Wednesday, March 25, 2009
National Cleaning Week -- No kidding!
Angel blogged on Monday about clutter, though her's is good-for-a-cause clutter. And when I went looking for a blog topic for today I discovered that March 23-29 is National Cleaning Week. Honest. I have no clue what idiot came up with this but he was obviously scraping the bottom of the barrel for some activity to celebrate. And I say "he" with assuredness because no woman would declare a week for cleaning. Evah.
Because I'm scrapped for time (finished the first round of edits yesterday and have to enter them into the Word document as well as write one more scene for the end), I'm going to re-cycle an article I wrote for a newsletter a few years ago and hope it helps you in your spring cleaning.
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 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.
Most of us would de-clutter this minute 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 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.
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.
Share a tip with us today and you'll be entered to win a book from my stash and a dollar bill to buy a reusable shopping bag, because in addition to keeping our houses clean, we need to keep the planet clean and green. Reusable shopping bags are a great place to start.
P.S. Golden Heart and Rita nominations are being announced today. Judi Fennell will be posting finalists on her blog just as soon as she hears of them. If you or someone you know gets a call from RWA, please tell them to notify Judi. The full list will be posted on the RWA website as soon as all finalists have been notified, but it's fun to watch the results dribble in throughout the day.