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Weekend Update: Cleaning Machine

j0438032We’ve been attacked by cave crickets.  They’re striped grey/brown critters that can get as large as cockroaches and begin as tiny as an eyelash.  Since we live in a basement apartment and because of the warmer and rainy weather, they’re everywhere.

Crickets are rather startling at night.

Last fall, we had an exterminator use a “natural” pesticide treatment.  It was mostly a concentrated concoction of peppermint and rosemary essential oils.  That treatment was effective for about a week.  However, the number of pests has increased significantly this season, and we decided it was time to try something a little more potent and longer lasting.

In order to bug bomb the apartment, we had to make a few preparations:

  • We put all of the clothes that were not protected in drawers on top of the bed and covered them with blankets and sheets (made for less post-pesticide laundry for me)
  • We had to put our dish drying rack, knives, and any other kitchen stuff inside the dishwasher or cabinets.
  • We needed to get rid of Calvin (I didn’t know how else to entertain him or get him out of harm’s way when it was time to clean up after the bug bomb had done its thing).

We got a call from Steve’s parents letting us know they’d arrive on Friday afternoon for a weekend visit.

Perfect timing.

They were dying to visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello for the family tours and plantation days, and they wanted to bring Calvin along with them.

Saturday morning, we all went to the City Market to taste, hear, and smell all the local foods, music, arts, and crafts from around the area.  By 9am, we said goodbye to our son who headed off to more fun with his grandparents.

Steve and I dashed home to prep the apartment for bug neurotoxin.  When the 2 hour wait period had passed, we descended on to twitching crickets, earwigs, spiders, pill bugs, and other critters that I just couldn’t identify.

We opened the only 3 windows in the apartment and turned on the fans and air purifier to remove as much of the toxic air as possible.  Then, we got busy vacuuming, mopping, and wiping down almost every surface area.  I also did about 8 loads of laundry.

Since we launched into such indepth cleaning, I started putting things away, and thowing out things or recycling stuff that just didn’t have a place in our small abode.

Steve built a clothing rack in our bedroom that sticks out from inset bookshelves.  We finally had a place to hang up our clothes, instead of cramming 3 people’s clothes into one tiny wardrobe closet.  I was able to reorganize shelves and move ALL of Calvin’s things into the wardrobe in his room.

I can actually locate the shirts separate from shorts.  Everything was previously folded and stuffed into a giant basket inside the wardrobe.  I love that I can see everything in their hanging shelves.  The only thing in a basket are his cloth diapers.

Since I reorganized one wardrobe and another “closet”, well then I had to reorganize all the bookshelves, the baker’s rack, our desk, and all the drawers in the apartment.

Calvin and his grandparents came back in the middle of the afternoon, but I was elbow-deep in sorting through books and papers on our desk.  Calvin had run them plumb tired, and he only fell asleep on the drive home (he’d been awake and running full board since 6 AM).  As soon as he got home, he took a 3 hour nap, and was cranky tired the rest of the evening.

However, we got our mission accomplished.  We eradicated most of the 6- and 8-legged pests, and we cleaned and reorganized 90% of the apartment.  I still have a couple other organization projects to tackle next weekend, but with this much neat and clean space, I feel like I could take on anything.

With 5 moves in one year, I didn’t get much opportunity to settle into one place let alone unpack enough things to get organized.  There’s something therapeutic and uplifting to throw out old and useless things, clean with a frenzy, and find new and fresh space in which to be creative and resourceful.  It’s been two years since I’ve had the chance to do a project like we did this weekend.  I used to clean or organize like that at least once a month.  Yes, that was before I had a baby.

Your turn:

When you clean one thing, do you suddenly turn the house upside-down organizing and cleaning everything else in sight?  Do you do this seasonally, or just when the bug hits?

What’s been your latest home project?


If you’d like a mom’s perspective on bringing small children to Monticello, check out my review on Tuesday Travels.

–Dr. Dolly
Twitter me: drdolly

One Response

  1. I follow FlyLady’s rule: do everything in 15-minute bursts. She is big on home organization and doing it all in bite-sized pieces. But I truly, truly admire you for sticking with it for so long…I’d have laid down with C and taken a nap myself!

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