|Matt Paxton, perched on a pile of poop.|
Yeah, I'm a big fan of A&E's Hoarders show, you know... the one where people never throw away anything and have 110 cats and their home is stacked floor-to-ceiling with newspapers and garbage? Often, after a decade or more of hoarding, the electricity and plumbing go out and since no one can get into the house to fix anything, they switch to pooping in adult diapers or 5-gallon buckets. Then those diapers or buckets get added to the piles of trash. Good times!
Maybe the best part of it (besides the mountains of poopy diapers) is Matt Paxton, "extreme cleaning specialist." And it turns out we live in the same city, which is extra cool. :) He's the world's leading expert in shoveling people's poop, and has written a book and has a podcast on top of the TV show to talk about shoveling poop. He's a real inspiration to lazy people like me who don't want to clean their house.
Of course, my messes are a couple of beer bottles on an end table and a plate on the floor that I let the dog lick clean. Sometimes my wife will forget to clean the litter box upstairs and it is double nasty when she cleans it the next day. My kitchen needs dishes put away, and a couple of glasses and a cereal bowl washed, and the microwave wiped out. The houses that Matt cleans up look more like this:
And somehow, Matt doesn't yell and scream at these people even while they are yelling and screaming at him. Hoarders are often trauma survivors, and suffering from some sort of mental disorder like depression or PTSD. So even while Matt is arguing with someone about keeping a sweater with a giant hole in it that's stained with cat and rat poop, he tries to be sensitive to the emotional needs of the hoarder. He's a much nicer guy than I am, believe me.
I'm thinking about all of this because I'm busy cleaning the house. Not that the house is particularly bad, but I'm particularly lazy. This is the first time I've ever lived in a house with an upstairs and downstairs, and I really need a dumbwaiter and a complete second set of cleaning stuff for the upstairs. Carrying the vacuum upstairs is hard work.
I have to clean while my wife is out, because she sucks really bad at it and it pisses me off really badly. It's weird, because it isn't like I'm a neat freak or any better at keeping things clean and neat. The problem is that I have a system, and my wife has no system and won't use mine and it winds up driving me nuts. I work room to room, zone to zone, in two passes. The first pass is all the brute-force work: wash dishes, take out trash, sweep and mop and vacuum, make the bed, do the laundry. If there's any energy left after that, there's a second sweep of cleaning out the fridge, straightening up closets, going though the junk basket in the foyer, tackling the stack of non-essential mail, etc. I will clean two rooms, and check on my wife and she's done half a room and gone through the junk mail and then stopped to pay a bill. Drives me INSANE.
Anyhoo, here's Joe's Plan for Cleaning House today:
- Start at 10AM
- 30 minutes per room/area maximum
- Leftover minutes can be used for breaks or more in-depth cleaning/organizing
- NO POOFTERS!
- Do laundry as I go, so that I don't have a pile of it waiting for me at the end
- Lots of beer at the end... there's some motivation for me!
So, I started at 10AM. I have cleaned the entire upstairs, vacuumed the stairs, and cleaned the foyer including cleaning out the junk baskets. I'm about 45 minutes ahead of schedule right now, and I should get even further ahead, which will give me time to clean out the refrigerator and such. And then the beer... oh precious beer.