Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Empty the recycle bin?

Yesterday, I had a day of maniacal tidying, cleaning and de-cluttering. Seven bulging recycling bags; a full wheelie bin, sore hands and lots of cloths stained with mottled black dirt are the evidence of my toil.

I bought some Jeyes Fluid in preparation, there's just something appealing about that intense aroma. I used it quite liberally out the back to  scrub the moss-covered patio slabs, disinfect the drains and mainly to keep my enthusiasm up with the nostalgic scent.
I'm sure my 'green' chums in the next street would be horrified if they knew, I'm so glad they didn't pop in for a cup of Rooibos tea when I was in the middle of using such a toxic substance.

Next, I tackled the mind-numbing  task of sorting out the various bowls, boxes, bags and jars filled with 'stuff'. Said 'stuff' mainly seemed to be batteries, elastic bands, letters, small toys, business cards and empty envelopes. My mother never writes on greeting card envelopes - "no point, you know who it's for and you can save the envelope for another  time". Trouble was, most of these envelopes had become damp/soiled/crumpled.

After the tidying, came the cleaning, and gradually, my house started resembling a house that's quite presentable - so I celebrated with Earl Grey (are you listening Cliodhna? I had a splash of milk with it!).

It was middle son's actual birthday, so he had a friend over for tea, and the in-laws and other relatives visited (hence the crazy cleaning).

I couldn't switch off from my frenzied cleanaholic mode, so swiped cups and plates from guests' hands as soon as they'd gulped the last drop of tea/crumb of cake. I washed, wiped, dried and put away everything rather than let it pile up. My behaviour was out of character. Visitors tend to enjoy my laissez-faire attitude to cleanliness and order, a sort of 'wipe your feet on the way out' approach. I've usually made some scones, cake or laid on a buffet. Not last night - tea and shop-bought baked goods.

When the boys were in bed, the house all tidy and clean for once, I said "I'm going to blog now".  Nothing came. I typed and deleted around ten different beginnings to posts. It seemed my brain had been cleansed and emptied like the jars, cupboards and boxes.

I didn't daydream much yesterday, my mind was on the job, manual labour my focus - for once I quite enjoyed it. So now, I have brain-space free maybe a terabyte's worth. I'm as loathe to fill it with crap as I am my recently organised living room.

As I finally got rid of the broken toys, spent batteries, last years' bills, dried up nail varnishes, snapped crayons etc my brain got rid of some daydreams.

Here's a glimpse of some which are in the recycle bin;

Remembering my last public transport journey, tired after running for 5 minutes in case I missed the train. Train whirring, tress flashing - acid green, head on the window so I'm outside, not in, enjoying the sounds as they cancel out small-talk nonsense

Overheard conversation snippet: "I'm going to Tesco after, I'll pick some up for you if it's still on offer" 
I imagine the offer is on loose sand, and the car is full of sand with her tiny face peeping out when she returns

Friends/family - life and death, torturous pain, ecstatic highs, loss, fresh starts and unhappy ends

Exotic, faraway places, feeling that fleeting moment of knowing you are meant to be here, and at least feel occasional bursts of intense joy, (and being grateful)

Looking at the 'tobacco' strewn ground (decomposing blossom) then, later, the tobacco strewn pavement (discarded fags outside 'The Merlin'  pub)

No time to run tonight - think about running fast and breathing down cold fizzy air which courses straight to my veins, pulsing through and bursting back up through my throat like an opened lemonade bottle

Dream up business ventures leading to meeting interesting people - nationwide travel - cosy lunches and stilettos

Up ahead; short, stout lady in patterned wide-leg trousers, I imagine parting them and revealing a window to a strange world, closing the floral 'curtain' trousers and never seeing that world again.

Home, crack open the Jeyes Fluid - inhale....


  1. What a great feeling to get rid of clutter and organising things, it's one of my favourite pastimes! My friends always joke that I change my furniture around all the time, and they can't keep up. The only problem I have when I try to de-clutter is that I tend to just shift items around and never get rid of anything! I too have dreams of going to meetings and having my own business! Good for the soul they are (dreams) Bx

  2. Well done on the clear up. It takes me ages to get around to it but it is so rewarding when I do.
    I love your description of the contents of your recycling bin, our's is full of Jon's scribbled diagrams and tags ripped off charity shop finds. x

  3. Urghhhhh, If you could come here and clean my apartment I PROMISE I'll give you as much raspberry vodka as you like.

  4. P.s, I miss Ponty charity shops. I've yet to find one here.

  5. you forgot to whitewash the anthracite in the coal shed

  6. I love the stillness of the house after a huge clear out and tidy up. That and the space. In our house it lasts all too briefly, and I'm typing this whilst perched on the settee hunched up next to Roary the Racing car, Toffee the Pony and Ben 10 amongst other things despite us putting in a shed load of work the other day. For a while I can live with the mess, and then I eventually snap and have to tidy everything. Cleaning, it's good for the soul! Freeing up space in the brain, as well as in the house...

  7. I approve of your cheeky dash of milk! Well done on your big declutter. The first thing I did when I arrived home was take a refuse sack and throw out everything in my room before I unpacked. I yearn for minimalism in a house of hoarders.

  8. Well done on the declutter, ive been in cleaning mode too - fitting it in between nap times and feeding times (much like cleaning in a zoo!). Its very therapeutic when you really get into it....although it take me a long time to really get in the cleaning mood ;o) Scarlett x


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