Letting Go

My daughter called me the other day to inform me she’d finally gotten to the ugly job of cleaning her kitchen cabinets.  That’s one of those tasks you swipe at when you’re doing dishes or cooking, promising yourself you’ll tackle the deep cleaning later.

kitchen cabinetOf course, like most of us, you wait until the job becomes THE NASTY CHORE.

While I listened to her complain about the cleaning job, how long it took, and how much elbow grease she invested into it, I took a quick look at my own kitchen cabinets.

For maybe a second or two I thought about tackling the same chore in my 30-year old house and concluded … nah, I’d rather spend my limited time doing something else.

I decided I can live with a lot of things that I categorize broadly as “letting go.”

I have a long list of things I have let go of; here are a few:mopping floor

          1.     I no longer mop floors on my hands and knees. If I can’t con someone (like Dr. Big) into doing it for me, I spray cleaner on the flooring and maneuver my foot wrapped in a rag to wipe up the dirt.

          2.     I no longer cook dried beans. Seriously, that’s what canned beans are for, and I promise you no one can tell the difference in your recipe.  My perennially favorite chili takes about thirty minutes to make instead of hours.

          3.     I no longer wear eye makeup. This was a hard one to let go of – vanity pushed me for a long time until I realized that wearing eyeglasses covers up most of my eyes anyway.  My “makeup,” when and if I use it, takes 20 seconds to apply.

eye makeup          4.     I don’t wash my sheets every week. This is not a nod to conservation (although I always pretend it is), but honestly, how dirty can sheets get when a person showers before bedtime?  Every two weeks is fine.  Oddly, the hard part of this chore is not the washing and drying of the items, but putting them BACK ON the bed!

          5.     I don’t send out Christmas greetings. This is a new “letting go” for my family.  Those folks I know and love most dearly keep in contact via phone, email, or text nearly every day – Banditas included, of course!  Why pressure myself with a tradition I no longer enjoy doing?

What about you?  In this terribly busy holiday season, what are you “letting go” of?  Xmas cardWhat shortcuts can you share with our readers?  How are you streamlining your life so you have more time for the activities you really enjoy?


TPG Final cover
I’d love to send a free download of my Christmas novella “The Perfect Gift,” to one commenter whose ingenuity about “letting go” tickles my fancy.

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  • flchen1 says:

    Those are really brilliant, Jo! I’m with you on the every two weeks for the sheets 😉 And I can’t tell you the last time I deep cleaned the cabinets… DH does it periodically though, so I think we’re covered 😉 We still persist in sending out Christmas greetings though… I’m having a hard time breaking that habit, even though the kids whine as we assemble them for a family photo every late November… 😀 I’ll have to ponder what “letting go” I’ve managed to achieve 😉

    • Jo Robertson says:

      LOL, Fedora, thank goodness for the husbands! Boyd does most of the deep cleaning, but I’m jones-ing for a regular housekeeper.

      I keep thinking they should have a system of deep cleaning where the cleaner comes in and hoses everything down with steam once every six months!

      We’d never be able to get a family photo — there are 31 in our immediate family, soon to be 32! Much squiggling and yelling and crying takes place so we manage about every 5 years to get a family photo.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Jo,
    I sometimes “mop” the floor by moving the rag with my foot, too. Maybe I’m be letting go the Black Friday shopping this year. I often regret wasting so much time and energy to battle the crowds, but another part of me doesn’t want to miss the good deals.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Yeah, Black Friday can be like playing football and you the sacked quarterback! I usually approach it with the mindset of NOT looking for anything or NOT needing anything, but if I stumble upon something, getting it. It’s easier to just walk away if the “football field” gets too dangerous LOL.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Meant to say, Jane, that with the “rag and foot” cleaning method, the big toe is great for getting into the corners :-)).

  • Sally Schmidt says:

    I like the way you think! There are too many books to read and blogs to post 😉 to keep doing things just because I used to do them (because my mother did) or there is a list somewhere that says I should. I retired earlier this year and told my husband that I have an “un-bucket” list – if I haven’t learned to do it or experienced it by now chances are I’ll survive without it. I’m still busy but with things that matter to me and my family. And my TBR stack is still pretty tall but so is my stack of books read this year. Aaah, freedom!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Congrats on your new found freedom, Sally; I like your “unbucket list!”

      My mom always said, “There’s GOOD and then GOOD ENOUGH,” and you need to learn the difference really fast to save yourself extra work!

      Nowadays lots of my stuff is falling into the “good enough” category.

  • Mozette says:

    It’s a good list you have there.

    And yes, I have a list of things I don’t do all the time – things my Mum does regularly which drives her nuts when she gets here.

    I don’t clean the bathroom weekly… yeah, I know that sounds downright nasty, but really, I do clean the toilets weekly, but I use the bathroom wipes and bi-carb soda to clean my shower quickly and that’s it… the glass gets scrubbed out with vinegar and water in a spongy handle thingy and hot water once in a while… but the bathroom then looks clean after I’ve swept it out with a broom.

    I don’t wash my kitchen floor every week either… I mean, yeah I wash it once a month instead… because if I do I end up dropping something sticky on it and it’s dirty again… 🙁

    I wash my towels and sheets weekly. Being an Aussei, no matter how soon you shower before bed, the moment you step out of the shower (yep a nice cool one) you begin sweating again… it makes your bedding stink! So, we are conditioned to wash our sheets and pillow cases weekly by our parents.

    I don’t vacuum weekly… it’d big and bulky and makes me sneeze like crazy – even with a mask on my face. And don’t get me started on dusting.

    that’s about it… yeah, I know my house must sound like a dump, but really, it’s not. I just can’t be bothered keeping it neat as a pin for people who aren’t judging me by how tidy it is… they’re here to see me, not my house. And who is going to smell my bedsheets? Only me. 😀

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Doesn’t sound dumpy at all, Mozette. I like your plan.

      I’d forgotten what it was like to live in a humid condition. I grew up in Virginia with lots of humidity, but my mom was doing the laundry then so I never paid attention. We have a nice dry climate most of the time in northern California so it’s not a problem.

  • Amy Conley says:

    I do not scrub my tub. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t clean it, I just found a fast and easy way to do it. Half a boxx of Cascade dishwashing powder poured into hot water, fill tub, let sit overnight, tub clean and bathroom smells great.

    Mopping kitchen floor, Shark steam cleaner. OMG I love it. A spill, plug mop in , less than 5 minutes later clean floors.

    Cleaning walls, use a Swiffer wet pad, up and down your walls, done in half an hour, and house smells great. Looks good too.

    floor. I got lucky and got my mop for $5, brand new at a yard sale. The woman selling it bhax bought one, then bought the sweeper and got a free mop. She did ‘t need2,

    • Amy Conley says:

      Sorry, using my phone and it didn’t work like it should.

      I don’t do the Christmas card thing anymore UNLESS, there is someone I don’t talk to on a regular basis, mostly authors I’ve either won a book from or gotten an ARC from and for them I will send a card from Santa Claus, In (next town over) because every year they have a special post mark, collectible post mark at that.

      I find I am doing more online shopping and having things sent directly to the person’s home, or for family members I am really lazy and if possible, sending it for store pick-up so I don’t have to pay shipping charges.

      • Jo Robertson says:

        I love on-line shopping too, Amy. Which is why Amazon is one of my favorite companies. Well, that and they pay me good royalties on my books.

        I don’t think you’re being lazy. I think you’re being shopping smart!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      OMG, Amy, I love these cleaning tips. Girl, you have got it down to a science. I’m printing out your methods and handing the list to my husband!

  • Shannon says:

    I’m leaning toward not getting small gifts for the nieces and nephew. I got the neatest foldout cards from a bookstore. I can pick up the Visa gift cards at the local grocery.

    I don’t do the bathtub with the cascade, but I do the same thing for my kitchen sink, a 1/2 bleach, fill it up overnight, drain in morning, and a sparkling sink.

    I also buying black pants socks simply. I got six pairs of the same socks. That way if one goes stray I still will have 3 pairs by February. Bye-bye navy because I could never match those and would end up with one black and one navy.

  • Jo, I love your way of mopping…I still can con the Jazzman into doing mine, but will have to give yours a try for spot cleaning! 🙂

    I cut back on makeup wearing over 25 years ago, at least daily makeup wearing, when I went to the night shift. No one to make an impression on and most patients cared more about my skills and compassion than how I looked.

    As for new letting gos (why am I now hearing the song from Frozen in my head?), over-decorating for holidays. Yes, I’ll have a tree and the mantle will get its trimming, I’ll even have the wooden Santa with the tree that lights up in the foyer for the grandkids. But I tend to only change the table cloth for the seasons. Pastels for the spring, yellow for summer, green or burnt orange for fall. I put out cut flowers and candles. Wha-la. done. No fancy towels in the bathroom, not cute wreathes or decorations…too much effort to get them out and put them away. Too much time away from writing and family.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      I did the Christmas decorating cut-back last year, Suzanne. I had a “party” and let the children pick out any ornaments or decorations they wanted from their childhood and then donated the rest.

      I used to do lots of decorating with my angels set, my Santa set, and other decorative items. Now we visit rather than have everyone come to our house, so it’s not worth it to be so elaborate.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      LOL, Suz, I’d forgotten all about “Frozen” when I wrote this blog!

  • Jo –

    Smart woman!

    I’ve already let go most of the stuff on your list (yes, I’m that lazy 🙂 ), but this year I’ll be letting go mailing a lot of Christmas cards. Not because I’m consciously going “green” or concerned about the rising price of a postage stamp – but because my computer wiped out my address file! 🙂 For years, I’ve updated my address file and not my old address book so now I have an address book that only has valid addresses for my siblings as we haven’t moved in the last forty years. LOL.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      NOT lazy, Donna, smart! I’m sorry you lost your addresses, but glad you’ve cut back on one more thing.

      I just read that the life expectancy of Americans is 79.8 (higher for women than men), so I weigh all the activities I do against the projected number of years I have left. I decided I didn’t want to spend anymore time on menial tasks than I have to with my limited time. I want to enjoy life!

  • Jo, we let go of housekeeping long ago. Neither of us likes it, so except for weekly vacuuming and bathroom cleaning, we mainly do it when we expect company.

    With the boy coming home from school shortly before Christmas, our decorating starts late. So we don’t worry about doing as much as we used to. There isn’t time.

    I wear eyeliner on occasion, eye shadow less often, and mascara almost never due to the raccoon effect. When I bother at all, it’s mostly blush and lipstick, and the lipstick is optional. I do have a power base I use for very rare occasions.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Nancy, your remarks made me think of DUST. We have lots of dust in northern California. And dusting is one of those thankless jobs. You do it and a few hours later, it’s settled again on all your lovely furniture.

      Since neither of us has allergies, I decided dusting was one of those time-consuming activities than really doesn’t do all that much good.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Hi, everyone. Sorry for coming to the party late. I fell on Saturday and took a hard hit to my tailbone! After feeling very foolish :-)) I’ve found that sitting is problematic, so last night I took meds to help me sleep and WOW I didn’t get up until 9:30 this AM, sooooo late for me.

  • Jo, I had to laugh. I”ve recently cleaned out ALL my cupboards. I had the house on the market (didn’t sell so I’m staying put for a while) and it felt marvellously cathartic to throw out stuff that I hadn’t used in years. Or to give it away to someone who would get some use out of it. I even ventured into the mysterious realm of online sales and got rid of some furniture and some china. Again, better it goes to someone who will appreciate and use it. What surprised me was how popular the bone china tea cups proved. Who knew?

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Anna, a great idea, the online sales. I haven’t tried it yet, but our son sold a car we had through e-Bay. The fellow drove over from the Bay Area (about 2 hr drive) and paid cash. Can’t beat that!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Anna, sometimes I wish I could sell the house and move just to give me a reason to get rid of so many unnecessary items accumulated from 31 years in the same house!

    Sorry about the house not selling, but at least you’ve done the work for the next go round.

  • Ouch on the tailbone injury, Jo! That smarts!

    I am an expert at the foot with the rag floor cleaning method. Dogs are always bumping water bowls and things get dropped all the time here. I’m so good I can spray the entire kitchen floor and use the two feet, two rags method to get it cleaned. 🙂

    I no longer replace the shelf paper in my cabinets. I buy plastic kiddy placemats at the dollar store and use them instead. They wipe off easily. You can take them out and rearrange them if you like. And they make me smile when I open the cabinets. How can you not smile at a Muppets ABC placemat?

    I don’t actually take my Christmas tree down. I have a four foot tree, completely decorated under a sheet in one of the spare bedrooms. The day after Thanksgiving I whisk off the sheet, check the bulbs, check it for dust and put it on top of the television hutch. SO much easier.

    I can’t let go of the Christmas card thing as yet and I may never do so. I still write people actual letters, friends overseas for the most part. I enjoy it and my friends often tell me how exciting it is to get an actual letter.

    One thing I have recently let go is stressing about my job. My boss is a completely unreasonable, dictatorial, micromanaging asshole. Period. And my stress level as a result of the constant threat of losing my job if X or Y doesn’t happen had me to the point of nose bleeds from high blood pressure. I finally sat down and wrote myself a letter giving me permission to just let it go. NOTHING that happens at Walmart is worth getting angry or upset about and I simply refuse to do so. He starts talking and I just smile, nod, tell him “Okay.” and walk away. I refuse to sacrifice even one more moment of my energy worrying about pleasing someone for whom my performance will NEVER be good enough. I go to work, do my job, and come home. And if it isn’t enough and he fires me, guess what? I was looking for a job when I found this one. I am the longest standing bakery manager in the district. This is not my career. It isn’t who I am and I’ll be just fine. I’m happier, my coworkers are happier and I come home in a much better mood.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Wow, Louisa, I am soooo impressed. I take it the tree is not live? What a clever idea. It never occurred to me, but now that I have extra bedrooms, it makes sense!

    Never thought of the place mats for shelf paper, either. I hate putting in shelf paper! This sounds easy.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Louisa, that’s an extremely healthy, good for you!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Healthy attitude, I meant :-))