Wednesday, September 16, 2015

SDD Clutter Free Day 16: How to Destroy a Roach Colony

It's Day 16 of the So Damn Domestic Clutter Free Countdown, and that means today I decluttered 15 items. I decided to tackle my roach drawer, I mean, my plastic grocery bag drawer. I'd saved the bags in a drawer of the storage console in my dining area, either to use for emptying the litter box, or until I'd saved up a bunch to recycle.

I saw roaches go in and out of the drawer, and some major denial happened. I just stopped using that drawer. I don't think I made a conscious decision to avoid it, I just left the drawer closed and it became, "out of sight, out of mind."

Well, part of a 30-day decluttering challenge is facing those areas of our homes that don't work for us. The time had come. I put on rubber gloves, covered my nose and mouth with my shirt, and opened the drawer with my toes, from a distance.

It wasn't so bad! At least not on that top layer of bags. I started moving one bag at a time into the trashcan. Would you believe there were exactly 15 bags in there? Exactly the number of items I needed to declutter for today's goal. I really had no idea how many bags were in there, so that made me laugh.

Once all the bags were out, okay, it was gross. But it wasn't an Indiana Jones-esque swarm, so I was pleasantly surprised. The really disgusting part was underneath the drawer. It was pretty much black from dead roaches and poop. It was also horrifying behind the console, where the still-living ones had scurried and hid from my wrath.

(Actually, I didn't have wrath. I've been saying an equanimity meditation a few times a week for a couple months, so I mostly just felt bad for the roaches and tried to kill them quickly and painlessly. But my air quality comes first.)

I'm absolutely not an expert on pest control, but I'll share with you what I did to clean up the console.

1. A few days before cleaning, I moved most of the roach bait poison to that corner of the apartment. I didn't want to open up the drawer and displace a bunch of living roaches into the rest of the
apartment. (Spoiler alert: a bunch lived and dispersed anyway.)
2. I removed all of my baskets from the shelves, so if they did disperse, they didn't camp out in my belongings. (This way they're in the much better...? >.<)
3. Day of cleaning. Removed everything from the drawer they lived in.
4. Sprayed open drawer with anti-roach mixture: water, vinegar, peppermint oil, tea tree oil.
5. Coated with baking soda. Let sit one minute.
6. Doused drawer with vinegar.
7. Unscrewed the hinges and removed the drawer. Washed it in the kitchen sink. This seems like an unsanitary step. If I had access to a hose, I would have washed it outside. I just used the sink hose, hot water, more vinegar, and a scrub brush.
8. Repeated with three other drawers, even though they weren't as bad. I wanted to make sure all roach poop was cleaned because it's so bad for air quality, and also wanted to make sure to kill any eggs.

9. Set drawers outside to air dry.
10. Swept really gross under-drawer area. Broom heads can be washed or replaced!
11. Repeated same process under the drawers: vinegar spray, baking soda soak, pure vinegar douse, and then since I can't fit a whole storage console in the sink, I mopped it.
12. Moved the console forward. Repeated step 11 behind the console. There's a cable tacked back there that they're small enough to crawl behind. I haven't cleaned that because I ran out of stamina. Tomorrow I'll have to take out the tacks and wipe down the cable.
13. Called a friend from the fresh, outdoor air.

So it was horrifying and disgusting, but not as horrifying and disgusting as I imagined it would be. I'm very pleased that they hadn't lived in there long enough to damage the console. It's a good piece of furniture when it's not infested.

I'm off to shower for about a year.

Amazon Affiliate: Links above go to NOW brand essential oils. I love them. If you follow the link and buy anything, I get a commission from Amazon.

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