Yesterday I spent pretty much the whole day clearing a particularly irksome pile of paperwork. It was a project I had begun two months ago, using Gretchen Rubin’s “suffer for 15 minutes” approach. It worked in slowly diminishing the pile, but I was surprised to find that I felt better about starting to dig into it than now that the whole left wing of my desk is empty. I’d expected some exhilaration! Instead, I was just plain exhausted. Perhaps because the final push lasted all day? Because my shoulder hurts now from all the writing, cutting, copying, stapling? Not sure, but I’m hoping that maybe today a celebratory mood will kick in at having finally gotten rid of that paperwork.

Instead of feeling happy about the empty spot on my desk, I find myself opening the coat closet door again to admire the orderliness. With the whole family at home over these quiet days (= little time to myself), I’ve tackled a few things around the house that I’ve been putting off or never had the time for, such as:

Cleaning out the coat closet. We’d reached the stage where the coat closet was so stuffed that its door didn’t close properly. Major force had to be applied, so I’d been leaving it open as a reminder that it needed attention. Cleaning out the coat closet was a half-day affair as I invariably found stuff I had to deal with, such as the screens from some of our living room windows propped up against the back wall (why store those in the coat closet?), or the very first umbrella I bought for myself when I was about seventeen (made of cloth, it was literally falling apart), a coat a friend had forgotten (years ago?), or a pair of children’s winter boots that had to go to the charity bag because they were too small for even my youngest nephew. Now, freed of the extra stuff, the coat closet almost feels airy.

Finally getting rid of the nail polish stain on our leather ottoman, following the instructions from How to Remove Nail Polish From Leather Upholstery. I’d spilled that nail polish long ago (bad habit of doing a pedicure on the ottoman) and had been hiding it under the tray that sits on it; I’d looked up and printed out removal instructions, and I even bought the bottle of non-acetone nail polish remover that actually does make it happen. But taking the few minutes to actually do it, now that took months! I was a little scared of damaging the leather, so following my son’s advice (he’s Mr. Practical), I tested it on the underside first. No harm done, thankfully, and the stain is completely gone now! Oh, and while I was at it, I vacuumed all the couches and leather conditioned them as well. That’s the thing with me, one cleaning project leads to another…

Cleaning the Chanukah Menorahs. I mean actually washing them with soap and water, not just breaking off some of the wax that invariably drips down. In a way the wax creates character, so we actually like to leave some of it. I even bought a brass cleaner to restore some of our older models to their shine.

There are still many more “construction sites” (as my brother calls them) around the house, but having tackled a few of them I do feel I accomplished something. This last day of the year, I might spend more time contemplating the old and planning for the new, but fortunately there is another quiet week at home ahead of me with plenty of time to think and do.