When in Doubt, Throw it Out
“Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out!
She’d scour the pots and scrape the pans,
Candy the yams and spice the hams,
And though her daddy would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out”
I wanted to begin Simplicity-The 2013 Project with a clean slate, and the best way I could think of to do that, was to get rid of all the clutter in my life. I took a cue from Apartment Therapy’s January Cure and started by walking around the house and writing down a list of areas which I’d like to improve. Now, this list has the potential to grow exponentially, so try your best to make it manageable.
How do you do this? Well, I started on the top floor and worked my way down. In my case, this means that I started in the attic. Our attic is like our freezer, once something goes in there, it never comes out. Now, “clean the attic” is certainly a great goal, but if I saw that on my list, I’d probably find something much more interesting and less daunting to do instead.
I ignored the impulse to write “clean the attic”, and asked myself: is it focused and can it be measured? Answer: nope, not really. To make my goal focused, measurable, and thus manageable, I made a list of the ways that I would know the attic was “clean”:
1. Empty boxes would be broken down and brought to the recycling bins
2. Holiday decorations would be consolidated into labeled boxes
3. Items that we haven’t used, or thought about in a year or longer, would be given a designation: donate, sell, trash (for example, clothing and furniture or decor that was in good condition could be donated or sold. Old magazines could be given to a gym or hospital waiting room and any broken items could be trashed or recycled)
These three items, although a longer list than “clean the attic” gave me a roadmap as to how to clean the attic. If I didn’t get it all done in one weekend, that would be fine. I could check off one item on my list each weekend and be able to track my progress, which would help me stave off discouragement and defeat.
Once I’d tackled the top floor, I worked my through the rest of the house, tripping over my shadow all the way:
Clearly, my list making was riveting.
Other resources for goal setting & cleaning projects:
9 Decluttering Secrets from Professional Organizers- Real Simple
Spring Cleaning- A Complete Checklist- About.com
Spring- Cleaning Checklist- Martha Stewart
Books & Poems for Children (I have no affiliation with Amazon, I just like the books):