Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Spring (cleaning) is in the air
It’s invading suburbia -- an insidious ogre, creeping silently and often accompanied by the words “But that might come in handy one day.”
Its name is clutter and it may be caused by bad habits, a packrat attitude and/or chronic bargain shopping. Whatever the cause, clutter leads to lost time while you search for your keys or the bill that’s due tomorrow.
I spent my weekend cleaning our trailer at the campground and yesterday a veteran's group picked up three large bags of "stuff" that I'd cleaned out of our home -- my second such donation to them so far this year. I'm on a cleaning frenzy. When we moved into this new house two years ago I promised myself I'd do my best to keep the clutter to a minimum. Stay out of my way and no one will get hurt. *grin*
Most of us would de-clutter in a heartbeat if we only knew where to start. First, begin with yourself and set a good example. Next, schedule regular de-clutter sessions. Spend ten minutes a day cleaning up, or decide to remove a certain number of items each day. Don’t stop until they’re in a garbage bag and tossed.
Major clutter may call for a marathon session. Schedule this on your calendar since having adequate time increases the odds of success.
One method involves three boxes and a trash bag. In the clean-up area pick up each item and decide which place it goes.
Box #1 is the “put away” box. These items can be saved; they just need to be labeled and put in the proper place.
Box #2 is the “give away or sell” box. Store these items in the garage or trunk of your car til you take them to the thrift store or hold a garage sale to avoid incorporating them back into the household.
Box #3 is for “storage.” Designate a place for this after marking the contents on the outside.
The trash bag is self-explanatory.
Move from room to room until you’ve de-cluttered the whole house. Don’t forget the attic, home of hidden clutter. Several years ago we cleaned ours and discovered boxes for long-gone electronic equipment along with an orphaned ski pole.
After spending most of a Saturday hauling stuff to the curb, it was easy to keep the attic free of clutter; when I was tempted to stash something up there, I remembered how hot that attic gets during an Alabama August.
Getting rid of clutter doesn’t mean it won’t reappear. Sadly, it’s like a bad penny that keeps returning.
One solution uses that old adage “a place for everything and everything in its place.” As long as stuff has a “home” it won’t clutter the house.
Another solution is to establish routines. For example, always put your purse away when you return to the house. Put the newspaper in the recycling bin as soon as you finish reading it. Sort mail when you bring it inside. Toss the junk and file the rest in its “home.”
Adopt a “one in and one out” attitude. When you buy a new pair of shoes, get rid of a pair. Want that colorful vase on sale at the mall? What will you discard if you buy it? This method not only tackles clutter but can save dollars as well.
And last, but certainly not least, clean when you're spitting mad. I'd come close to throwing out my children if I was de-cluttering in a foul mood. That's when I tend to be less sentimental about stuff that really has no value and simply collects dust.
With some scheduling, the right tools and a few rules, you can drive the clutter monster from your home and keep him away.
Happy spring and happy cleaning.
Do you have any good spring de-cluttering tips?
Best tip of the day wins a book thong.
Posted by Playground Monitor at 3/28/2007 01:01:00 AM