Time to clean again

Spring is in the air. If my mother were here, she would say it’s time for “spring cleaning.”
I still remember how we used to take down the curtains, scrub the closets, and beat the carpets (before the days of vacuum cleaners).
At one time, our house had been an inn where weary travellers could get a good night’s sleep and receive a nourishing breakfast before their next day’s travels.
That was 100 years before we lived in the 12-room house. But every spring, we had to deep clean all eight bedrooms—even though five were very rarely used.
Now we have seven rooms in our house, and only two are bedrooms. You would think it would be more manageable, but there is one serious catch.
In my mother’s house, all we had to do was scrub the walls, clean the floors, and wash the curtains.
There was absolutely no clutter! Our precious things were displayed and most everything else was in daily use.
As a result, the two of us could clean the whole house and have it sparkling in two or three days.
I hate to hark back to “the good old days.” But I really wish I could back up to 40 years ago when we had no clutter–a time when we could pack our household effects in a two-wheel trailer and move across the country.
If I could start over, I would have had only two pairs of sheets per bed. I would have used my towels until they were threadbare and then bought new ones.
I would have given away my daughter’s cute red coat and legging set, and my son’s first tiny suit and tie. And I would have given duplicate wedding gifts to someone who needed them.
I would not have bought 150 feet of bookshelves, but instead would have made myself cull the valueless books from my collection.
And most of all, I would not have accumulated five four-drawer file cabinets of paper! That’s especially foolish when researchers report that 80-90 percent of paper that is filed is never looked at again.
And I would imagine the same percentages apply to storage boxes and sheds!
Our possessions have made spring cleaning almost impossible! Cleaning the floors, walls, and curtains is just the tip of the iceberg.
Judi Culbertson, in “The Clutter Cure,” has some suggestions that can help you deal with your overwhelming clutter:
1). Understand your compulsion to hold on to things.
2). Envision and create rooms that make you comfortable and happy.
3). Take action by donating, discarding, or selling the things you don’t love or need.
It’s that simple–it just takes time.
But don’t let shortage of time get in your way. Think about how much time you spend looking for lost keys or a book.
And how often you have lost a check or an important document.
Culbertson says the goal is having a beautiful, functional house. A house that is more than a giant container for your stuff!
So why not get started with your spring cleaning today. Begin dealing with your clutter, leaving the walls and floors for the end. And don’t expect to finish in two days, or even a week.
But no matter how long it takes, de-cluttering is worth it.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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