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The Trouble With Things: Why Having A Cleaning Plan Brings Peace Home

Last summer when my kids went camping for a week, my house stayed clean for a full seven days!

Normally my house has things everywhere. What I learned during my kid-free week is that things in conspicuous places are usually their fault. But I can’t blame them for the clutter in my linen closet, the scary stuff under the bathroom sink, or the mass of sweaters clogging up my drawers. However, even these hot spots are not as bad as before, because I went into battle. Things are my enemy, order is my friend, and I take no prisoners.

Clutter brings emotional exhaustion

I hate taking advice about cleanliness from people who have a clean gene, and if you’re the same way, you can be sure that particular gene has never existed in my family, except for one aunt who we suspect was switched at birth. . But here’s what I’ve learned: stacked stuff = emotional exhaustion. You constantly feel like you need to clean, but have no idea where to start. Maybe you can’t close your closet door because of all the unfinished craft projects you’re putting away out of guilt, so the executor of your estate has a chance to finish that pillow. Or maybe you don’t have room for your grandmother’s heirloom mirror and brush set because your husband’s trophies from that sixth grade softball tournament are lined up on top of your dresser, along with VISA statements from 7 years ago. years, last year’s birthday cards and receipts. from phone numbers you didn’t want to forget to people you can no longer remember.

Divide the work into small steps

If removing this clutter is too overwhelming, break it down into smaller steps. Sometimes I set the kitchen timer and force myself to work hard for ten minutes, alone on a shelf or in a drawer. You can do anything for just ten minutes, and within a few days you will see some progress.

throw things

The hardest part, of course, is throwing things away. However, there is no point in keeping thousands of devices on the off chance that you need them. If you ever do, you won’t be able to locate the particular one anyway in the midst of all that clutter. Just throw them away now and be done with it. The same goes for old clothes. I suppose it’s always possible for them to come back in style, but I wouldn’t bet the sanity of my closet on the chance that my kids will one day embrace argyle again.

Talk to your spouse about the mess

What to do with your spouse’s things is another story. No offense to my male readers, but it seems to me that many men have a strange attachment to clothing that looks absolutely ridiculous, especially the sweatpants they’ve had since twelfth grade. I wish there was an easy way to get rid of these, but I can’t think of a safe one, as eventually the man in your life will reach for those sweatpants and you’ll be in trouble. So maybe his closet should be left alone.

One year, a friend and I decided to throw out some of her husband’s things that were clogging two rooms she wanted to use for the kids. She hadn’t touched the stuff in twenty years, so we figured it was fair game. We gave it to a charity garage sale. And wouldn’t you know it, by nine in the morning she had realized what we had done and she was frantically going from table to table retrieving all of her treasures. She definitely wasn’t a high point in her marriage.

Don’t let your guard down

However, once you’ve sorted out what’s in your control, you need to be vigilant. Remember, things multiply. Especially small Happy Meal toys. Therefore, if something enters our house, two things must come out. We even keep a box by the door for The Salvation Army, so other people can fill their houses with our stuff! Hopefully someone will appreciate it. Although I still have my doubts about those sweatpants.

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