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This is a really long post but it has a happy ending, srsly, thanks, ufyh lady. You're cooler than batman.
So yesterday I cleaned my desk, which had coffee gunk and coins stuck to it:
Conversations with my roommate, redux
- Me: I've made my bed. Unfuck Your Habitat would be proud of me.
- My Roommate: That's one of their things?
- Me: Yep. Make your bed every day.
- Her: No excuses?
- Me: Excuses are boring.
- Her: What if you get abducted by aliens? Or if you join a pirate crew and live on a ship?
- Me: ...I'd imagine you'd have a new bed, in which case you'd still need to make it.
More unfucking my life, in general
Two weeks into the new apartment means I’m two weeks into brushing my teeth twice a day EVERY day; I’m two weeks into keeping all of my flat surfaces clean; I’m two weeks into finally realizing that it really is easier if I would just take that plate to the kitchen right now than it will be if I wait until I’m ready to go to bed, say I’ll do it in the morning, then wake up to dirty dishes everywhere. We’re two weeks without dish mountain. We’re two weeks of doing laundry and putting it away as soon as it’s dry. We’re two weeks without a floordrobe.
Guys. THIS FEELS AMAZING.
Husband is also two weeks into going to the gym. Our old apartment didn’t have one and we didn’t have the funds for a gym membership, but the new apartment has a really nice gym, so he has gone every day except one. I went myself yesterday, and with him today, and am making a goal of going at least three days a week from here on out.
But here’s the real problem: food.
I am severely underweight, and my husband is a little overweight. I eat cheetos and chocolate and pop tarts and various other crap, because it’s the only thing my appetite will consistently accept; that means that our pantry is full of junk food that’s easy for me, but not healthy for either of us.
I gave one of my piano students a little cheat sheet yesterday based on ufyh ideas: two minutes of playing slow, now two minutes of playing staccato, now two minutes of playing in rhythms; this time vary dynamics, now touch, etc; and as soon as you lose focus, take a couple minute break and then come back to it, because 5 focused minutes will be 20 times better than 10 unfocused minutes. I know she practices, but it will be so much easier when it’s literally written out exactly what to do for the next ten minutes. Now she can do ten minutes of solid practice, instead of three minutes of trying to decide what she should work on and seven minutes of fluffy practice.
I need a food cheat sheet. This is where I need help, if anyone in teamufyh (or anywhere else) has any suggestions.
For lunch today, I made a turkey & egg sandwich. It was delicious. Why haven’t I ever thought about that before? Or a grilled cheese? Why do I forget grilled cheese sandwiches exist?
Basically, I want a cheat sheet for easy, not-disgustingly-unhealthy meals. So far, I’ve got an egg sandwich, a grilled cheese sandwich, a burrito… And that’s about where my creativity ends. Can you help me?
Unfucking with Chronic Pain: Tips
- Keep the cleaning supplies you need for each room in the room, so you don’t have to use extra energy to go and get the cleaning supplies. That way if you’re standing in the bathroom and thinking, “The sink is dirty,” you can just pick up a spray bottle of vinegar and spray it down, then wipe. Then you are done for that section, no more.
- I will literally clean one thing in my bathroom every day to keep it manageable. So: toilet bowl, sink bowl, shower (which you can do sitting down if you have a shower chair, extra bonus you can do the tub with your feet), floor (which I just swiffer), doorknob/lightswitches. I may have days where I do nothing and so it takes a little longer, but eventually everything gets cleaned and while it may not all be sparkling at once, usually my bathroom is at least sanitary.
- For making the bed: get rid of the top sheet. I always get tangled in it anyway, it’s one less thing to wash, and it means you only have to arrange the pillows and pull one blanket up to the top of the bed in the morning.
- If you are trying to do laundry and getting laundry out of a top-loading washer or dryer, an occupational therapist told me to lift the opposite leg of the arm that I am reaching in with to avoid hurting my lower back. You don’t have to lift it high, and you can balance on the machine, but this really does wonders for helping save back energy.
- Fold clothes sitting down, preferably near where the clothes are going to go (say, near the dresser).
- Make sure your laundry basket has handles near waist height (or attach it to something with wheels) so you can get it to the laundry without having to physically lift it or bend. If you have stairs, then the laundry will not break, so just throw it down the stairs. Seriously, my doctor suggested this, and just clear the area at the bottom of the stairs and it works wonders. If you drag it, drag it with both arms so you don’t hurt one shoulder.
- For vacuuming (one of my nemeses), try to either (1) bribe a currently able-bodied friend to come and help in return for cookies or something; (2) make sure your machine is light and not one of those super-heavy behemoths; (3) push it with both arms and your body, not with just one arm, or you risk hurting your shoulder.
- When doing dishes, see how many you can slide along the counter versus carrying across the room. Carry them on your arms instead of in your hands. I have also considered getting a wheelie cart for this. Or just using plastic reusable plates (which are much, much lighter), and disposable paper plates on my worst days.
If you have the resources, consider trying to get a prescription to meet with an Occupational Therapist. Their job is to empower you to do the daily tasks you would like to do, but with accommodations you implement. A lot of the above I’ve learned from OTs. (And yes, I know, OTs take insurance and money and those are both hard things to have.) If that is a barrier I’ll try to come up with some more tips.
I don't have a good title for this
The shitstorm that went down last night over UfYH’s fundamentals post really got to me, for several reasons. The fundamentals post is (for me) the single most helpful post in the blog. If I find myself slacking off a bit and need some motivation, I reread the fundamentals. If I find myself stressing out and feeling like I have to do everything now or OMG it’ll never happen, I read the fundamentals. One of these days, I’ll get around to printing it and putting it on my fridge, as well as editing it for my mom’s delicate eyes.
Another thing that bothers me about the whole situation is that I grew up on the receiving end of actualshame and blame tactics when it came to cleaning. A lot of that has stuck with me. For a long time, I had a really negative relationship with anything related to cleaning or maintaining my habitat, and things got ugly. While I don’t suffer from chronic illness, I do have a touch of the ol’ depression and anxiety. UfYH is the only thing that has worked for me so far, in that there’s enough flexibility, understanding, motivation, and most importantly, forgiveness involved in the process. It’s strongly worded enough to cut through the negative feelings I have toward cleaning (and toward myself), but caring enough that I don’t mentally tell it to fuck off while I continue sitting on the couch surrounded by my own filth. It’s taught me the importance of doing small things, and that spending 5 minutes putting things back where they belong can make a huge difference in how your habitat looks and how you feel.
Seeing the negative response to UfYH was particularly ill-timed for me, because I’m going home for a few days. I don’t go home very often, in part because my parent’s habitat is so, so fucked. I’ll be trying to help them unfuck the place while I’m home, but there is so much more than their house that needs to be unfucked. I’m counting on UfYH to keep me sane, at least in regards to the unfucking of the physical habitat. Unfucking their physical habitat, for me at least, represents a starting point and gives me hope that the other stuff can be unfucked somewhere down the line.
I get that a lot of what I just said here might be unique to me, and that there are people for whom the UfYH approach does not work, for any number of reasons. If that’s the case, I encourage you to find something that does work. Everyone has barriers to overcome in order to keep their habitat clean and livable, even those who seem to do it effortlessly, and everyone will approach those barriers differently.
The Great Post-Collegiate Term Unfucking
As you can probably guess, I finally succeeded in Unfucking my Habitat today. The unfucking literally took from the 27th of May to today, June 17th. Why so long, you might ask? Finals got in my way. Stupid, awful, terrible finals, and (as you’ll see from the photos under the cut) my room was totally and royally fucked. I literally had to do a dance in order to get out of my room every day. So, essentially, what you’re about to see is the slow whittling away of room-fuckedness into something that’s actually clean and will remain as such (hopefully).
Without further ado, I bring to you…
i am struggling.
So I am Unfucking my room, and I’m (for once) being real about getting rid of stuff. My closet is impressive; I have a shocking number of hangers, made $5.28, and donated a crapload of stuff to Goodwill.
The problem comes with all the stuff. So. Much. GUILT!!!! I hate knowing that money was spent on me (or by me, let’s be real) and it’s just going to WASTE. I am still donating a ton more to Goodwill, since I have been informed that they take pretty much anything, but eesh. It hurts. Bad.
The worst part is? I don’t even like most of the crap I am getting rid of! I have zero use for it, never have, and I don’t have space for it!
Oy vey…the guilt. The guilt.
I am just trying to remember what PoM said…the money is already spent. Bite the bullet and get rid of it.
Coffee table, before & after
So I had a messy apartment. Then I discovered Unfuck Your Habitat, and worked hard on it, and had a less messy apartment, and lo, it was good. Then I got pretty depressed (again) and had a messy apartment (again). I’m less depressed now, and have more free time to boot, so it’s back to unfucking. I’m trying to ease in slowly, because that way lies sustainable momentum, and also: it’s the weekend. Come on.
So I set my alarm for 20 minutes, and attacked the coffee table:
(with bonus supervisory cat!)
In less than 20 minutes, I had this:
(with a different supervising cat; apparently it was shift-change time.)
And I had enough time left on the clock to gather up something for a return to Radio Shack, put all my shoes and scarves away in the closet, throw away some junk mail, and get myself a glass of ice water as a reward for all that hard work. Yes!