Just Do It: The Move-in Deep-Cleaning
I know. Moving is hard. I’m doing it right now.
There’ve been meltdowns, back-aches, shouting, laughs, excessive beers, and more. It’s a throwback to the childhood roadtrip: Are we there yet?
No one actually enjoys making moving-in a longer process. By the end of it, your liver is pickled, your back is destroyed, and your bank account screams for reprieve.
But I’m here to tell you, it’s worth giving it your undivided attention and doing it right. Thinking about painting before you put everything back on your bookshelves? Don’t think about it; do it.
Thinking you should clean those picture frames before they find their final resting place?
Don’t think about it. Do it.
Suffer it now or regret it later
I moved last year, and I did it half-assed because I was injured, broke, and pressed for time. I regretted rushing things and I never did get them right. This year, it’s been the opposite, and I’ve been doing it right so I don’t need to worry about doing it again later.
I’m not done yet, but the better I do my work, despite going slower, the more I’m glad to sustain my pace and respect the task.
For the first time ever, I’ve wiped down every single book before it hits the shelves. Months and years of dust and fingerprints getting cleaned off. I realized upon unpacking the book boxes, which had been left to last, that I suddenly had all my dust allergies returning. Talk about your motivating factors for being thorough.
I admit, I have thought to myself, “Oh, it’s been a gruelling three weeks, I’m so ready for this to be done. I’m just gonna shove everything in and move the hell on. I can do it right next month.”
But let’s be honest. I won’t do it later. You won’t do it later. We’re busy people, aren’t we?
A week turns into a month, then three months, then a year’s passed by and you’ve got a week off and you’re trying to convince yourself to do everything you blew off when you moved in, but suddenly you find a travel deal on Expedia and you’re on a cruise to Alaska.
It’s not an ordeal, it’s an opportunity!
This is the kind of neurotic cleaning you always dementedly DREAM of doing but you never have the time to do. Moving in? That’s your time! Plan a few days of take-out. Trust me, you’ll work it off. Save a week of vacation for the move. Enlist people’s help for big projects if you have to, and save your alone-time for the nit-picky stuff, like hands-on cleaning of little things, organizing, knickknacking, and more.
If you’re a book nerd like me, you’ll spend a while figuring out placement for your bookshelves — probably pulling some kind of High Fidelity nerd-organization night, like I did. Why not put that thinky-thinky time to use and wipe the damned thing before you put it down? It takes literally three to five seconds. Just a lightly wet rag will do. (Only the raw paper covers might object. Also be careful on older actual cloth-bound books, as the dyes can come out if it’s touched with wet cloths, as the Fireside Book of Christmas on my shelf can attest.)
Like the guru says, use the power of Now
“Later” is a thing of fiction, much like honest politicians and unicorns. Your plans to “do it later” just wind up in some storeroom of dreams deferred. Then, in the back of your mind, there it is, that constant ever-so-small but oh-so-omnipresent niggling regret that you never did it when it just meant a few extra seconds to get it done right.
I’m here as your voice of reason. Do it right. In most of our lives, close enough really is close enough, but moving into that new home you’re so proud to make your own? Do it right, from the start. You’ll never regret having the move-in take an extra weekend or two just because you decided to get it proper.
Two weeks from now, I’ll be enjoying the last 2 months of summer, sipping cocktails in my fancy new home, enjoying cooking in a new kitchen, and not apologizing to myself even once that I took an extra few days to get it done right. Coming home will feel like, well, coming home.
Think of your new home as a love letter to yourself, a place that will allow you to be the best version of yourself in coming weeks and months ahead. It’s a place worthy of your commitment and deserving of the detail work it takes to really make it a fresh, clean, powerful whole-life reboot.