An interview by Polly, Mini Mary Poppins
Polly: Good afternoon, Soteria! Welcome to P&P!
Tory: Thanks, Polly! Long time follower, first time interviewee. And call me Tory!
Polly: Tory it is! And what did you do this weekend, Tory?
Polly: Ok, I know what you did this weekend because I was there and I bossed you around a whole lot. We organized your apartment! (!!!)
Tory: You don’t have to sound so gleeful.
Polly: We organized your apartment. (Better?) Now tell me, how exactly did you rationalize living in a situation that exponentially approached squalor for so long?
Tory: Laziness, other priorities, exhaustion. Grad school, essentially. I haven’t really lived in my parents’ house since 2005, so I haven’t had a home base since then. It’s difficult to turn a dorm into a real home – there’s only so much I could do without painting or even putting tacks in the walls. And it’s even harder to buy furniture and decorations because I never knew what the next space would be shaped like. I got to the point where I didn’t want to bother because I knew I’d just have to pack it up again soon. And it really got to me when I moved to a city where I knew no one and had no support system. On top of that I was generally miserable (O Grad School, thou art a traitorous bitch). SometimesI just wanted to come home to a space that was MINE, especially when I was stressed or had a terrible day.
Polly: Praise Zeus. I am a huge supporter of investing in your space. And that doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money on fancy upcycled curtains from Anthropologie. (But damn are they cute) Investing time and energy into maintaining a peaceful space accomplishes so much! Anyways, now you’re almost settled,right? Out of grad school, at a great job, living in close proximity to your favorite Amazonian queen…
Tory: All of that is true! But I’m currently living in what was supposed to be a temporary space; I was supposed to be here at most until April or May.
Polly: Those months that already happened?
Tory: The very same! So I didn’t really settle in. I was half living here, and half always thinking about packing things up. Then the deal was that I would move in August, so you and I planned Operation: Organization 2012 for the weekend of the 18th. And THEN I got the news that I would be in this apartment for another year.
Polly: So we cleaned and reorganized ANYWAY! I’ll be honest, my apartment is in decent shape and I just wanted an excuse to spend about 18 hours in a row dancecleaning with you.
Tory: Yes, the Disney sing/dance alongs definitely helped!
Polly: We were beyond spoonfuls of sugar. This was buckets of sugar. So we went room by room, dancecleaning. Did you find this to be a good tactic?
Tory: It worked very well, we made the process into manageable bite sized pieces. Like handfuls of M&Ms instead of a 16oz block of chocolate. One is really tasty and the other sends you to the bathroom for the rest of the night. And it helped that we could see the progress we were making.
Step 1. Get stuff off the floor.
Step 2. Find a better place for the stuff than on the floor.
Step 3. Clean the now visible floor.
Polly: And approximately every two hours we built in a sitcom break.
Tory: Yes, like the salty chips in between handfuls of M&Ms!
Polly: I like the junk food metaphor we have going here.
Tory: It works. Junk food always does.
Polly: Unlike the edamame I ordered for dinner. It’s more of an activity than a food.
Tory: I enjoy edamame as a side, but tonight Chez Tory is featuring waffles for dinner. Fun fact: did you know you can’t eat soy if you have most types of cancers?
Polly: I did not! And this all very much relates to cleaning. So throughout the process we did our best to keep in mind what kind of methods would work for YOU! i.e. You like to stuff drawers and closets and open spaces with things that may or may not belong together or be in any discernible order. [Mental picture: Closets overloaded with heaps of clothes, boxes, papers, jewelry, medicine, etc. The floors were similar but also included unassembled furniture and larger boxes.]
Tory: Yes, shelves are key. And we made excellent time! In one day we tackled the guest room, living room, and kitchen
Polly: And how does it feel to be in the newly organized parts of your apartment?
Polly: Good? GOOD?! ALL WEEKEND AND YOU CAN ONLY GIVE ME ONE SYLLABLE?
Tory: Really good! Forgive me, I am tired. But it feels peaceful! I don’t feel bad for relaxing after work.
Polly: Because you are no longer haunted by the menacing spectre of unfolded clothes and empty bottles of water?
Polly: And to reward our efforts, we treated ourselves to meatballs and unassembled furniture at IKEA! Wonderland! I bought giant jars because I have a jar problem.
Tory:And I got shelves to continue organizing all the things!
Polly: And we can put those together tomorrow. We did enough over the weekend. But here is the thousand dollar question (let’s not ask questions outside our financial means): Do you think you can maintain the clean?
Tory: I’m not 100% sure, but way more hopeful than I’ve ever been previously! We did everything in a way that makes sense to me and can function with how I live.
Polly: And you have me to guilt trip you every Monday before we catch up on True Blood.
Tory: Yes, that’s mostly why I’m confident.
Polly: My Italian mother taught me well. There will be tears.
Tory: And you’ll be proud – I made my bed!
Polly: YES! making your bed is a gateway drug to cleanliness! I learned from the best. But you have more homework this week:
-All dishes should be washed and put away 10 hours after you use them.
-Clothes either go into your hamper, on a hanger, or in a drawer. NO FLOOR.
-Just… generally… put stuff back!
Tory: On it.
Polly: Most excellent. And tomorrow we’ll dancebuildIKEAfurniture.
Tory: It’s a date.
Moral of the story, Readers: You don’t even have to spend money to start transforming that place you pay rent for into a place where you genuinely enjoy spending time. Just start getting your twenty-something years of acquired crap in order and the zen will follow.