Tidy Home Tidy Mind

It is no secret that I have extreme levels of anxiety. Alas. I get by on the day to day but there is a bonafide way to make me feel in control of my environment. And this, my friends, is tidying up.

Typically, my pattern is that I will not care too much about the clothes I’ve tossed onto our bedroom floor or the stray few hairs on the sink from the weekly occurrence of me brushing my hair. (It’s curly, okay…. curly hair doesn’t need to be brushed as much. At least mine doesn’t).  And then, all of a sudden, I CARE SO MUCH. Hence our room or apartment or wherever has two modes: 1) my stuff is pretty messy or 2) my stuff is perfectly put away and I’ve scrubbed the bathroom top to bottom. And, if you are of this enlightened inclination, this doesn’t have anything to do with gender roles or expectations in my house. Mike is helpful with housework and certainly doesn’t expect me to do it all. However, I am the person in our relationship who tends to like things tidier, so it all pans out. If I suddenly want everything put away and not  a stray sock on the floor, I am happy to pick it up.

Does anyone else feel this way? I feel like I can exhale after finally tiding up, dusting, vacuuming, etc. Maybe this is because one of the reasons things go by the wayside that  would prefer to keep appropriately cleaned up (like the sweatshirt I take off or my pj’s etc. etc.) is because I am particularly busy during that time. Then, when I am not running in a deep panic, I clean up and feel generally relieved about my current state of affairs.

In an attempt to find some middle ground, I want to try to work a few things into my daily routine that keep our space from becoming out of control. Here are a few things I have found helpful:

  • Before bed, clean up the kitchen. Wipe down counters, make sure all dishes are loaded and start the dishwasher. Wipe up spills on the stove. Sweep. Feel joyful that when you come downstairs in the morning, you will be greeted by a clean kitchen.
  • Make the bed in the morning. We are still working on this one. It’s difficult because Sam the dog likes to paw around in the sheets, etc. so bed making is a “strip the bed and remake it” activity every morning. Gone are the days when we could throw the sheet and comforter up from the foot of the bed and it looked decent. Thank you, small Boston Terrier, for throwing our sheet on the floor and moving the comforter 90 degrees every night without fail.
  • Put your clothes either into the drawer from whence they came or the hamper when you take them off.  WHY IS THIS SUCH A STRUGGLE?! Flat spaces and chairs in bedrooms should be banned. We all know clothing with likely pile up on them. Let’s just end the charade. (But how?!)
  • Sprinkle baking soda everywhere and roll in it for good luck. (This isn’t actually a thing but it probably could be. Cheap, full body microdermabrasion, anyone?!)

Are there any small, daily things people could recommend to help me stop with the random bouts of manic cleaning?

 

 

Cornstarch and Other Groundbreaking News

I made a couple of jaw breaking discoveries about cornstarch this week. First of all here is a killer sauce for stir fry, with cornstarch as its consistency hero:

– The juice of 1 orange

– A minced clove of garlic

– Fresh ginger, ground in food processor or chopped

– Soy sauce to taste

– 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Just whisk together all ingredients and pout into a skillet that is over medium high heat, stir it around for a minute or two until it starts to thicken, throw in some veggies (broccoli and carrots and peppers are great, but you do your thang) and voila! We were going to add chicken but ended up not having any (actually, we did have some but we had narrowly let it go bad–kitchen real talk) so we cooked meatless chicken patties, chopped them up, and threw them in at the last minute. It was really good! If you make this, adjust the recipe however you like. I kind of just threw stuff in and tasted it. I do recommend something along these lines though as it is a super quick dinner. Thank you, cornstarch.

The other use is for getting out stains! Mike (my husband if you are unfamiliar with the blog and/or bad with context clues) had a grease stain on a wool shirt he loves. It had been washed and dried at least once, so I didn’t have high hopes for it ever coming out. In a last ditch attempt, I rubbed some dish soap into the stain and sprinkled a healthy amount of cornstarch over the soap. By “healthy amount” I actually mean that the cornstarch came out really quickly so there was a small white mountain on the shirt. I thought it was fine since I wrapped it up neatly before gently placing it in the hamper. However, Sam (our Boston Terrier) was standing next to me when I was collecting the laundry to take to wash and…poof.

Attack of the cornstarch.

Attack of the cornstarch.

Anyway… at least Sam’s plight was not all for naught… The cornstarch treatment actually worked! When the shirt came out of the wash and we let it air dry, the stain was totally gone!

Anyway, in other pressing news:

Ariana Grande licking a donut and saying she hates America earlier this month was investigated by police. No charges were filed in donutgate. This scandal is ridiculous.

I FINALLY LISTENED TO “SERIAL.” Oh my gosh. We listened to the whole season in a week. I am fascinated by true crime and examining what might have gone wrong with a case is kind of my jam. I actually wrote a 31 page paper in high school about Sacco and Vanzetti. I was rapt the whole time. If you haven’t listened and you like that kinda thing, do it now. You won’t be sorry.

Today I realized that a magazine I bought a couple of month’s ago boasts on it’s cover, “Bathing Suits to Solve Every Problem.” When I noticed this I thought, “Solve every problem… like what?! homelessness? poverty? racism? homophobia? sexism?!” On a similar note, my not super svelte self recently bought a slightly cropped top I thought was cute in a store (it was 6 bucks!) and the cashier told me it was a “brave” choice. It’s a crop top. Not chemotherapy. C’mon…

I’ve been super busy with school (and many random panic attacks :() lately so I have slacked a bit on the ol’ blog a bit. I will try to keep up.

What have you been up to this summer? What is an around the house item you find helpful in cleaning, cooking or crafting? Comment or shoot an e-mail to karacterspace@gmail.com and say heywhatsuphello!

The Week(+) I (Almost) Forgot About My Blog

Oh hello there!

Long time no see! I was basically in a cocoon of schoolwork for the better part of last week. They manufacture those during summer classes. They look very much like a snuggie but they are woven from the same cloth as… I don’t know, HELL. But finally, I have burst forth. In the words of Kimmy Schmidt (if you haven’t seen “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix , I recommend you do!) “I feel like a butterfly, bursting forth from it’s crystalish and falling from the nest!.” (Until later this week when a boatload of work descends upon me again.)

How was YOUR week?! Any great blog posts or internet sensations I missed? Link them below if there are any must-sees 🙂

When I wasn’t doing schoolwork this week, I assembled a housewarming gift for some friends of ours. It turned out well, was useful and not expensive, so I thought I would share.

I made this:

gift

Here is how this too could be yours to give to a loved one upon the acquisition of their new digs (avoided saying “housewarming” two times in a row–cha ching!):

  • Go to Homegoods (TJ Maxx, Marshall’s etc. would be fine, too)
  • Pick out some citronella candles (I got a three pack of copper colored handmade ones). I found them in a clearance aisle near lawn and garden items.
  • Choose two useful household products. I bought a lavender aromatherapy all-purpose cleaner and a mango linen spray.
  • Buy something green and alive. I popped by Stop N’ Shop and picked up an African violet.
  • My mother in law had some extra baskets around the house, so I got a basket from her. Homegoods probably has many basket options as well. Baskets can be a bit pricey depending on where you go, so asking if someone has one is never a bad option. Baskets are like opinions. Everyone has a few spare ones that aren’t serving them well. Help them help you.
  • Now is the fun part! Arrange the candles and household sprays in the basket and place the plant at the front. I lined the basket with tissue paper first to make it extra festive.
  • I had a picture frame that we weren’t using, so I wrote “Welcome Home” on a piece of cardstock and placed it in the frame. I nestled the frame in the middle of the basket to tie it all together.
  • I will be tacky and talk about price here: it cost about $15-20 in total.

Our friends liked the gift and the citronella candles came in handy that very evening.

Do you have any go-to gifts for various occasions?! Let me know.

xo,

Kara