Sunday, June 20, 2010

Room by Room de-Cluttering

A few months ago, I wrote about some on-going de-cluttering using a new (to me) technique. I de-clutter on a fairly regular basis, but there are always those areas that, when neglected for a while, need some special attention.

Over the past 7 weeks, I haven't been attentive to the house as I normally am. Between trying to exercise regularly, attending community/civic meetings, the co-op sale, the yard sale, some travel and some camping, I was left with less time to tend to my domestic duties and things were piling up in various areas. The cleaning lady was scheduled to come this past Friday and I feel very strongly that everything needs to be in it's place for my house to look it's best after she comes.

So, I started last weekend by doing a laundry marathon. I did 11 loads of laundry in 3 days. Yep, 11. Because we are thrift store shoppers and because Mr. Quimby and I have not gained or lost a lot of weight in the past few years, we all have a lot of clothes. With the exception of the girls underwear, we can easily go two weeks without doing laundry after I finish a laundry marathon. I was fortunate that one of the days of my laundry marathon was a day I had at home without kids. It was a random occurence because I had to change my work schedule to attend a conference, but Mr. Q. stayed home one day to mind the girls which left me with an extra free day.

In-between and after I finished the laundry marathon, I started in our multi-purpose room (guest room/home office/play room). I sorted through toys and papers, re-arranged a couple minor things, and placed anything that didn't belong in that room into a basket. I forced myself to stay in the room and not leave while I was doing this. Then I took the basket throughout the house, putting away those things. This wasn't a "deep" de-cluttering, meaning I didn't clean out drawers and closets, it was more of what I call a "surface" de-cluttering. But I was careful to not just clear off the tops and shove things in drawers. I already have a pre-established place for everything, so it wasn't too difficult. In retrospect, using the basket was key for me. If I had left the room mid-clean to put away things, there's a very good likelihood that I would have gotten distracted.

Throughout the week, I didn't exercise at night, Mr. Q. took on even more of the child rearing than usual, and we were careful to pick up and keep organized those spaces that I had already been through. I worked my way through every room in the house.

I found that there were things that had just blended into the woodwork - some Christmas cards on a shelf in the china cabinet, handmade hats (FROM LAST SUMMER) on display on top of the entertainment center, some tiny "catch-all" baskets in our "reception area*" that were overflowing with, um, tiny bits of detrius.

By late (late) Thursday night, the house was looking great. Then it looked even better on Friday afternoon after the cleaning lady left. It made me feel proud when she commented that the house was even more picked up than it usually is.

My sister borrowed my copy of Unclutter Your Life in One Week and while she has also found that it's hard to actually do it in only a single week, she's made some good progress as well. The girls and I went to visit her this evening and her place is looking great. I was commenting to her about the things I had found in my de-cluttering that had just blended into the woodwork. We thought that it might be helpful if, once we each get most of our de-cluttering done, we could help each other by pointing out things in the other's space that had been missed.

So, there's my new-ish plan for room by room decluttering.


Helen said...

I think I may need to consult with you on de-cluttering.

Elaine said...

No, Helen, consult with my friend who wrote the book. Read it. It takes a couple of hours, but it's well worth it.

Congrats, Ellen!


Laurie said...

So, what do you do with the handmade hats from last summer?

I also think the basket was a big time saver. I usually just run all over the house putting things away - time killer.

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