Cleanliness and Clutter

Happy First of May! On New Years Eve I make resolutions. Lots of them. On my birthday I set goals for my year. And, on May 1st I begin my spring cleaning.  This is mainly so I can free up my summer hours for fun, sun, and reading.

With that in mind I started where I always do with things, at my library. I picked up two books. The first, The Complete Book of Clean, Tips and Techniques for Your Home is by Toni Hammersley from A Bowl Full of Lemons. The second was The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t all Over the Place by Jennifer McCartney. Obviously, I’m torn.

Toni Hammersley’s website is gorgeous. I have been reading A Bowl Full of Lemons for years. Two years ago I purchased her budget worksheets and they were wonderful. They really laid out where I was going wrong in my spending. She is great at coming up with plans, explaining them, and sharing them with people.

Her last book, The Complete Book of Home Organization was beautiful and I loved paging through it but I knew that my home would never look like hers. I just don’t care enough to get my rooms that beautifully organized and de-cluttered. But still, I was excited to get a peek at her Complete Book of Clean because even if I don’t care if my rooms to look Pinterest-ready I absolutely want a clean home.

I got Complete Book of Clean home and I immediately flipped to the middle. This is a bad habit of mine with non-fiction books. Years ago I made a New Year’s resolution to always read the introduction and view the table of contents before leaping into the book (see? I make them!). This resolution was made for books like this. When you open Toni’s book to the middle your eyes are smacked (with no warning at all) with a photo of her gorgeous, immaculate refrigerator. It is full of organized fresh fruits and veggies. And right there next to that image is tip #63. This is a reminder and instructions on how to dust the condenser. Ummmm, what? I’m still ogling her fresh out-of-the-shell coconut and wondering how she accomplished that feat without a hammer and tears and she wants me to dust a part of my fridge that no one can see?!?

This is why you start with the introduction. Toni and A Bowl Full of Lemons has never been the idea of perfection.  It is all a process.  So, I flipped back to the introduction.  Sure enough there she is letting me know,

“Every day, I find myself sweeping the floors, wiping up spills, picking up glitter and straightening pillows on the sofa. An hour later, I do it all overt again. Messes are a part of life, and cleaning them up is essential to our well-being. Whether you live in a 4,000-square-foot home or a small one-bedroom apartment, implementing a cleaning routine is the key to success.”

With this in mind, I went tip by tip through the book. There are an alarming number of things that Toni believes needs to be done once a week that I, frankly, never do. I DO wash the toothbrushes once a week. However, I DO NOT dust the window treatments once a week. She absolutely has higher standards than I.

While the routine may not be completely for me, this book is a veritable bible of how to clean your home. And Toni really emphasizes natural make-it-yourself cleaners. I had a unbelievably good time flushing my drains with salt, baking soda, vinegar and boiling water. It was like a happy little science experiment! And, I made toilet bombs. They are like bath bombs but they make cleaning your toilet a breeze and your bathroom smells minty fresh. Toni also recommends de-cluttering as you clean which makes the job easier every time. She has a 31-day purge that is supposed get things going….in the direction of the donation center.

And here is where The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place comes into play.  There are a LOT of books out there that will tell you that your life will be less stressful and more peaceful if you just let go of stuff (ahem, Konmari method).  As a book lover and full blown Nerd – I took the quiz – I have a huge collection of books and all the cool quirky adorable Nerd-like things you can collect.  This includes a burgeoning collection of Funko Pops.  (I tried to resist but damn you baby Groot, you are irresistible!).

I am also a crafter.  Which is why I already had the silicone molds, mason jars and ample baking soda required to make and store the natural cleaners and toilet bombs. I play several musical instruments.  I have a dog and two cats.  I have stuff that is important to me that belonged to members of my family or were given to me by people special to me.  This is not clutter. These are my things. They are the difference between my house and my home.

According to The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place I am winning at life. Jennifer McCartney’s book is hilarious and validating for people who love things. Some minimalist methods allege that books are clutter and direct you to rip out pages and throw away the rest. NO! Books are friends! If you don’t love them you don’t kill them. And I would certainly rather practice my music, play with family and friends, or sew something than unpack my purse.

However, as enjoyable as this book is, it did make me aware that I do not feel comfortable with all of my clutter. I cannot stand piles of papers or clothes all over everywhere. And, I really hate picking up things I was too lazy to put away just so I can vacuum.

It seems that am somewhere in between. So, what to do? I have decided to try A Bowl Full of Lemons decluttering.  I have things I could donate and I could certainly get rid of stacks of papers and magazines. That way, the light will be shown on the items in my house that really make it a home. And, when people come over to visit those things will all be dusted.


6 thoughts on “Cleanliness and Clutter

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  1. I am on a mission! I am off to the library to find these books. If that fails then Barnes and Noble here I come. It want my house clean before the sun shines again. Last week my grandchild handed me a clump of dog and possibly cat fur and asked me, “Nana, is this alive?”. Definitely time to clean. I could spin that fur??? No! It is time to clean!

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