Monday, January 4, 2010

Cleaning up for 2010

My husband and I spent much of the long weekend cleaning up and cleaning out.
Why is it that once we put away the Christmas tree, the Santa collection and the Christmas stockings we feel the need to put our house in order?
It happens every year. Once the big box department stores pull out their plastic storage bins after Christmas, I start thinking of ways to organize our stuff to fit in the house we outgrew more than a decade ago.
It actually started at our house the week we put up our Christmas tree. The tree sits beside a built-in bookcase/ entertainment center that hadn’t been cleaned out in years. Case in point, we still had VHS tapes of Barbie movies watched by our daughter, who turns 16 next month.
Once that corner was cleared out to make room for the tree, I had room to sit down and clean out that movie cabinet. We made stacks of VHS tapes we had bought and some we had recorded ourselves and tossed them. That left room in the cabinet for the stack of school photos that has found a home on top of the stereo for years. I kept them there so they wouldn’t get bent. I had no other place to put them in our cramped house. Really. My high school- and college-age kids’ elementary school photos were in that stack, that’s how long it had been there.
All other organizing was put on hold until this weekend.
On Friday morning, I headed to the kitchen and started taking down old notes from the refrigerator. No need to keep that reminder about a dental appointment from six months ago, right? And what about that recipe for slow cooker ribs that has been in the top corner of the refrigerator for six or seven years? Friday seemed like a good time to remove it and put it in my recipe folder.
My son came in while I was doing this, and he was bitten by the clean-up bug. For the next hour or two, he helped me scrub down the outside and top of the refrigerator and then helped his dad clean out the interior.
I de-cluttered the cookbook shelves in the my kitchen, removing cookbooks that hadn’t been opened in years. They went to another closet where I had some storage room left. The uncluttered bookshelves left room to better display pieces from my pottery collection.
I dusted, stacked up old magazines to give a co-worker and threw out junk mail that had accumulated over the holidays. My husband mopped the floors.
Then came the big organizational task: What should we do with our granddaughter’s mounting pile of toys? I didn’t want them to remain piled into the big plastic storage box we bought months ago. Her toys have too many pieces now, and they get lost when they’re all thrown into a big box. So I splurged and bought a set of shelves that came with a dozen plastic bins. We were able to put Playmobil in one bin, Duplo in another. Dolls fit in a large bin alongside a bin that holds an electronic camera that talks to you — even when you prefer it to stay quiet. I’m very proud of the toy arrangement and my much-more organized house.
I haven’t done everything that needs to be done, of course. There are still drawers that need to be gone through and a hall linen closet that is definitely lacking in organization. I also have a very large stack full of recipes that need to be placed in a binder.
But it seems good to me to have so much accomplished. To have a fresh, much cleaner, start to the new year.

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