Photo credit DCI
Most people's homes and lives are going to be different than what ours is like, but when it comes to spring cleaning, we have some items that everybody deals with and tries to check off their to-do list. Normally I make a master list of all the things that need to be done in our house and in our lives -- cars, yard, garage, you name it. And I write out this huge master list of all these things that need to be done.
Grab Your Calendar
I can go down that checklist and plan alongside my calendar and say, "Okay, well, we'll try to do this on this week, because we're going to have a little time here," and I'll assign some of the kids to work together as a team. Depending on the age of the kids I'll lead the effort, because if it's anything to do with organizing and cleaning out, the boys have to ask me anyway, and so I have to be there to supervise it. So we team up and we tackle big projects, either trying to get chunks of them done at a time or scheduling it as a full-day project, especially if it's cleaning out the garage.
Set a Timer
One of my favorite books that I've read is Survival of the Busy Woman by Emilie Barnes. I love her approach to cleaning and organizing -- that we don't have time to finish everything that we start, but can make still make a dent in it until it's done. I realized that if I could just clean out two drawers each day, I was making a huge accomplishment in the right direction.
The method is to set a timer for 15 minutes, clean and organize as much as I can in, say, my closet and then stop. It works for me because then I can stop and take care of lunch, school and change diapers. So her book was really helpful for me to figure out how to conquer clutter while maintaining a busy schedule.
Use Keepsake Boxes
We constantly have things coming in and have to manage things going out; otherwise we won't have space to live in. Some of my kids are very sentimental and they want to hang on to everything, and others have an easier time throwing things out, and then they say, "Oh, man, I wish I'd kept that." All the kids have keepsake boxes to put their favorite things in. This really helps when you're trying to get your children to part with a large amount of items that they no longer use.
When my oldest child Josh got married, I gave his wife Anna his keepsake boxes of things. His sisters thought it was pretty funny and said, "Mom, Josh had more boxes than anybody did!" The boxes had all of his stuff he was working on -- like when he'd take apart part of a computer, and he thought, "I'm going to use this part, I'm going to save it," and he put all this stuff in his boxes. After a couple of decades he had tons and tons and tons of stuff!
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