I'm feeling that my Spring Cleaning Post (see below) was pretty tough (but true), and that some people just want ideas. Believe me, I have wondered what it is, exactly, my parents did to me to change me from a clutter-prone, messy, moderately hoarding teen to the minimalist who delights in a "fresh linen" scented home I am today. I have come to realize, through meditation (in the form of completing seemingly simple, mundane tasks) that I have a list of dialogues going through my head. Through persistence and enthusiasm (oh, the enthusiasm), my parents taught me these things over and over to the fact that they became as automatic as brushing my teeth or putting on lipstick (another post for another time). I've added some of my own, too. Enjoy!
CONSIDER THE COST:
*Think about the ENERGY—mental, time, etc—it takes to keep this item. You have to see it, store it, move it, clean it, hold onto it, think about it, stumble across it. . . Is it worth the time and energy?
*WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL?
Keeping an item you “might need” prevents something NEW and BEAUTIFUL and MEANINGFUL from taking its place. This less important item has weight in your life. Is it worth it? Do you want a home full of things you might need, or a few things you are crazy about and love?!
MAKE IT ABOUT YOU:
Start by organizing and cleaning a place just for YOU. Pick up a copy of Virginia Woolfe’s A Room of One’s Own or Simple Abundance. Make this area in the home special and meaningful to you. Your favorite place.
ENGAGE THE 5 SENSES:
Smell: Choose a cleaning product you love light a candle, essential oil, something invigorating or relaxing.
Sound: Put on your favorite music while you clean.
Touch: Use cleaning materials that feel good on your skin, or protect yourself when you have to use the heavy-duty stuff.
Taste: Reward yourself with a treat while you clean (gum, chocolate, soda)
Sight: Declutter—make it look like you really cleaned! Create a space YOU LOVE.
These items should be a few, treasured items stored in a proper place. Pre-set a limit and stick to it. Or take a photo of it (or scan it) and store it on your computer. For example, one box of school projects per year=12+ boxes of “school work” for each child. When they leave home, what are they going to do with 12+boxes of pictures and papers? (I have one plastic tub for grade school and middle school, and then a second for high school)
TOUCH IT ONCE rule:
For example, if you’re cooking and you take out the vanilla, you put it in the mix, then put it back in the cupboard. Immediately. Don’t set it down to put away later, don’t movie it to the side. Don’t put it down. Touch it once.
5 Minute Tasks:
Break down your weekly cleaning chores into short, daily, 5 minute tasks. Do one or two a day. Do it during a commercial break or while you’re talking on the phone.
Does everything have ONE convenient place? Make cleaning and organization simple enough for a 5 year-old to do by making sure everything has a regular place. One place for shoes, one place for pens, one place for important papers, one place for bills.
THROW IT AWAY:
The less junk you have, the less you have to clean. When it doubt, throw it away! If you’re reluctant to do this, keep a box in the garage and throw stuff out there, and every 2 weeks, throw what’s in there out.
Fill out notecards for every cleaning task you want done.
For example: “Clean the downstairs Bathroom” has a list of items like:
*Spray cleaner on sink/around faucet and base and scrub clean
*Spray cleaner around top, seat, and base of toilet—wipe down
*Put toilet clean in bowl/scrub around sides
*Spray shower with cleaner/wipe down all faucets, walls
*Wipe down floor
*Windex mirror with paper towel
*Take out garbage/replace liner
Give these cards TO OTHER PEOPLE. Then, they know when they’re “done.”
Check out www.flylady.net: “I want you to let go of your perfectionism because that is what has been stopping you dead in your tracks and just get up and do something.” –flylady
Start with a place for everything. Make a specific list of everything you need to clean out (laundry room, boys’ closet, kitchen cabinet under sink, etc.) Then do the “Clean Sweep Plan:” Get three boxes or bags:
1. throw away
3. give away or sell
As you go from room to room, put everything in one of three piles. Make it easy on yourself and, when in doubt: Throw It Away!
TOO MUCH STUFF?
Throw away 20 things a day.