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I like to think that I fall into the "tidy/organized" category, but who am I kidding? When it's time to clean, I always find myself prioritizing the most unimportant, mundane tasks in order to get out of it. Enough is enough! Recently, I started using Handy, an app that connects you to home cleaners, and it's made my day to day life so much better! Handy connects you to experienced Cleaning Pros in your area and allows you to specify exactly what kind of cleaning you need, on a schedule that works for you. You get to choose the cleaner you want, can message and pay them right from Handy's app, and each cleaning session usually takes around three hours. That's some serious time to spend on something I actually want to do!
Ok, so I'm not proud of this, but here are five boring tasks that I actually have done to avoid cleaning before I started using Handy…
I'd Rather Stand In Line At The DMV
I once renewed my license a month before I needed to because my roommate was at home spring cleaning our apartment, and I really didn't want to help. Standing in line at everybody's least favorite place on earth looks like heaven to me compared to what feels like the monumental task of tackling my kitchen.
I'd Rather Do Spin Class 2 Days In A Row. Literally
And I hate working out! I once took 2-afternoon spin classes (on a Saturday and Sunday, may I add) in a row to avoid cleaning. Honestly, it was worth the week of leg cramps to get out of scrubbing my bathroom floor. The cleaning I booked through Handy costs less than I expected, plus the Pros are vetted, meaning you can leave the house and do something you actually want to while they work their magic!
I'd Rather File My Taxes Again.
That's right, I'd rather sit through the painstaking task of filling a tax return for the second time than pick up a duster and start cleaning. On the eve of tax day, I actually volunteered to do my best friend's tax return for her because I couldn't face attempting to organize my chaotic bedroom. And she's a freelancer, so that was a total mess! I truly find cleaning more boring than trying to decode a W2 -- and that's saying something.
I'd Rather Listen To Baby Shark On Repeat.
The.worst.thing.I.have.ever.heard. I adore my niece, but wow that is just noise! I volunteer to watch her every weekend so I have an excuse to be unproductive! Listening to that song (that word is a stretch) on repeat is heaven compared to mopping my floors that, no matter how long I spend on it, never seem to be clean. Appointments can be made as soon as the day before, perfect for last minute spruce up when my sister brings the baby over for a last minute baby shark session with her aunty.
I'd Rather Watch Any Adam Sandler Movie. Twice.
Spanglish, Click, let's be honest -- they're all bad. Sorry, not sorry. But when they're all that's on TV...the worst Adam Sandler movie is still infinitely better than cleaning out my fridge or scrubbing my oven. Thankfully, Handy lets you add upgraded services like the deep oven and refrigerator cleanings to tackle those chores that need a little extra elbow grease.
It's a bad sign when you would rather do literally anything else but clean. Luckily, with Handy you can schedule a cleaning on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis, making maintaining it between cleans a lot more manageable. Stop procrastinating, do yourself a favor and let Handy help you clean up your act!
Rather than viewing those objects as "mine," you may think of them as "me."
If there is one thing Americans know how to do, it's buy stuff.
According to the LA Times, the average American household contains over 300,000 items. But we also know how to hold onto all this stuff we buy. A 2013 article in Popular Science cites a statistic that seventy percent of Americas cannot park cars in their garages because it's packed with too much stuff. I guess that's why offsite storage facilities are one of the fastest growing segments of the commercial real estate market.
There are differing views on why people like to buy and keep so much stuff they don't need. According to an article in Inc., there is a direct link between the stuff you hold on to and how your feel about yourself. "The objects you struggle to get rid of are likely tied to your self-worth," according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Rather than viewing those objects as "mine," you may think of them as "me."
Just like most everyone else in America, I have too much stuff. So, this summer, I'm embracing a utilitarian approach to spring cleaning: If I didn't use it in the past two years, it's time to lose it. This means ridding my closets and drawers of all unworn clothing and shoes, no matter how much I think I love them. Looking through the growing pile of throw-away/give away items, it's clear to me how aspirational so many of my purchases were. And, the extent to which, as June Saruwatari, author of Behind the Clutter points out, I wanted to buy an emotion as much as an object. That size 2 Diane Von Furstenberg dress never fit me, but I pictured myself feeling brilliant when I wore it. Those glam Jimmy Choo silver strappy sandals never did work with anything I actually wore, but I pictured feeling glamorous and sexy in them. No place do I have more unused, aspirational stuff than in the kitchen. Peelers, corers, slicers, molds, bundt pans, quesadilla makers, outdoor dining sets, basket sets, napkin and placemat sets: enough for a solo garage sale.
Most of my useless items broke down into one of seven categories of beliefs:
"If I buy it, pain in the butt tasks will be so much easier"
The mushroom brush, kiwi peeler, avocado peeler, mango peeler, pineapple corer (I used each of these items once), mayonnaise jar spoon (I could never find when I needed it), vegetable scrubbing gloves (these worked, but felt totally disgusting on my hands).
"If I buy it, I will save a ton of money"
Sushi Bazooka (I never got past step three in the instructions), vegetable juicer (I used it like crazy for about two weeks and then got really tired of cleaning it).
"If I buy it, I will become Martha Stewart"
Candy thermometer (you need this in order to determine if your boiling sugar has reached the hard or soft ball stage for desserts that require caramel, like Tarte Tatin, crème caramel, caramel buttercream --- gazillion calorie desserts I never eat), 6 sets of place mats, napkins and napkin rings and three sets of outdoor dishes and wine glasses (I hate eating outside because of the bugs), baggies full of cookie cutters (letting the dough rest in the fridge for an hour and then having to roll it out was always a bridge too far), a set of 24 personal soufflé sized ramekins – I don't make large souffles so I'm certainly not making individual sized souffles. And 24? What was I thinking?
"If I buy it, my marriage will work"
Pasta roller (the family that makes pasta together, stays together, was my hope here), fondue pot and forks (same idea; just gather round the fondue pot and you'll both be smiling again).
"Homemade is so much better"
Yogurt maker (if you like runny, lumpy yogurt, this is the way to go), ice cream machine (given all the flavors and variety of delicious store-bought ice cream, nothing I made could justify the hours of preparation and waiting), bread maker (not sure what I was doing wrong, but every loaf that came out of this thing was as heavy as a doorstop).
"If I buy it, I will not eat carbs"
Spiralizer (great idea, spiralized vegetables --- I'll never eat pasta again! --- unfortunately this thing does NOT work).
"If I buy it, I will be super organized"
Multiple sets of plastic and glass storage containers and multiple wire racks on which to stack pantry items (some of these items are definitely useful, but when you have more storage stuff than space to store it, you have a problem). Multiple sets of "nesting bowls" (why did I think I needed eight different sized bowls in plastic and glass?)
"If I buy it, my daughter will have the best birthday party, ever = I'm the best mom ever"
Taco Proppers – That's right, u-shaped plastic holders that "prop" up your tacos so you can assemble them without spilling the contents, (they never made it out of their packaging). Cupcake tower (I used this once, about six years ago, and it was a success but it's sat in the back of a hard to reach cupboard ever since).
In addition to all the aspirational unused cooking-related items, there also quite a collection of general stuff that has somehow migrated into the kitchen --- stress balls, boxes of thumb tacks, half-used spools of twine, travel sewing kits, extra sets of supplies from old parties, boxes (and boxes!) of nails, ash trays, piles of take-out menus and trail maps, Mandala stress relief adult coloring books, and various earth-friendly cleaning products that don't actually work.
"Then there is the stuff that I've taken with me from place to place over the years"
Cookbooks I've never used, fancy serving dishes I've never served from, extra salad servers I never really liked, candle stick holders that have never seen a candle, my grandmother's crystal wine glasses that I never use because they don't actually go with any of my dishes, decorative paperweights (why do people still make these things? They serve absolutely no purpose).
It's liberating to say goodbye to things that took up space in my drawers and cabinets, and my imagination, as well as things that were tying me to the past. What are you ready to clear out?