How not to clean your apartment

It is not Spring, and yet: you are overwhelmed by a sort of Cleaning Demon – the kind that stirs you up into a frenzy, but instead of spinning around and speaking in tongues, you decide ALL OF YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS MUST BE CLEANED OUT AND REARRANGED AND REORGANIZED RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE and here you are, sitting in the middle of your kitchen floor, weeping into a half-empty box of Krispy crackers, cussing and screaming and contemplating paying cash money to someone else to fix this fucking mess. Seriously, how did this happen? What the hell? How the fuck did I get myself into this?

How did the fuck you get yourself into this?*

You’ve got dreams, kid. Plans and dreams and hopes and desires for one of those hyper-organized, super-sleek-n-clean spaces you see in the blogs and on the magazines. And you can do it, you know you can! You just need to start from scratch. And to start from scratch, you must first trash your home.

Oh, you don’t actually think in those particular terms. But you’re daydreaming about the Big Picture here, and in order to accomplish this [horrifically far-fetched] goal, you must completely undo everything you’ve ever done to organize (and otherwise make livable) your apartment. It’s pathological Outside The Box thinking, except you’re so swept up in your Big Ideas you can’t even see that the box was perfectly fine in the first place, dipshit, why are you making so much extra work for yourself?

So maybe you start with the kitchen. You, who spend two hours a day on Pinterest, are convinced that the food and dish storage system you’ve used for the previous ten years no longer works. With absolute clarity, you come to realize you’ve been wrong this entire time, and you cannot fucking believe you kept your cereal on top of the fridge and your dishtowels in a drawer. By now, the Cleaning Demon is more like an amoeba invading your brain and eating holes in the places where rational thought used to be. And it makes ABSOLUTE PERFECT SENSE to take EVERY DISH AND KITCHEN ACCESSORY YOU OWN out of its original place and pile it up on the counter, gypsy-caravan-style. This makes the re-organizing process easier, you allow yourself to think.

Your Big Ideas keep flooding in, most likely though the amoeba-chewed holes in your gray matter, and now you’ve got just the most awesome idea ever for storing cereal bowls and cereal in the same cabinet, with a cute little scrapbook paper-covered box to hold spoons.

But you should probably go make that spoon box while you’re thinking about it. Give the Mod Podge time to dry while you’re sorting and alphabetizing your canned goods, you know.

So after foam-brushing your cares away you return to the kitchen, but notice the initial energy with which you approached this project is beginning to wane. No worries- let’s move onto the refrigerator for now; I can come back to the cabinets after I sanitize all the shelves and organize my produce into color-coded bins.

But you need to borrow your mother’s labelmaker in order to complete this stage in the process, so off you go to your parents’ house. And it would be rude to not stay and visit, right? Plus the game is on, and Dad just bought some beers he can’t wait for you to try.

By the time you get back to your apartment, you’ve forgotten about your “project”. And you enter the kitchen, turn on the light, and a feeling of dread like you’ve not experienced before overwhelms you. You turn off the light, leave the kitchen, and go watch some television.

But you cannot concentrate on this game of Family Feud. Your kitchen calls to you, a voice echoing thorough your hole-y brain: you’re not finished…you’re not finished… And you sigh, and turn off Steve Harvey mid-innuendo, and trudge back into the war zone.

You survey the destruction. You do not remember emptying out all of the cabinets…and why did you unfold all of the dish towels? Did they really need to be refolded? And who the fuck alphabetizes their canned goods, anyway? Oh, and the spoons are too long for this stupid spoon box, what the hell? WHY DID I NOT MEASURE THIS FIRST? And WHOSE IDEA WAS ANY OF THIS? you demand, realizing too late you’re speaking aloud. To no one.

The craft beer has made you hungry, but you can’t locate the mac n’ cheese for which you so desperately long. It doesn’t matter, anyway; you can’t remember where you put the measuring cups. Or your saucepans. Or your stove.

Defeated and deflated, you sink to the floor, amid empty boxes that were once perfectly-fine receptacles for your cereal bars and croutons – before you decided they needed to be re-placed into matching decorative containers. You are overwhelmed, and angry, and sad, and so very hungry. You eat half a sleeve of saltines, choking on carbohydrates and your own tears.

It didn’t have to end this way, friend. You could have left well enough alone. Do you remember your carefree days? When spoons fit in silverware trays and the toaster was just fine sitting out there on the counter like that? You can never go back there, dear reader, but you can serve as a warning to others:

The next time you are overwhelmed by a desire to clean, distract yourself with some Family Feud.

Survey says: you can thank me later.


*Syntax be damned; I just wanted to keep the “fuck” in that sentence. Also, I just typed that sentence. Boom.


3 thoughts on “How not to clean your apartment

  1. michelle says:

    Story. Of. My. Life.

  2. renagadeace says:

    That… was a phenomenal piece of writing 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. theotherjulie says:


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