Round 2

Yes, it’s round 2 of the fling-along, and today I encourage you to throw in the towel!

Towel Day - Dont Panic - Douglas Adams - The Hitchhikers Guide to the GalaxyWhich is to say, today we are going to look at rooms involving towels, i.e. water-related rooms: the bathroom, kitchen and laundry. More than look at them, we are going to leap on them unawares and rifle through their pockets for loose stuff. Beginning with the bathroom.

Depending on your personality, worldview etc, your bathroom may be crowded with every cosmetic aid known to man (or woman), or it might be home to nothing more cluttery than a stash of toilet paper. Whatever the case, it’s worth going through the room – flat surfaces as well as storage spaces – to see if there’s anything that can be dispensed with. Bottles of hair stuff you know you’re never going to finish, expired medications from the medicine kit – whatever it is, biff it out.

If you finish under 15 minutes, you qualify for the next round can have a rummage through the linen cupboard or wherever you keep your towels, flannels etc and fling out anything that is no longer of use. Tip: flannels make great rags, and towels no longer fit for human consumption can be used to dry off wet pets as they come in from the great outdoors (or donated to an animal shelter for bedding).

Happy Towel Day By Bianca the Cat 1Ready with a timer? Fifteen minutes: on your marks, get set – go!

I thought our bathroom was pretty clutter-free, but I came away with two old mostly-empty perfume bottles, one sunblock ditto, a comb (bought as part of a set and surplus to requirements), three expired medications and a couple of pieces of recycling, including an empty liquid soap dispenser. Also a bathmat from my fossick through the linen cupboard, itself recently denuded of two single sheets, two single duvets, a duvet-cover with matching pillowcase and a single electric blanket. (We have no single bed.) Score: call it 6.

Next up: the kitchen. Again, it depends on what kind of person you are whether you can immediately think of half a dozen things in your cupboards you don’t need, or would be hard-put to it to think of a single thing in your kitchen that you don’t use. If you find yourself with time to spare, have a look through your pantry for items past their use-by date (not to be confused with the best-before date), bulging tins, groves of leafy potatoes etc etc.

Messy kitchenOr you may find that you can spend fifteen minutes just clearing off the benches. Like me. (Blush.) I collected a stack of recycling, put a few things away, and put a few more things in the bin. To donate: one squeezy bottle, one bud vase (originally a salt shaker) and a pair of salt-and-pepper shakers (once emptied of ageing contents). I also need to decide what to do with a large bottle of fish sauce which has passed its date but a) is still unopened and b) contains about as much salt as the laws of chemistry permit a liquid to do. Call it 4, running total 10. Decidedly, I will be spending more fifteen minuteses in the kitchen over the next few days!

Last up, the laundry. You may not have a separate laundry – it may be part of your kitchen, or your bathroom, or the business down the road. (Try not to declutter a laundromat unless you own it – may easily lead to misunderstandings.) It may be a cupboard just large enough for a washer (and maybe dryer) or it may be a hangar of a lumber-room which happens to have a washer in it (somewhere…). If nothing else comes to hand, you can always clean out the lint trap and fish the half-pegs out of the peg-bag/basket/apron.

Ready? Allons-y!

Where is the Vim? Project 3665(2) Day 50Result: some recycling (including a quantity of batteries waiting to be taken for a trip), some rubbish (including a bag of things I sorted out the last time I cleared out the laundry – you should have seen it when I started!), and a remarkable number of things not in their proper places. (What is it with pegs??) Also a number of items which I not only do not want or use, but cannot even identify – possibly from earlier ages of the house. There were a few things which could be donated: a placemat, a sock hanger, a medicine-measuring cup, and a small assortment of toy mice.

Call it 6 again; running total 16 – thus beating last week’s record by 3 items! Should I go with the Olympic theme and say PR? I’d take a lap of honour, but my cup of tea isn’t big enough. On the other hand, I still haven’t dealt with all the things which I purged last week (the shame!) so perhaps I should postpone the victorious cuppa until those are out of the way – and there’s a motive if ever there was one!

Do feel free to share your own progress, PRs or problems (what do I do with the fish sauce?) in the comments. See you again next week for the third and last round!

Surface Area

Two questions for you this week. Let’s start with the easy one: what do you call this?

Butcher block counter top
A benchtop? Countertop? Worktop? Something else entirely? What if it’s in the bathroom – or even the laundry?

Now here’s the tough question: how much of their surface area is unintentionally covered? Be brave: your answer can’t be worse than mine!

Bathroom: three square feet, about one intentionally covered, none unintentionally. Two bare, so
3 : 1 / 0 / 2

Laundry: about one square foot of actual bench – totally covered, but mostly with things which are used right there – and about six square feet of table, which is half covered in a cat lair (intentional) and half covered in gosh-we-should-do-something-with-that (totally unintentional).
7 : 3.5 / 3.5 / 0

Kitchen counter covered in junk mail
The kitchen (oh, the shame!) has three benches, one about 16 square feet half-covered (ok, all-covered, but half’s intentional), one about 9 square feet with 1/10 clutter (if you don’t count the day’s dishes waiting to be washed), and two of about 2 square feet, one half-cluttered and one tolerably full but with no clutter (tea-making space: sacrosanct). That doesn’t include the draining board, which seldom has anything but drying dishes on it.
29 : 11 / 10 / 8 (if dishes recently washed)

A grand total (oh, I can’t look) of 39 square feet of bench space in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry combined, with 15.5 intentionally covered, 13.5 unintentionally covered, and up to 10 free for use – up to 7 of which may be covered in dishes, depending on the time of day.

Ouch. I’d never realized before that with the exception of the bathroom bench – and not even all of that – there is no habitually clear bench space in my house. And I have the lurking suspicion that if I removed the intentional covering, the unintentional would take its place as the night the day (only faster).

So what are your numbers? Share in the comments and give me something to shoot for!

Woman in kitchen, 1939

Put It All Away

Boho Modern 7
“This is terrific. What a gorgeous kitchen. You’ve decorated it so beautifully. Now you’re going to have to clear all the counters. Vases. Books. Knickknacks. Get rid of all that stuff. I mean, it is just beautiful. Beautiful. I love what you’ve done with this house. Make sure you put it all away.”
Real estate agent in Slow Love: How I Lost my Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness by Dominique Browning