Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hoarding in the Office

I caught this article at the Huffington Post. I've been frustrated with my job since taking it, and while I love the work, my supervisor makes it difficult to remember that through all the stress.

How to Keep Your Job From Killing You

Flickr: Sladey

1. Stop Hoarding
OK, so desk clutter may not be killing you, but it certainly is killing your work. In fact, a cluttered workspace can significantly hinder your productivity and mental clarity, according to organizing guru Nancy Castelli, founder of Balance.

"Clutter is self-inflicted stress," Castelli says. "You waste time looking for something, then waste more time reproducing it because you couldn't find it."

Now that only one in 10 people take an actual lunch break, you can bet that desk clutter includes a banana peel or two as well. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, says a desk has 400 times more germs than a toilet seat.

Castelli recommends following a popular organizing acronym:
S- Sort
P- Purge
A- Assign a space
C- Containerize
E- Energize

Read more about this article at the Huffington Post.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

On A Lighter Note

How I wish this woman lived in my mother's home town...I wonder if she travels much.

Ohio 'cleaning fairy' pleads to criminal charge

Friday November 2, 2012 7:45 AM
WESTLAKE, Ohio (AP) — A woman dubbed the "cleaning fairy" has pleaded guilty to attempted burglary in northeastern Ohio.
The (Elyria) Chronicle-Telegram (http://bit.ly/VG9X0B ) says Susan Warren got the nickname after breaking into a home west of Cleveland, cleaning it and leaving a bill for $75.
Warren pleaded guilty this week to attempted burglary and will be sentenced later.
The 53-year-old Warren told authorities that she was driving by the house and "wanted something to do." She broke in, washed some coffee cups, took out the trash, vacuumed and dusted inside the house. Then she left a bill written on a napkin that included her phone number.
Warren said that she owns a cleaning business and sometimes enters homes, cleans them and leaves a bill.
She has another burglary case pending, but circumstances weren't clear.
Information from: The Chronicle-Telegram, http://www.chronicletelegram.com
©2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tis' the Season & Three Day Weekend

The past few weeks, the boyfriend has had pretty bad allergies, and been catching more colds than normal, even for the season. The weirdest part is, I haven't caught most of his colds. We knew he had seasonal allergies, the worst being early spring when things are in blossom, and late fall until the first really good frost. When he lived at home with his parents and sister, they had cats and never reacted to them until he moved out. His mother is encouraging him to do the allergy shots so he made an appointment with the allergist.

The Results:
  • Grass Pollens
    Allergic to all of it, but mildly
  • Weed Pollens
    Allergic to everything but something called "Firebush" ...heh.
  • Tree Pollens
    Allergic to everything but Pine, Maple and Box Elder among the worst
  • Fungi
    These were all 0s so I'm not sure if he didn't react, or if these weren't tested
  • Inhalants
    Dust Mites, cockroaches and cats = very allergic (didn't react to the dog test here)
  • Intradermal tests
    Very allergic to dust mites, mold, aspergillus (climate specific fungi), and dog.

Needless to say, I panicked a bit. I know he's been suffering, but we didn't really know why. And this is all on top of the fact that he had 48 needles jabbed into his back and arms to test for all these.

Work has been stressful lately, so I welcomed the excuse to take a three day weekend to address the condo. The boyfriend's appointment was Wednesday, and Thursday I went home early (experiencing some of the symptoms of a cold) and decided to sweat through the cold and clean the house. Especially important for allergy sufferers, is to not be present during deep cleaning, or to wear a face mask. This seemed a little much at first, because it almost guarantees that I'll be doing all the cleaning now. At the same time, I don't really clean on a regular basis unless I'm bored or procrastinating on something else.

The first thing I did was wipe down all the dust traps I could think of with a damp papertowel. This is the tray under the coffee table that usually holds magazines, cardboard coasters, playing cards, tissues, and other random things. I wiped it all down and put things away that were collecting excessive dust.

So, clean I did. Thursday evening I did some research into how to clean for a household with allergies
The Mayo Clinic had some general advice that calmed me down and convinced me that this is possible, however, some things are not practical for us at the moment. We rent, so ripping out carpet and refinishing or installing wood floors is not an option, and I have a dog, so...

We've lived together for a year and a half, and the entire five years we've been dating I have had my dog, Kaiser (he's 6 and I've had him since high school.) He has been some of the best birth control, because caring for a dog is stressful when you want to travel, have nice things, not have to go out in the snow in your robe, winter coat, and snow boots so it can poop. The next place we move to will likely not allow pets or be big enough to have one, and I'm doing my best to come to terms with this. I will have to re-home him, however, I don't know anyone who really wants a 6 year old dog with anxiety issues. Now that we know the boyfriend is allergic, I'll definitely have to do something by the time we move next summer. It's a shame, and I feel incredibly guilty about it, but I also know the dog isn't happy cooped up in apartments, and the boyfriend isn't happy with hair everywhere and allergies.

At this point, I stumbled upon a wonderfully entertaining and educational show from the BBC called "How Clean is Your House?" Here is online content for those of us not in the UK

Back to cleaning. There was a bed-sized pile of laundry that we had been avoiding for a few days, and I decided to tackle that next. After I started putting all the clean clothes I got distracted and pulled out two storage boxes to go through. One holds a bunch of African masks that were gifted to me. They don't match our decor or style, and I'm supposed to be researching a place to sell them but have been putting it off. The other box had random crafts and "stuff" I didn't have a home or specific purpose for.
I really should start making an effort to use my real camera instead of my iPhone. Here is a classic example of how easily distracted I get when working on my own. I'm still being productive, just not efficient. The upper right lump are the boyfriend's clean clothes that need to be hung, my pile is in the lower right corner. The junk in the middle of the bed are things I picked out of the box-of-random that I could part with. I also added the black felt (velour?) secretary box from my nightstand. It was useful when I had it on my desk in the past, but since we moved here it's been on my nightstand and when I really looked at it, there was a thick layer of dust coating the whole thing. I felt pretty guilty thinking that might be the reason the boyfriend felt awful every morning. I wiped it down and added it to he goodwill pile.

Get this; I found this small whiteboard in the box-of-random, and do you know what was still written on it?
Christmas lists, for family and friends. CHRISTMAS...LISTS. I had to laugh at myself. I also had to use windex to get the marker off it enough that I could put it in the goodwill pile.

 The subsequent box including several pieces of clothes, a pair of shoes, two 12x12 frames with scrapbook paper, the recently scrubbed marker board, and the offending secretary box.

 I also solved a very thrilling mystery during all this cleaning. As I was putting the closet back together, I noticed my slipper boots were caught in the closet door. I happened to look at the bottom of one and realized that the heel was broken and exposed. For months now, we've been finding tiny little chips of hard plastic and could never find the source...until now.

Friday I stayed home to keep up the momentum, and I went to the store to stock up on cleaning supplies. I bought the new 360 Swiffer dust wand and had way too much fun dusting the house. The horizontal blinds in the office behind the boyfriend's computer were awful. I also picked up some generic magic erasers and snipped a piece for the toilet bowl. We don't get water rings, but I wanted to see if it would do anything (no conclusive results yet).

Among all this great progress...was a casualty. Our beloved comforter died a horrendous and tragic death in the washer. I've washed it before, but perhaps it was at the old house, maybe a larger washer? I don't know. All I do know, is that the comforter ripped and I cried. It was promptly (because I couldn't stand to look at it) donated to the racoons that hide for warmth in the dumpster. We had to go to the mall and shop for a new one, we settled for something from TJMaxx, but it's just not the same.