Being uber-careful of various Chinese superstitions about cleaning before/during/after the New Year, I still had the lofty goal of a clean and organized house before the end of the holiday. I was “mean-mom” by not scheduling an exotic trip, and since the novelty of attending super-crowded festivals in the cold has worn off, the prospect of “fun” was limited. But I tried to make a plan, and for the most part, was pleased with the results.
I have two daughters. One is willing to clean with me during short spurts of time, and she doesn’t hold on to too much. As a matter of fact, sometimes I have to keep things that she is too willing to part with. The other daughter is a hoarder and cannot bear to part with anything. She loves old school papers, empty candy wrappers, tickets to anything, and she has no inner motivation to do anything about it. I was determined to have the three of us spend time cleaning up our acts, so to speak, and organize our lives.
Needless to say, this idea didn’t initially go over too well. However, I tried to put a plan in place that we’d tackle one goal a day, and then reward ourselves with a treat. Day one, my youngest and I went through her desk area (including floor space, where most things end up), and my oldest would do the same. The former did a pretty good job, if not totally complete; and the latter flopped around on the floor, picked up two things, then wanted to take a lunch break. We did manage to make some progress, and baking together during the afternoon was the reward.
Day two was going through all of the books on everyone’s bookshelves – keep, donate, or save for sentimental reasons. Another big chore, but it got done, and we went out to Decathlon to purchase the oft-requested tennis racquet and basketball.
The week went on and both were clearly not as enthusiastic as I was about finishing. Occasionally, the girls would stage a protest and stall on any progress. I told them that was ok; whatever they did not finish by the end of the week, I would do for them. They knew I meant it, so I suddenly got help.
I’m amazed at the number of bags we had for trash or recycling, how many boxes we have for donation, and how much clutter we are clearing out. It’s embarrassing, actually. My hopeful goal of getting to every room in the house was a bit too much, but it’s enough of a start that I am determined to get to the rest on my own, declaring that if-I-don’t-love-it-then-out-it-goes.
We’re beginning to feel spring creep upon us, my favorite season of the year. This jump start on spring cleaning is a wonderful beginning!
This post first appeared here on February 18, 2013.
Photo by planeta via Flickr.