Laurel vs Spring Cleaning I
There was never a plan for this. I didn’t think, Spring approacheth, thus and therefore shall I eradicate all putrescence from mine humble lodgings. Two Mondays ago I got home from work and realized that I had only four days until my supervisor would come to my home to help fix my Internet, and the state in which my apartment lay was plain embarrassing.
The issues in my apartment would not be solved simply by putting things in cabinets and sweeping the floor (though that would help). One of my goals for my five remaining months
ohm muh guh five months there are only five months that’s insane it’s too soon panic panic panic! at the disco was to prepare my apartment for my future replacement. No one wants to walk into an apartment full of dirty corners and useless junk. However, Rome was not built in a day and Petunkalunka headquarters was not cleaned in an evening. Besides having classes for which to prepare and evening activites, I was battling three and a half years of accumulated disorganization and weeks of dust.
In the past my most common solution to clutter has been to buy yet another Muji brand container to hold it. This time not only am I staring at only five remaining months of certain income
hohmuguhwhatamigonnado, but I will be hitting up Seoul at the end ot the month. Also I want to go to China. Also my siblings are coming in June,and showing people around gets expensive (worth. It). Also, student loans. All this to say that I set my budget for this apartment overhaul at a whopping zero yen, not including what I would spend on paper towels and “Kabi Killa” cleaner because I was almost out of those anyway. I can’t paint, I can’t put nails in the inner walls because they’re concrete or tiled. The name of the game was Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Let me blow your mind. Literally.
This series of posts is about to be shameful for me, because my apartment is really not that big. It’s a decent size by Japanese standards, small by Midwest American, and I still manage to make it inhospitable.
Every home has problem spots. My home is full of them. I started with one of the smallest: the toilet. Its main crime has always been extreme ugliness. Who puts this combination of colors in anything?
The windowsill needed some cheering up, and even the Thai king’s resemblance to an adult Harry Potter couldn’t do it. I wasn’t allowing myself to buy mirrors or brightly patterned art to brighten up the space, so I settled for using spray paint and paint pens to jazz up some glass jars I had in the recycling bin. A succulent in need of a little less direct sunlight made its way from the kitchen to add a nice touch of dying green. I might need to repot it. Whatever. Here are the new handmade tchotchkes.
Does that not look better? Know that grammatically speaking, your two possible responses are “No, it does,” or “Yes, it doesn’t.” Know that according to my absolute monarchy over comment monarchy, your only possible response is to agree with me.
The wall color is awful and depressing, but I can’t spray paint that, and after using a hairdryer to loosen the glue on those decals I discovered that taking the tree off the wall could cause potentially expensive damage to the ugly paint job. Ne’ermind, then. Lucky for me I had two more of the fringe curtains hanging out (pun!) in the living room from way back when I had removed the doors to my bedroom. The doors have since been put back in place and covered in packing paper, so there was no reason not to move the curtains and the one tension rod I had into the bathroom. It only covered one wall (again, one tension rod), but I’m calling the other an accent wall so that it sounds designed and not sad.
The trash can, which I always thought was a kappa but on inspection of the sticker is a penguin, has been in the apartment longer than I have. It’s cute, but it doesn’t go with anything, including my aesthetic. Spray paint to the rescue!
Never you mind that I broke the left side of the beak trying to put it back together. Does it not work better now? (Remember your options) By now you may be able to tell that I only had two colors of spray paint in my home. No matter how badly I wanted to grab a can of white from the 100 yen shop, I was sticking to that budget.
For the sink there was not a whole lot I could do as far as the vanity is concerned. Apartment Therapy even agreed that the best I could do is hide it from the eyes with a curtain. Good ideas, but ZERO DOLLARS BUDGET prevented me from doing as advised. Since that Apartment Therapy Post I had done this:
I did dust and clean the entire vanity, including the light bulbs and taking those cup holder shelf things off and washing them out. I even cleaned the walls. The drawers were cleaned and reorganized so that the contents matched the labels. I cut the matting for the rugs to the proper size, and shoved the towel rack up a little higher and lengthened one side so that it would quit slipping down and dumping my clean towels on the floor. Since I’m not a total mess I only needed to dust inside the cabinet as my collection of cosmetics bags, backup American deodorant, extra contact lens solutions and lady products had remained organized for a year. When it comes to products and food I’m very much an out of sight, out of mind user. To make sure that I didn’t purchase something that I already have I reorganized my toiletries into the vanity cup holder shelves. Get this, guys who are into design, I have an accent color. Yes indeedy, hair products and lotions with tangerine orange bottles seem to find their way into my shopping cart, so each section has an orange bottle to “tie it all in.” I don’t know who I’m quoting, exactly, but I’m sure someone on a design show has said that at some point.
What another design show decorator would call “oversized art” was a gift from one of my fifth grade classes on our last day together. They included their favorite greetings, which we do use at the beginning of every class, and is far more contextually appropriate than “Do you have a green cap?” And since the name of their school includes the word “kame,” or turtle, they added a bunch of turtles (one is asking, “Kame?”). The teacher made sure to point out that there was a joke on the paper—the students drew ten ants, and if one were to ask how many ants there were the response would be, “There are ten ants,” or in Japanese, “Ari (ants) ga (are) to (ten).” Get it, Mr. Roboto? I thought it was funny. I also thought my tomato-shaped face was funny, though I really appreciate that if you look close enough, you can see the brown and blacks underneath that Caucasian peach.
One yet unseen touch was the toothbrush holder. My new toothbrush’s handle was too big to fit through the holes, but all the other things I had put in there were too small and kept slipping through to clatter into the sink. In then end I would just jam them in with all the other things I had sitting on top of the drawers and in the vanity. Necessity huffed and puffed and birthed this solution:
The bath also is clean, but I’m not showing it to you because years of grime have turned it too ugly to fix. If the grout were supposed to be brownish-black after multiple bleach applications, you’d see a picture. So now the bathroom area is done.
“From the window to the wall! Till the sweat drop down my ball[ed up fist]s!” –Lil John, cleaning lady.
Any further free improvements you’d like to suggest? I’m all eyes. Because of reading. The comments.