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 Ready, Set, Clean
from a Saver of Quite a Lot!

by pamela spurling

Now, those of you who know me… I mean walk with me, see me, spend time here in our home, know that I am: a saver. I’m not just a saver, I’m a saver of quite a lot. I just like to keep all the little reminders, all the mementos of times past. I love to see gifts I’ve been given, I have them all over… to remember the events and the faces and times… I love to look at old pictures and remember the stories. I’ve loved all this so long that… guess what?!? I have a dilemma and the dilemma is that one can only keep so much and one can only remember so much and then there’s no room in the home and there’s no room in the mind for all that’s been kept. So what to do? What do we do? That’s the question. Do we toss it all out? Well, for a saver of quite a lot, this is a nightmare; it’s terribly difficult---if not down right impossible. Well, I will share with you a couple of things that have helped me this week.

I decided to clean our closet… and the reason I’m sharing this all with you all today is that maybe some of you *need* to clean out your closets but have made excuses and given every reason not to face the daunting task. See, I’ve made all those excuses too and could take on any possible activity in order to avoid cleaning that closet. Yet, now that it’s clean, I cannot figure out why it took so long to do it!

So if you’re a saver, take it from me, *a saver of quite a lot*, you really CAN tackle that job and it really is worth doing… First, set aside some time… for me this was sort of an ongoing project at first. I don’t recommend this method because the job just seems to linger and never get done; but what it did was this: it totally got me motivated to once and for all get that job done. So, here’s what happened when I got serious and set about to get it done.

I planned dinner/got part of it ready.

That was the most important facet that day. When I know what we’re having for dinner (early in the day) and have at least part of it prepared, I can really go to town, so to speak, and accomplish a great deal!

Then, that little matter out of the way, I started in.

I took two days to complete this project. Were it to have been less cluttered with keepsakes and letters, I’d have gotten it done in one. But alas, remember… a saver of quite a lot has quite a lot to deal with in the end. The first day I removed half of the contents. I put them on the bed (a personal incentive to get the bed cleaned off before bedtime) and continued emptying until I could see the floor and all the clothes were hanging straight.

Then… and this is critical: I gathered boxes and bags. A box for storage; A box of things that didn’t belong in our room(!) to go elsewhere in our home; A bag for trash; A bag for give away; A bag for things that need to be returned to other people.

I then went through my husband’s clothes and reordered them. I only got rid of a couple of things I was absolutely certain didn’t fit or were beyond repair. ***Seriously, never get rid of husband’s things without his expressed consent per item. I say this because many wives, intending to do a favor, have offended their husband by throwing out a “favourite item” or have been seen as critical/careless for choosing to toss out items. The decision may have been well intentioned but was not taken that way. As I went through his things, I made sure to order them by need, use, season, and because I’ve always hung his clothing by colour, I reordered them that way, too. This didn’t take much time at all. Then came the filling of the bags and boxes… which left that pile. You know the pile. It’s all the “what in the world do I do with this” stuff. So… same rules applied. Do I need it? Do I know who made it? Does it go in the keepsake box or do I just let it go? Does it go to something somewhere else in the house? Does it belong to someone else? Is it worth looking at again in a year? Do I like it? Do I EVER wear it? WILL I ever wear it? Does it fit? Should it just be given away or would nobody want this? Many items I just sort of raced to their rightful place… this made the cleaning sort of a game and it was really enjoyable.

Then I set about cleaning all the rest the next morning. Same thing… dinner and chores then I was ready to go. I continued filling boxes and bags.

I did compromise in one part… all the memorabilia I couldn’t decide to part with went into a Rubbermaid bin. It will one day join the other boxes and bins I have in our storage closet. In it are papers, cards, letter, nic knacks, pictures, newspapers from significant days in history, clippings of articles, hair… life. There’s also a bad of stuffed animals… some dolls. Things that once had prominent places on beds or shelves in children’s bedrooms. So I carefully put those boxes and bins on the top shelf of the closet along with the bag of stuffed animals. Then I put the baby/maternity clothes next to those. Those were hard things to pack up. I sort of felt like a little girl who packs away crayons and marbles and dolls and toys when she realizes she’s no longer a little girl… but doesn’t want to have it be totally over. For nearly 24 years I’ve been wearing, not wearing, wearing maternity clothes. I’ve always been getting ready for another baby and so maternity clothes have seemingly always hung in my closet and maternity under things have always been in my drawers. It was time to put them in boxes… but I didn’t, or rather I couldn’t, send them away. You know, hope springs eternal. Then I refolded my clothes on my closet shelves so that they looked as neat as my husband’s which I’d done the day before. Then I emptied out the bin of shoes and kept only the ones I *really* wear and got rid of the rest. All that done, I vacuumed the floor and put the shoes in place. I went to take some clothes to the cleaners. ---yes, I stopped what I was doing and took them right then.

Coming home, thinking I was done, I remembered one more thing: a rack for my husband’s ties and belts. Fortunately for me, he’d come home (with the drill in his truck) and I was able to quickly hang up the rack and then hang the ties and belts. I’d gotten that rack a long time ago :-( didn’t get around to hanging it. It’s a 15” rack used for towels inside a cabinet and the ‘rods’ slide out making it easy to hang things.

So then the whole closet was clean… then came the rest of our room. This was actually the simple part with the *now clean* closet. It was the motivator of the whole thing anyway. I changed the sheets, fixed up the baby’s bed and her clothes [we still have our little sidekick ;-) with us] and her toy basket. My husband’s dresser needed tidying so that was quick and easy! After a thorough vacuuming, it was all done. There are still some things I need to go through under the bed… but they’re not cluttered or messy… I just need to decide if I will keep them or not…

So… my intent in sharing this with you today was hopefully not to bore you… but to encourage you to enjoy the tremendous feeling of a clean__________________. A clean closet, drawer, purse, shelf, refrigerator, sink, jacket… whatever! I know if you’ve put things off you may feel like you’ll never get things done, but it’s so worth it to try and tackle even one thing. Even if you’re *a saver of quite a lot* like me.

See… a saver of quite a lot has quite a lot to save… things that one day will cause grown children to cry… things that will one day cause those same children to say through their tears: why on earth did she save this… and another will say, O, because she was a saver of quite a lot!

many blessings,
        `·.¸.·´pamela spurling … a saver of quite a lot.  © 2003   © 19992010   PO Box 2130 Snohomish, Washington 98291 USA
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