In high school, I had a car that was affectionately (and simultaneously distastefully) known as “The Fridge”. It was a junky white Pontiac, and the hood had a bad case of peeling paint. When I would whine about driving a junker, my dad would say, “Well why would we get you a nicer car, when you can’t even keep this one clean?” He had a good point. Just because it had peeling paint and the ceiling upholstery was falling down, didn’t mean that the back seat had to be littered with school papers and lunch bags and drink cups. Aren’t teenagers gross?

Anyway, my laundry room was resembling The Fridge. Clothes were piled on the washer, detergent had trickled down and made a gooey mess on my beautiful front loaders, and there was dust everywhere. It’s like my teenager self had decided that if I couldn’t have an awesome room, then I was going to have absolutely no pride in it. I’ll show my parents for not giving me a nicer car!

So I cleaned it up. Yes, the walls are still cracked and have some death-liquid running down them, and the uneven cement floor has peeling paint (much like The Fridge! see how good at metaphors I am?!), and the stud wall offers me a great view of the water heater, but that doesn’t mean it has to be disgusting.

Since I don’t really know how to level a cement floor, frame in walls, or sheetrock (and I don’t have a “laundry room fund” set aside at the moment), it may be a while before my laundry room looks like this:

For now, this is the best I can do:

(Trust me, you don’t want to see a “before”.)

And it beats the heck outta the laundromat.

I used an old Ikea rug to protect the tops of the machines, and wiped everything down. I displayed the kitschy laundry painting, because my dad picked it out and I can’t bear to get rid of it.

I know it’s no mega makeover, but it feels so much better! Maybe I can inspire one of you to “spring clean” a depressing area of your house. It feels gooooood!

And along those same lines, I also washed all the windows. Whew! But it’s such a wonderful, cheap way to let in more light, especially on dark winter days.

And lastly (because this post is already all over the place), I made this delicious tomato soup. It’s what you should make if you too are longing for summertime tomatoes from the garden, but it’s January.

(Adapted from this recipe)

2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 14.5-oz can vegetable broth
1 generous tsp dried basil leaves
2 tsp sugar
1 cup half-and-half
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil

Heat tomatoes, basil, and broth on the stove until boiling. Reduce heat and cover- simmer 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir until butter is melted.

Eat with a big drippy grilled cheese (PS- the secret to a perfectly melty grilled cheese sandwich is to not put the other piece of bread on until the cheese is melted- put a lid on it to speed the melting process). And if you look at the other recipe, you’ll see I’ve cut the fat quite a bit, so I think that calls for a little grilled cheese indulgence. 🙂

Happy, happy Monday.

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