Declutter Tips

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Defrazzle and De-Clutter!

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My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares, why should you?

Erma Bombeck

Ahh, the fresh breezes, the delightful birdsong, new buds in the garden, and sunny, cloudless days - Spring is here! What is it about Spring that makes us want to clean? Well, I think it's more that we perhaps like the idea of Spring Cleaning until we get started, pull everything apart, and then get demoralized about the mess we've just made cleaning up! Cleaning is not my strong point. When I get a clear run at it I do a pretty thorough job and actually enjoy it, but what mom gets a clear run at anything? How can you cope when the urge hits (besides simply ignoring it!)? Here are some tips

* Write up a plan - realize that a thorough Spring clean will take some time. Divide your house into blocks and give yourself ample time to complete each block. My house is a 4-level split, so one block is a level. I take three months to thoroughly clean each level. * Organize childcare - Once your plan is complete, choose the day of the week that you will really dedicate to the task (I like every second Saturday) and arrange for the kids and your husband to be out of the house for at least 8 hours.

* Prepare food in advance - make sure you have something light ready to eat quickly at lunch time, and supper prepared in advance (crock-pots are great for this). Drink plenty of water to keep your focus sharp and energy high.

* Have the right tools handy - Put everything you need in a caddy or bucket to save time and energy running up and down stairs for tools. Use toxin free products so you aren't getting tired and fuzzy-headed from overexposure to chemicals. Use aromatherapy (like citrus oils) to keep you feeling positive as you clean.

* Put energizing music on the stereo- pick something that makes you want to sing and dance as you clean. * Turn off the phone - Put your answering machine to good use, and check the calls when you're done.

* Start (and continue) small - Don't rip the whole room apart when you start. Just do one shelf, one drawer, one small section at a time, so that if you must stop before you're completely done, you won't have an overwhelming mess to pick up.

* Put things in their place as you go - Stop every time you complete a section to put misplaced items away where they belong.

So, now that you have a plan for "sane" decluttering and cleaning, have at it!

Darlene Hull

Darlene Hull is the creator of the free "Mom-Defrazzler tool" - 52 Tips for Moms to get from Chaos to Calm in One Year and the "Merry Moms" newsletter, a weekly humour e-zine to help moms defrazzle with laughter. You can download this tool and newsletter on her website at

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