THINGS I DO TO FEEL LIKE MY LIFE ISN’T A MESS

I charge my electric toothbrush

There’s not much that makes me feel like more of a failure at adult life than my toothbrush running out of juice, mid-use. HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO ILL-PREPARED?? I switch it off and on again a few times as if it’s my mum’s computer and then make an irritated HNNNNNGHHHH noise as I carry on my brushing minus battery power.

Everything is heavy. The head is suddenly tiny. I hope and pray that there is some Listerine knocking around to compensate for this sub-par clean. And doesn’t doin’ your teeth with a brush that was working seconds earlier feel oddly jarring, a bit like when you step onto a broken escalator and it takes your body a few moments to acclimatise?

ANYWAY. Enough of my first world dental problems. What I mean is: it’s better when I get ahead. The second my trusty Oral B starts to show signs of slowing down, BOOM, there I am, running into the spare room to place it onto its plastic charger (which started off shiny and clean but is now covered in bits of toothpaste, dust and hair. I’d pretend to be sorry but I know for a fact that yours looks exactly the same so don’t even try me). Charging my toothbrush is one thing I can do to make my life feel slightly more organised and slightly less Screaming Into Pillow.

I clean my beauty blenders

That was a massive lie. Every single one of my beauty blenders is REPULSIVE and I have no excuse*. Each morning, without fail, I get one out, inspect it for the least gross bit and put it to work. Throughout my foundation-applying process I am thinking: “This is disgusting. I will leave it out so I can clean it when I get home from work.” Then I get home from work, spend the entire evening doing Something Else and repeat the icky cycle.

*I do actually sort of have an excuse, and that is: I DON’T KNOW HOW TO CLEAN MY BEAUTY BLENDERS. No-one ever told me, just like no-one ever told me how to apply eyeliner or pluck my eyebrows. I just sort of BEGAN one day and hoped I was on the right tracks, like all the best raccoon-eyed tweens. One time I googled HOW TO CLEAN BEAUTY BLENDER and someone said to use a bowl, some hot water and some shampoo. It didn’t work. I don’t know, I don’t have time to do the research.

This isn’t very helpful. But if you already clean your blenders and brushes then MORE POWER TO YOU, and may you always feel in control of your already-organised existence. Don’t listen to me. I am just a girl, crying in the corner, with a dirty sponge in my hand.

I make lists

Doesn’t everyone love a good list? One of my favourite activities is when you write out a very long list made up of things that will only take you 10 seconds and things that you have already done. Then you go through crossing things off like “Oh, gosh, done already! Tick… tick… double tick…” and so on until the smugness sets in.

But genuine lists are good, too. I myself am a fan of Paperchase because they sell these adorable hardback folder-book things and when you open them up they are full of big post-its and tiny post-its and ‘Things to do’ pads and even LOOKING at them makes you feel like the most productive person on the planet.

I have a physical list for my job, another physical list for my freelance work and writing-y stuff, and just a mental list for around-the-house stuff. Like, I know I need to do the vacuuming at some stage, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to forget because I stare at that sock fluff every morning and die a little bit inside. Work-related tasks tend to wiggle into and then out of my head, and writing them down calms me a little.

Lists are also a nice way to see what you’ve actually DONE. Sometimes you’re so busy working that you don’t stop to think “I cleaned the oven today so our kitchen no longer smells of chicken” or “I finally did that thing I have been putting off since 2011.” WELL DONE YOU.

I have a lil read

When I was a kid everyone would always say “She’s a bookworm, that one” and I would do a little smile like “YES! ME! THE BOOKWORM!” because I really liked being known as that and it made me picture a tiny caterpillar who wore glasses and slithered around copies of Harry Potter eating the page numbers. When I got older I stopped reading as much. I don’t know why for sure but I feel like the internet took over, and I’d say “I still read, I still read!” but really I meant “I read the comments on my MySpace wall and that’s pretty much the same thing,” and obviously it wasn’t.

Now I am officially a READER ONCE MORE, and it is making me very happy. I forgot how exciting it is to have a whole other world in your hand. On Wednesday I genuinely cried on my lunchbreak because I couldn’t believe I had a whole hour to just sit and read and not have to think about anything from real life. And that’s kind of why I’ve added reading to this list – entering another place and using your imagination and finding out how someone else thinks or makes sense of the world is always soothing. At least to me.

I wash my bedsheets

One of my very favourite Dolly Alderton pieces is called ‘8 ways to tackle the life crisis you think you’re having‘. Number 3 on the list is ‘Don’t wash your bedsheets once a month’ which spoke to me for obvious reasons. I mean, this is not the time for us to discuss my personal hygiene (it’s not that bad, I swear!) but we’ve all been known to ignore the ‘once a week’ rule from time to time, right? Right?

The thing is, though, when I wrestle my clean duvet cover back on and get into bed, I feel really, deeply happy. Like the first day of spring has arrived and I have picked some daisies and been dancing in a meadow. It’s weird how doing something as small as washing the sheets can affect your mood, but it can. OH, and if you want to take things to the next level, there is also the holy trinity of cleanliness:

  1. Clean sheets
  2. Clean hair (preferably via a bath, for some reason)
  3. Clean (or brand new) pyjamas

I have no idea why this is a thing to me, but it is. I could have had the worst day in the world, stuffed with dead toothbrush batteries and acne caused by my own damn beauty blenders, but if I get into a clean bed and put my clean head on my clean pillow and roll around in my clean pyjamas, I just feel like all is right with the world. It also doesn’t hurt that there are now another few things I can cross off my list. TICK!

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