How To Deep Clean Your Apartment And Mind
To deep clean your apartment or house, you only need two things: cheap white vinegar and baking soda. That's it! With these two ordinary household ingredients, you will be amazed at what you can get accomplished. You will be amazed at how clean your house feels, and how good you feel. It may not be fun, but let me honest for a second. Why do we spend so much time trying to have fun, anyway? Why can't we take a moment to just do things that are good for us?
This weekend, I wasn't sure what I needed. I’ve been having one of those months (or those years? Those seasons? Those lives?!) where things need to go smoothly or somewhat predictably (even if it's awful) or else I would explode. My very façade--fragile and covered with flammable things like dry shampoo and two dollar nail polish—depended on it. Call me Mr. Glass. Don't call me, actually. Because my phone just broke!
First things first, color me broke. Then color me exhausted. Finally, color me defeated. Or just give me an adult coloring book, I hear it helps with the anxiety!
So what do I do with curveballs? Well, you need to catch em, even if your wrists are flimsy. And here's what I didn't need to do. I didn't need to do what I always do--I'm tired of treating myself constantly, of barraging bad news with expensive smoothies and chocolates and cheap wine. I just need to deal with shit sometimes. I just need to feel like I'm the kind of person who can handle her shit. So what do I do when I don't want to do anything in particular, but I need almost everything in the world?
Well, for me, I cleaned. I put half a mug of vinegar and top it off with water. I ran it through my coffeemaker, then follow it with two full mugs of regular water. It gets rid of lime scale, or lime deposits. It smells like Easter Eggs, or at least like it works.
Listen, I spend a lot of time wading inward at my thoughts and feelings. What I desire. I give myself band-aids and real fixes, whether they be lipsticks or paying off credit card bills. I know the things I can do that make me feel good. I am self-aware as they come, but being self-aware does nothing when you don’t ask yourself an important question:
What do you need in order to handle your life? What do you need that doesn't just make you feel...good?
What I needed was to clean my pans. I had seared something on them recently, and they were stained a bit brown. You wouldn’t believe what fixed this: a cup of water, three tablespoons of baking soda, and half a cup of vinegar. I boil it. I let it cool. And then I scrubbed, almost to the point of wild abandon.
It gets rid of about 10% of the stains. It’s not enough. But it’s progress.
Why did I need to clean my pans?
Because I need that damn progress. I need small little bits of forward movement that give me a sense of accomplishment. I need to walk around with a bottle of grapefruit cleanser like it's a wand. I need to spray things that look dirty. It feels nice. It centers me.
For the most part, we fill our days up with noise. Most of the noise is necessary, like subway rides or keyboard clicks or work-related happy hours or grocery store runs. But a large part of that noise is the noise we think we need—brunch dates or phone calls with friends or nights out or loud movies. Sounds that resemble things that are supposed to make us happy. Sounds that drown out the internal noise. Are we having FUN yet?!
I don't need to always have fun. Sometimes, I need days where I barely have fun at all, and all I can do is just listen to myself and see what I say. Not about what is wrong with me or what I need to improve about my life or situation. No demands, really. Just the quiet hum of my train of thought. Just the sound of..me.
And the sound of me was asking for basic needs I hadn’t met in a long time. It was wondering why the fridge smelled a bit. It wanted to get rid of things---pesto jars, an old tortilla, salsa that smells odd but not bad so I kept it in there anyway. It wanted to spray the drawers, to make things look organized.
To clean the fridge of it’s smell, I put some baking soda and dry coffee grounds with a splash of vanilla in an open container and leave it there overnight. This morning, it smelled great. I was glad I did that, and I was glad I cleaned the pantry. All I really wanted to do was clean the pantry, to open it and have it look nice. All I wanted was quiet things I could easily fix and often forgot: to file my toe nails, to clean a drawer, to sit on the couch, to take a long walk, to fill the ice cube tray, to spray the lid of the garbage can.
Yesterday, I cleaned. Today, I feel prepared. Turns out, all I needed was some baking soda and vinegar. It’s not enough, sure. But...oh, it’s progress.