The laundry room serves several purposes. First it is the, um, laundry room. It isn't big enough to store anything more than the active laundry, but I need places to collect dirty kitchen towels and cleaning rags and store laundry sundries.** It is also the most easily accessible bathroom for guests. It is also home to a bookcase that stores most of the arts and craft supplies, the kitchen tablecloths, and some books.
I jumped into the cleaning on a whim. I'm not sure what happened. I started picking collected junk off the dryer and then before I knew it, I was outside spraying bins out with the hose. Because of the unforeseen nature of the cleaning job, I don't have any true before pictures. But here are a few kinda before pictures:
The machines didn't take all that long. I wiped up the collection of sticky, congealed laundry detergent and the lint. I cleaned out all the bins, some of which had wandered to the garage, with soap and the garden hose. Why the garden hose? Well, the reason the bins fell out of use is that we had a mouse. Mice poop. The bins were moved, but not cleaned. Disaster ensued. The laundry area, spiffied up:
After the laundry area was complete, I turned to the disaster of the bookcase. So much stuff crammed in there. So little room for sorting.
I broke down science and craft kits. Please, people, no more kiddie kits from Target. I tested markers. I sorted crayons. Why is it hard to throw away broken crayons? The problem with purging and organizing is that success is defined by forcing myself to go against my natural inclinations. There must be something to be done with crayon bits, right? No. No, there's not.
Here are my bags of collected beeswax Advent candles. I am going to meltdown and repour those candles one fine day. It might be years from now, but it will happen.
Let's dissect the above picture. This is me sitting on the floor between the toilet, a stool, the sink, the bookcase, and a trash bag sorting a variety of objects with Ella asleep on my back while I listen to a podcast. Both of my legs are asleep in this picture and I am in no small agony. Nevertheless I persisted.
After 2.5 days of work and a 13 gallon trash bag crammed full, the clouds parted, angels sung, and my laundry room was again functional. Nothing will crash onto your head when you take something off the bookcase.
I moved the loose leaf school paper into a bin and the drawing paper into a bin. The construction paper, which has always had its own box, was moved back onto the bookcase. I consolidated most of the kits into quart freezer bags inside a different bin. There is a crayon box, a chalk box, a marker box, and a colored pencil box. Long may they all be separated. There is even enough room, I think, to move some remnants of art supplies that are in the closet under the stairs to this bookcase. If this is true, it will be amazing.
As for the housekeeping portion of the bookcase, I need to buy another bin to put the tablecloths. This bin will live underneath the school paper bin. I also need to take the sides off of those two clementine crates on the shelf. One of those crates will hold clean handtowels for easy replacement in this bathroom. The other will hold clean rags for cleaning this bathroom. This system is going to work great!
(A small lament for clementine boxes. Where have they gone? It's been several years since I have found them in the grocery. They have been pushed out by those upstart California Cuties, which come in a stupid plastic mesh bag. Has anyone seen any genuine Spanish Clementines lately?)
My next task will be to clean this bathroom--I mean disinfect clean, not organize clean--and then clean the upstairs bathroom. After these two bathrooms are clean, my dear children will have a daily bathroom job so that maybe we will never be embarrassed by dirty bathrooms again.
After the bathrooms are set up, I will return to the toy purge. And then ?probably? my bedroom. I have two solid weeks for cleaning. Then I will take a week on the kitchen, hoping a week is all it takes. Then I will plan out the school year. It's going to happen.
**I love the word sundry. It aptly describes so much in this house.