I think I’ve probably mentioned a time or two since starting this blog that I’m not the best housekeeper, nor do I enjoy cleaning house. I just don’t. I take after my mother in that regard. I struggle with clutter and therefore organization. My husband and I are constantly in awe at how much “stuff” we’ve accumulated in our almost 26 years of marriage. Our once bare basement that our children could once happily skate and ride their bikes in, is so full of clutter that we are lucky to be able to walk in it now. It’s pretty bad. And much of it is just that – CLUTTER! It’s stuff that needs to be thrown away, given away, sold at yard sales, donated to charity, or just reorganized. I’m determined to get at least the basement done before the end of the year. Sometimes I walk down there and look around and think “Where do I start?” I admit I have gotten so overwhelmed with knowing where to start, that I sometimes just want to go curl up in a fetal position and forget all about it. But this year, I’m bound and determined to get it done! This year has 7 more months left in it, so by gosh, June is the month I’m starting on it.
I’ve accumulated quite a little library on the subjects of decluttering, organizing and cleaning. So I’m set. These are three of my favorites from Don Aslett. I love his humor and honesty! I’m still reading Clutter’s Last Stand and I’m learning a lot. I read the other two many many years ago but I have the feeling I will be referring back to them frequently… definite re-reads. If you’ve never read a Don Aslett book, I highly recommend that you do!
Here’s two more of my favorites on decluttering. The New Messies Manual is excellent!! It teaches the reasons we hang on to clutter. I’ve learned from reading it that I’m a “perfectionistic messie.” The house may be a wreck, but the perfectionistic messie decides to clean the oven. And that oven is cleaned well and perfectly. Even though no one sees the inside of the oven, the perfectionistic messie housekeeper feels pride in knowing that the oven is clean. “Here indecisiveness is cloaked in the guise of perfectionism.” That’s me. Sometimes, if I can’t clean everything perfectly, the way I want it, then I choose not to clean at all. This drives my husband CRAZY!!! I’m also a sentimental messie. Every scrap of work brought home by my kids in preschool, kindergarten and the early grade school years was precious to me. I couldn’t part with it. I kept it all and stored it in plastic storage containers (which are now stacked in the basement collecting dust). Throwing away their school work was like throwing away their brains and all their hard work. Sentimental messies keep shells found at the ocean because those shells are usually associated with good memories and if we throw those shells away, we are throwing away our valuable memories. Sound silly? Maybe it does to some, but I have characteristics of both the sentimental messie and the perfectionistic messie. There are tactics to dealing with both that I’m working on.
These three look promising although I haven’t gotten too far into any of them. The dummies manual has a lot of good cleaning tips in general. I just bought Clean Your House & Everything In It on e-bay for a great price and am eager to read it.
The last three books are more for organizing which I will be working on AFTER the decluttering phase. I have read a lot of the House Works book and it has been very helpful. I love the author’s website: http://organizedhome.com/ It is wonderful and has a lot of helpful advice and printables. I have been working on a Household Notebook (or Home Management Binder) for a while now and have used a lot of the printables from this website. I’m hoping once I finish it and actually use it, it will get me a little more organized!
The last one is a notebook I keep in my kitchen, called Making A Home:Housekeeping for Real Life by Better Homes and Gardens. It has suggestions in it for cleaning and organizing every room as well as information on etiquette and entertaining. It has a great resource section in it complete with websites, etc. Looks really good although I haven’t had a chance to peruse it like I want.
I learned real quick that the organizing and cleaning aren’t going to happen until the decluttering takes place. I’ve been working on the upstairs some little by little and will continue working on it along the way. I know my clutter didn’t build up overnight, so I’m not going to be able to get rid of it overnight. I have to be realistic. I’m going room to room and slowing making a dent AND I’m getting much much better at throwing things away. I’ve decided this blog will be one way to motivate me and hold me accountable. I know no one cares about seeing my clutter or hearing about my days spent cleaning out the kitchen pantry or my linen closet or under my kid’s bed. But I’ve decided each day, I will try to carry out one decluttering or organizing/cleaning project and will post a short blog about it. There may even be before and after pics (if I can get my courage up). These projects may be something simple like choosing a random drawer in the kitchen and decluttering it or cleaning out the glove compartment of my car, or even cleaning out my purse. OR it might be something a little bigger like tackling an entire closet, or going through and purging and reorganizing book shelves. My goal is not to bore you with my cleaning details but to hold myself accountable on this blog and get these jobs done! And if I motivate any of you to do the same and join me, then all the better! Wish me luck… SPRING CLEANING HERE I COME!!!!!