Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Fall into Cleaning

Happy Monday to everyone! It’s October and the final quarter of 2019 has begun its countdown.

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog entry called “Spring into Cleaning” [March 25, 2019]. Well, now, it’s time to discuss the seasonal cleaning events that a lot of us face in the fall… at least, in Michigan and the rest of the northeast region. Before all the autumn leaves’ colors peak and disappear with the summer’s warm temperatures and the windows get closed up for the coming winter months, which seem to last almost half the year, around here; it’s time to start attacking that fall cleaning list, assuming you have one! If not, to inspire you, HouseholdManagement101.com has a great, printable “Fall Cleaning List” that covers all the basics – you can find it at https://www.household-management-101.com/fall-cleaning.html!

In “Spring into Cleaning”, I mentioned that cleaning was not Mom’s forte – even though she called herself the “Happy Homemaker” – Mom hated cleaning! Well, let’s say she “clearly disliked” it. I’m not saying she didn’t clean; but, that never meant she had to like it! Not everyone gets a joy out of cleaning any more than they have to – that doesn’t mean they don’t do it, but they probably tend to procrastinate doing it, giving it a lower priority than most other things.

Mom used to keep a sign on her desk for many, many years that said: “Please don’t straighten the mess on my desk! You’ll goof up my system.” She often joked that it was her birth sign! Dad was the organizer between the two of them. I probably inherited my organizing gene (if there is such a thing) from my Dad.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (by Gloria Pitzer; Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 119)

In my kitchen, where all of these famous recipes are developed and tested and prepared for publishing, I have one insignificant problem. The Good Hands People are about to declare my kitchen an accident going someplace to happen. My sense of organization is not what Helouise would enthusiastically endorse. So, even when my cup runneth over and over and over, I can’t always find my mop!

It is with appreciation, in spite of my lack of organization, that Mary Ellen Pinkham, the famous household hints author, took an interest in our recipes just recently. I really should get together with Mary Ellen and learn exactly how to become better organized; but, somehow, time keeps getting away from me.

No offense to Mary Ellen, may she rest in peace; but, I don’t think she could’ve taught Mom how to be organized any more than Dad, whenever he tried to do so. Mom had her own organization system that only she understood, and it worked for her. She used to tell me, “it’s MY pile, and I know where everything is in MY pile – so, don’t touch it!”

Another great article I found about fall cleaning and de-cluttering is by Dr. Sally Augustin, Ph.D.; titled, “Fall Cleaning As Important As Spring Cleaning” and subtitled, “De-clutter your home before your winter hibernation.” [Posted Oct 09, 2013 at PsychologyToday.com], I like the way the doctor says that… “We continually accumulate stuff and dealing with it is part of Fall cleaning.” I excitedly told my husband, “See – I’m not the only one who accumulates stuff!”

Every year, around this time, I play the TetrisTM shuffle game in my basement. It’s a game to unbury my fall and Halloween décor that got buried behind my Christmas décor, which got buried behind some summer camping gear and all of the garage sale stuff I picked up for a bargain over the summer – thinking I might use it someday!

My OCD personality is yelling at me to “GET ORGANIZED!” I really need to make the time in my busy schedule to get my basement cleaned out and organized – I don’t think I can afford to pay someone else to come in and do it for me, as HouseholdManagement101.com suggested in their article (mentioned above). Besides which, organizing is actually one of my favorite “hobbies” – I just need more time in my days or weeks to do it.

Years ago, I was inspired by a cable show I used to watch that dealt with purging peoples’ accumulated stuff and dividing it into categories of “keep, donate, sell and throw away” and dealing with the psychology behind our attachments to stuff and why we hold on to and accumulate more stuff. Unfortunately, my “sometimers” is preventing me from remembering the name of the show, let alone the show’s hosts, whom I can picture in my mind – but, that doesn’t help me do a Bing or Google search for them. I tried different search terms, because I know I’d recognize the name of the show if I saw it; but, I wasn’t successful.

My accumulation of stuff in the basement sometimes tends to get out of hand because it’s a catch-all space that, generally, I only see about once a week, as I pass through to do the laundry. I usually spend a little time organizing while the washer slowly fills up with water; but, then, I go back upstairs to do the other things I was doing before I went into the basement in the first place. It’s like the old adage: “out of sight, out of mind”. I’ve also found, through experience, that there is some merit to the old wives’ tale about walking through a doorway and forgetting things.

Now that it’s fall cleaning season, and after reading Dr. Sally’s article, I’ve decided that I really need to purge my basement even more, as it is becoming an accumulation of stress on my OCD personality. The sooner I get to it, the better; so, I can have a yard sale before the days get too cold to do so. I posted another blog entry on August 12th, “How to Have a Yard Sale in One Easy Breakdown”, about having one; but, then, my “paying job” increased its hours – so that plan was put on a back burner for the time being. See below for one of Mom’s stories from that blog entry.

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

HAVE A GARAGE SALE IN ONE EASY BREAKDOWN!

By Gloria Pitzer – Recipe DetectiveTM

As seen in…

No Laughing Matter, syndicated columns by Gloria Pitzer, published in the 1970s and 1980s; in the Port Huron, MI “Times Herald”

Until you’ve had a garage sale, you just don’t know what you’re missing. I’ve just had one and I know! I’m missing three garbage cans, my husband’s workbench, a swing set, four lawn chairs and our station wagon. Actually, those items weren’t for sale, but you can’t refuse a good price when it’s offered to you.

All I really wanted to sell was a few odds-and-ends like 7 dozen Ruby Bee Jelly glasses, a coke bottle mosaic of my mother-in-law, a transistor radio guaranteed to crack plaster when operated by a teenager, an illustrated guide book to Disneyland and my husband’s bowling ball.

Of course, if the truth were known, I just had to do something about the closets before we were cited for contempt by the Pollution Control Commission. The kids were cleaning out their rooms and dragging out microscopes that had only examined curdled milk. There was an electric train with which only their father had played, a guitar that never played a tune (but made a neat tennis racket), socks that scratched and even their old report cards. But, I drew the line when it came to selling their toothbrushes and underwear. I mean, a person has to be reasonable about these things!

Illustrations by Gloria Pitzer

I had heard that garage sales were successful, but I didn’t believe it until I saw 23 cars double-parked in our drainage ditch, a pick-up truck on the back porch and a dune buggy in the furnace room! It takes a garage sale to prove that a woman will buy anything, if she thinks it’s on sale.

After all, what can one do with a dead philodendron plant – a plastic one, yet? I also learned that there’s no exercise so efficacious for the upper arms as standing in the midst of a group of mad women and trying to keep them from taking the rafters apart while trying to get at our storm windows (which I’ll have you know were NOT for sale); but, little did they care.

One woman offered me a dollar for the dress I was wearing, and I had to run half a block to catch up with the lady who gave my son 50 cents for the sheets on the clothes lines. Did she care it was my laundry and I had to make the beds before the day was over – and where would I be without those sheets?

The Pitzer Kids – Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

I finally had to administer first aid to the two girls who fought so bitterly over which of them was going to drag off to their car a plaid CPO jacket and a pair of blue worsted men’s slacks! Mind you. I wouldn’t have cared under any other circumstances, but my husband was still in them AND he didn’t want to go with either of them. He wanted to stay home and watch the ball game on TV!

By 6pm, they had bought everything that wasn’t breathing, barking or encased in concrete. As I sat at the kitchen table, counting up the profits of the day, my husband came staggering in, bruised and breathless. ‘You know that guy with the flat-bed truck, who’s been hanging around all day?’ [He asked.] ‘Well, he just gave me $50 and drove off with our garage!’

It all goes to prove, if I had put a price on those kids of ours, I might have sold them – but, who could afford to feed them once they got them home?

Okay – time to put that simmering pot of organizing the basement back on a front burner and take care of it. I really need to purge and de-clutter my basement. I collect a lot of things for my many hobbies that I never have time to do…glass etching/engraving, wood burning, repurposing old lamps and glassware into garden art, making vine and pine cone wreaths, etc..

I like to repurpose, reuse and recycle things as much as possible. In doing so, I find it hard to get rid of anything broken, because I can usually “see” an artful use for its parts. Besides which, I also hate to contribute to our ever growing waste problems. However, I will work on my recycle or re-sell plans and get it done!

IN CLOSING…

#EatBetterEatTogether

October is also, among other things, “Eat Better, Eat Together Month”; which, as NationalDayCalendar.com’s website describes, “…encourages families to gather for mealtimes. When families enjoy their main meals together they tend to be more balanced food choices. Also, what better way to spend time together and share each other’s daily adventures?”

#NationalChiliWeek & #NationalChiliMonth

In addition, the 1st week of October honors National Chili Week – which coincides with another month-long October celebration for National Chili Month – here is Mom’s imitation of the “world famous”, Johnnie Lega’s Chili – not one of her free recipes, but can be found in her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 56) along with Julia Lega’s authentic recipe for “The Reuben” (on page 187)!

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective is available for sale, at $20.99 each, through the publisher, Balboa Press, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062252; it’s also available in eBook form, for $3.99, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

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