When I was a kid, my brother and I had to do chores around the house. Naturally, we felt this was just too much to ask of us. And so, like millions of teenagers before us, we fought it every step of the way up until we left the nest and realized that toilets don’t clean themselves when you have four roommates.
My mom would try to inject a level of cheeriness into the task. “Whistle while you work!” she would suggest, before launching into song. “Just a spoonful of sugar!” she would remind us, bribing us with a plate of cookies.
My favorite, and the one that still gets me through most of my household drudgery to this day, is “Do the worst first.” But it really doesn’t sound all that cheery, does it?
I would often contemplate which of my chores was worse. I actually liked ironing because it was one of the rare times I got to watch TV, and I would stretch it out for as long as possible.
“Aren’t you done yet?” my mother would ask, poking her head in and frowning at the still large pile.
“Uh, no,” I would say, my eyes glued onto Days of Our Lives. “I really want to make sure Dad’s shirts are perfect.”
Eventually, watering the plants became my absolute least favorite job.
My mother loves plants and she had easily 40-50 houseplants in all of our houses, many tucked into tiny, delicate teacups and placed high up on bookshelf just beyond reach.
It was my job to hunt down every one of these little bastards, many times teetering on the edge of a chair, mere inches away from some horrendous injury. When I finally tracked them all down, my mom would sing out, “Oh Milllllllly! There’s eight more in the bathroom!
I can’t help but think about this as I “gird my loins” (my mom’s expression) for the great house packing up. I swore when we first moved in that I would never unpack another box again, and yet here I am.
Our garage is one hot mess.
In my defense, I do go reorganize it two to three times a year. I pull everything out, get rid of what’s not needed and try and come up with ways to keep it organized and accessible. And yet … it so quickly descends into chaos again! How did this happen? Again?
I know why. Because we expect too much from our garage. It not only holds our bikes, treadmill and washer/dryer, but my husband’s home winemaking venture, his drum kit, my Girl Scout stuff, our pantry and kitchen overflow, not to mention decorations for every kind of holiday, my son’s old crib and stroller, way too many hand-me-downs. It’s just too much.
Our remodel will address much of this, so I’m firmly holding onto the hope that this mess will eventually get resolved. Permanently.
The biggest solution will be my husband’s man cave. (Because 90 percent of what’s in our garage belongs to him. And it’s all large and awkwardly shaped.) And it will almost literally be a cave. In fact, he was quite annoyed when the city told him it had to have windows.
I’m also hoping that the new kitchen will finally be able to hold everything it’s supposed to. As it is now, I store food and supplies out here, in addition to several serving bowls, etc.
Because our garage will be the first thing to be demolished, it is the first thing that needs to be packed up. Hence, I’m following my mom’s advice and I’m doing the worst first.
Our POD arrives in two days. And then it’s GAME ON in the purge and packing department. I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to having a clean slate. The actual doing part of it? Not so much.
But at least I’ll know that the worst is behind me. (Or is it?)