Clean house therapy

I hate cleaning, but as I didn’t have time to do it during my month-long busy work period, the house was a pigsty by the end of last week.  What’s more, we’ve got people in the house who aren’t us at various points over the next few weeks, so today I just gritted my teeth and got on with it.  The house is clean and tidy now, and I feel so much better for it.

Generally, clutter and mess really depress me, so in an ideal world I would just clean the house once a week in order to keep on top of it and keep my surroundings pleasant and comforting.  However, sometimes there just isn’t the time, and as a result my mood drops, often without me realising why.

Having cleaned, I feel so much better tonight than I have done all week!  I’d feel even better if the house was properly finished in terms of the piles of boxes that are still unpacked, but that’s still a few months away.  One step at a time.

Busy work periods…and how to cope with them

I’m one week into an extremely busy work period at the moment, with one major project plus multiple smaller ones meaning I’m working twelve-hour days, seven days a week.  I have these every so often – it’s just the nature of freelancing – and thankfully it’s never more than a few weeks at a time.  Still, a period like this requires some fairly big coping strategies, and these are the ones I’ve developed:

1. Schedule every last minute

The first thing I always do with a major project is sit down and plot out a schedule for the work up to the deadline, so that I know exactly what will get done when – if I don’t have an idea of this, I find it very stressful.  Sometimes this means that if things take longer than expected, I have to work a bit longer on that particular day, but having plotted everything out means that this is kept to a minimum.

2. Book in some non-negotiable non-work time

By ‘non-negotiable’, I mean things that I can’t back out of.  For this particular project, the busy period happens to coincide with my ongoing mission on this blog to review one Now! compilation a day leading up to 20th July; each review takes me a couple of hours, due to the length of the compilations, so that’s time that I absolutely have to spend doing non-work stuff.  During my last busy work period, which was in October to November, I had NaNoWriMo going on during the latter part, so I had a commitment every day to spend a couple of hours writing fiction.  Writing is nice and relaxing for me, but a less ‘thinky’ non-negotiable thing might be meeting up with friends, such as for the birthday afternoon tea I’m going to in a couple of weeks’ time, or some ‘me time’, such as the vintage fair I’m going to on Sunday (my first vintage fair trip since the house move!  I can’t wait!), or a scheduled class that I pay for every week, such as Slimming World or my Pilates class.  I’m also having to make running a non-negotiable during this particular busy work period, otherwise I’ll struggle with the Sunderland 10k in a few weeks’ time!

3. Postpone all non-essentials

When I’m working twelve-hour work days, other than sleeping, eating and keeping myself clean and presentable, I only have time for work and the scheduled non-negotiables I described above.  Everything else gets shunted to ‘afterwards’.  This generally includes cleaning the house, catching up with TV and the music charts, and, for this particular period, the ongoing project of sorting out the new house.  It just means I will be doing all that stuff with a renewed appreciation when the work period is over!

4. Book in cooking and sleeping time

During a busy work period, looking after myself often takes a back seat.  It’s simply not possible to get as much sleep as I usually would, as I have to be up at the crack of dawn every day to start work, but I make sure I’m at least getting six hours a night.  Similarly, I need to schedule my food preparation time, otherwise I’ll end up just grabbing something unhealthy and feeling worse for it.

These periods are always a bit of a slog, but they are manageable.  Obviously it would be nice if they’d balance out a bit better with the weeks where I don’t have any work at all, but the benefits of being a freelancer are absolutely worth it for me!

Another cleaning update

Cleaning is done!  Finishing it took all day though.  I’ve also boxed up all our remaining stuff for the van people coming tomorrow.  After that, it’s just a few things to finish off on Wednesday, and then we’ll be fully moved out of our old house.  Scary, exciting and also kind of sad – I am going to miss this place.

I will be throwing myself into the enormous project that is the new house though.  I’m not sure I’ll get much else done this year!

Cleaning the old house…

The moving process is progressing smoothly!  Even if I am still having occasional panic attacks about OH GOD BUT ALL THE STUFF.

We started the cleaning of our old house today.  It’s amazing how much easier a place is to clean when it’s empty.  We should be done with that by the end of tomorrow and then the carpet cleaning specialist will be arriving on Wednesday to finish off the job.

The original plan was to hire a car to get the rest of our stuff over to the new place, but of course it’s forecast to snow heavily on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Of course it is.  I’m not super confident about driving at the moment as I’m out of practice, and I really don’t want to drive in the snow, so we’ve decided to hire a man with a van and get it all done in one go Tuesday lunchtime before the snow really hits.  After that, it’s just the wi-fi and phone connection stuff to pick up (we can’t get connected at the new place until Friday, so we’re eking out our internet access at the old place for as long as possible).

I’m going to be cooking in the new kitchen for the first time tonight, and then write down my plan for how the storage is all going to work.  The amount of work the new place needs is still pretty daunting, but I’m starting to feel a bit more positive about it.