There are two animals in my house: Rupert (my cat) and Rory (our smallish terrier-mutt). They play together like old friends, but sometimes Rupert lets his cat intellect shine through and it is glorious.
Recently, Rupert went about tricking Rory into doing something she generally does not like to do. Like many dogs, Rory is crate-trained. When everyone leaves the house, she hangs out in her crate so as to not destroy the house via trash-chewing and peeing. Rory doesn’t often go into her crate because with three of us there’s usually someone home to monitor her behavior. When she does get put in her crate there’s a fair amount of protesting involved. Rupert noticed this at some point, and made it a priority to store this information in his tiny (but capable) kitty brain.
In the course of playing with Rory, Rupert sauntered over to her crate and took a step or two inside, pausing to look back at Rory. Immediately intrigued, Rory pranced over and shoved Rupert aside as she forced her way all the way into her crate.
What happened next is what really takes the cake.
Rather than just slinking away, Rupert turned around, nudged the door of the crate closed and slowly walked to the other room, pausing ever so briefly to look back at a very surprised Rory.
This isn’t the first time he’s managed to outsmart the dog (or even my housemates). I just wonder when Rupert will manage to outsmart me.
Some time ago, I started following a lovely little blog called Unfuck Your Habitat. It’s a blog for REAL people - not the Mini-Martha Stewarts of the world - who might need a little (or a lot) help to get their domiciles in order.
I ADORE this blog. It has single-handedly changed my life.
Like many people, I am not the cleanest person in the world. I’ve used every excuse in the book - I’ve been too busy, too tired, too sick, too sad, too overwhelmed, too poor, and too stupid to clean. I’ve tried to tell myself that I’m just a “messy” person, that it’s okay to be cluttered if the common areas of the house were clean, that the time it would take to clean was more time than I could spare, and that my mess was simply organized chaos and my brain actually worked better that way.
When I moved out of my mom’s house (always impeccably clean, except for my bedroom) and into the comfortably cluttered houses of my next two roommates, I dug in my heels even more. If my roommates were this cluttered, then certainly my clutter was normal and expected! I further justified my mess by saying I was merely cluttered - I never left dishes or food sitting out, and I dusted and vacuumed as often as my clutter would allow (often moving everything around my room as I did so).
My thinking began to unravel when I realized that I was spending a ton of money eating out because I never cooked. I never cooked because my kitchen was never clean. The mess was never mine - after all, I never cooked - so I never made any effort to clean it up. Maybe my mom’s ways had rubbed off on me more than I thought. Her kitchen was always sparkling and spotless, and it felt like a natural place to prep food. Her floors were clean enough to serve pie on, and she rarely let drying dishes sit on the counter for longer than an hour or so. Whether I liked it or not, I got used to preparing food under those standards, and I felt icky preparing food anywhere else.
It was some time after that realization that I found UFYH. I wish I could say that I changed overnight, but I didn’t. There were times that I looked at the before and after posts and thought, “I can’t do that.” I still had things to unpack, I didn’t have enough space, I would have a hard time parting with items, etc. I did start making an effort to leave the kitchen clean every night, though, and that was a step in the right direction.
As I type this post, I look around my room and see empty spaces. Is there still some clutter? Sure, but I’ll deal with that when I take another work break or just before I go to bed. Tonight I will sleep in the middle of my bed, as I do now that I don’t have to shove aside clothes and books to make space for my body. Tomorrow morning I will not worry about losing valuable time looking for keys, computer chargers, or any other work essentials because they’re all sitting in THEIR spots, ready to go for the day. My toilet will get cleaned tonight while I color my hair, my sink will get wiped down as I brush my teeth, and my kitchen will get tidied as I get a glass of water before bed.
These practices became habits by internalizing the tips and messaging of the UFYH blog. It didn’t happen overnight - I found this blog almost two years ago, and these habits only solidified themselves over the last 12 months, but it did happen. It can happen for you, too.
Do what you can when you can. Try to dedicate a small amount of time each day - do as much as you can if 20 minutes is too much - to loving yourself through the act of tidying something. There are still days when I don’t really feel like loving myself very much, and on those days I will sometimes sulk through three episodes of the West Wing before I can muster up the courage (and yes, it is courageous!) to tidy a small amount of clutter.
I’m grateful for this blog, I’m grateful for the app, and I’m grateful for the community of messy people just like me who sometimes struggle with cleanliness. I highly recommend that anyone who’s ever struggled with clutter, messiness, or organization follow this blog. Maybe it will change your life, too.
He’s back! Welcome back, calming cat. You are always welcome here.
Everyone should know of calming cat.
this is the thing that you have to tag because you’ll have to wait 8264589672 years to find it again
Where is this from? Anyone know?
His name is “Killer Mike” and this was on Adult Swim. Yes, an insane amount of googling just found that because I’d also like to have this up my sleeve for the classroom, too. Here’s the video! :]