Spring cleaning

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Back when I was heavier, whenever I had a stressful day at school or work (or sometimes both at the same time), I would go straight home and immediately open the refrigerator door. Without thinking, I would methodically shovel food into my mouthchips, cheese, cookies, pudding or other equally delicious, unhealthy thingsand feel my tension start to dissipate (or just get distracted) as my mouth worked furiously to get the snacks from the packaging and into my stomach. Within minutes, an embarrassing amount of food was gone and I didn't feel much better, only fatter and ashamed. I was definitely a stress eater.

Now that I've picked up running again and dedicated far more time and energy to it then I did in high school, pounding out miles on the treadmill or pavement has been the best tool to relieve a whole myriad of icky feelings from stress to anxiety and even at times, depression. It's a much healthier alternative to eating my feelings and the endorphin rush is always far more satisfying than any amount of sugar or carbs (unless there are waffles involved, in which case, all bets are off).

It had been at least 2 years since I came home from work and binged, so it wasn't a bigger surprise to anyone but me when I found myself staring out our kitchen window while I robotically scooped handfuls of off-brand Fruit Loops into my face. Before I realized what I was doing, half of the box was gone and I felt like a hot mess. With far more regret than I care to mention, I all but dropped the box of cereal on the table and took a few cautious steps away from the empty calories. I refused to repeat this cycle ever again and wasted no time running upstairs to grab my sneakers and head outside. I was going to relieve my stress a better way.

Unfortunately for me, I pushed my body too hard on both my long and recovery runs this weekend and had very little energy to complete 4 miles (that and I was probably stuffed to the gills with fruity cereal pieces). When my GPS application chimed in at the completion of my third mile, I started walking, sweat pouring down my face and into my eyes. My muscles were tight, my stomach was full, and my body just wasn't having any part of one more mile. Tears started streaming down my face because I was frustrated and disappointed in myself. I forced my unwilling body to run one more half mile, and then called it quits. Endorphins were nowhere to be found ...

So I spent the better part of my evening unsettled and pacing around our house trying to figure out what I could do to make up for yet another shoddy run and the unresolved stress weighing on my shoulders. While I was making laps in the kitchen and debating on what to make for dinner, I suddenly had the bright idea to reorganize the pantry. Our teeny tiny pantry gets overwhelmed very easily and the extra shelves Clayton built for me are no match for the flood of kitchen appliances and products that I like to hoard in anticipation of my future house. In the same methodical way I destroyed that box of cereal earlier, I emptied our pantry and tossed away tons of unwanted and unneeded items.

Joey's always an integral part of the cleaning process.

After I was done wreaking havoc in the kitchen, I moved on to our hallway closet that was teeming with literally boxes of junk that hadn't been unpacked since the day we moved in. Clay's and my philosophy was simple, "As long as we keep the closet door shut, we don't have to deal with the problem. Out of sight, out of mind." However, our plan to ignore the un-ignorable totally backfired because that's the same closet we keep our vacuum cleaner in. Now, I'm a woman who loves me some nice, straight vacuumed lines on a freshly cleaned carpet, so I venture into that closet quite often and am reminded how bad it is several times a week. But last night, enough was enough.

Apparently when I get stressed, I also like to clean.

And thank goodness, too, because there are fewer things that help me relax more than getting rid of clutter. Clutter. My gosh, I detest clutter. Over the past several years I've made it a personal mission to purge myself of all the unnecessary and I feel claustrophobic if I'm surrounded by too much "stuff". After less than an hour of work, I felt unbelievable waves of satisfaction as I looked at the 5, count them FIVE, boxes full of stuff that I moved to our outside stoop. Clay graciously offered to drop them off at Goodwill and the second the boxes disappeared down the road, I was almost weak with relief.

How did we have so much stuff!?

Another awesome benefit of marathon cleaning sessions? Sometimes you find things you completely forgot you had. Case in point: When I got to the bowels of our hallway closet, I found a piece of wall decor that I honest-to-goodness thought I pitched during the move last fall. Since I got some new art work for our kitchen area, I must have figured I didn't need it, but also didn't want to part ways in fear it could one day be used elsewhere. Well guess what? It totally matches my dining room "theme" and was just what one of our bare walls needed. So, after living in this town home for almost six months, our dining room is finally completed.

The best view of the room I could get. Doesn't show everything!

So, if you ever want me to come organize your house, I'm like, totally available.

You can pay me in Fruit Loops.

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4 comments

  1. I love reading your blog. It's very real, honest, and at times embarrassing (which ups the real factor, and trust me a LOT of us relate). It's witty, and fun. I just love it. Makes me laugh every time.

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    1. That's so sweet of you, Brandy. Thank you! Ya know, I want to be a writer so bad and I want nothing more than to be an honest, genuine writer. I love writing just because I love doing it for myself, but I can't even begin to explain how much joy I feel when I find out that other people not only read my blog, but they find it relatable. :)

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  2. I love those chairs? Mid-century modern?

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    1. Thank you! This table was actually my husband's grandmother's. I think my hubby said the table was purchased in the 60s. It's really neat and we feel very fortunate to have something of hers to keep! I'm not crazy about the pattern on the chair cushions, but it's something I could easily update on my own. :)

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