusting, moving furniture aside to get to the hard-to-reach places. Her house is rarely more than twenty minutes from company-ready. My sister is even better -- she just plain keeps things clean. For some reason, I missed that skill.

My desk and my bedroom when I was a kid, and now my car and my house -- always a mess. More than anything, it's always been paper. Books, half-used notebooks, old journals, scrapbook paper (rarely used for scrapbooks), notes and receipts and scraps ... For whatever reason, this is always the first thing to build up, and after that it seems to follow that everything else starts to clutter. Before I know it, I'm surrounded by stuff.

As long. As I. Can remember.

But I realized, as I finished cleaning for Thanksgiving, that ... I really like it when my house is clean.

I like it when people can walk in and I'm not embarrassed.

I like it when things don't get lost in the shuffle.

I like knowing where my keys are.

All right, so that last one might not change much. The bottom line is that this has become much more important, to the point that it even spurred a new endeavor.

After tripping over it multiple times on all sorts of blogs, I decided to tackle a 101 Things in 1001 Days list. If you haven't seen it before, the idea is instead of setting a New Year's resolution that you can then ignore, or instead of having "just" a bucket list of big items, you have a list of goals -- measurable, reachable goals, varying in size and intensity, but all achievable in the time you have -- to attempt in 1001 days (roughly 2.75 years).

As soon as I got started making my own list, I realized two things.
  1. I wanted to go low-tech.
  2. There are a lot of other fun lists out there.
I'm writing it on note cards -- neon colored 3x5s that I can hang up on the back of my bathroom door, where I'll always see them and where I can keep track of my progress. After going over other lists for inspiration, I've managed things from "Conquer the pie crust" to "Read a book a month" to "Skydiving!"

But at the top of the list is my attempt to destroy my slobbiness.

If I didn't hammer that home -- that this has been a problem for me for nearly three decades -- I cannot properly convey why "Learn to maintenance clean" is such a big goal for me. One that I mention here so as to have that much more pressure to achieve it. I'm putting it out there as a reminder to myself to stick with it.

And hey, if you get the urge to nag me in a few months, please do.

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