Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Cleaning Your Heart and Home....Part ONE

For over fourteen years we lived in the mountains where I gained a better understanding of the whole "spring cleaning" phenomenon.
You see, most of us here in (mostly) sunny California have no real idea of why spring cleaning is necessary. Yet, after living in the mountains for over 14 years I have a much better understanding. As many of you who live in even colder, more isolated climates could possibly explain even better to me, I experienced how much grime built up after a long winter of fires in the fireplace. When the house remained closed up for months on end, it would be in dire need of a good airing out. Opening the windows and letting the fresh air in became vitally necessary once the warm weather arrived.
Think about our closets, cupboards and drawers, how we let things build up and become such a mess. There are things lying on the closet floor that we keep on tripping over, clothes that no longer fit us, stuff that needs to be thrown out. There are things cluttered all the way into the nooks and crannies.
It gets so out of control that we feel like it is just too much to deal with, so the mess continues.
Let me offer a plan of attack for Spring Cleaning Your HOME and your HEART!

Beginning with our homes.....

First of all you must get a plan. Set aside some time to conquer the task. Get out your calendar and figure out when is the best time for you to EMBARK upon the task of doing a little spring cleaning!! Figure out what you want to accomplish first, for me it is my Master Closet.

Next step; Gather your tools: EQUIP
Gather whatever cleaning products you will need for the project at hand. In addition, get 3 large trash bags; one marked THROW AWAY, one marked GIVE AWAY and one marked PUT AWAY.

THROW AWAY: is pretty self-descriptive. This is for the trash and junk you will find as you dig in. For those paint pants that are now more paint than pant, ditch them!

GIVE AWAY: is for the things that you no longer wear/need but it is still in good condition and can bless someone else. I usually think of a specific charity I can give to. Some examples I have given to are: Teen Parents (new moms who could use some clothes/shoes/purses/etc), Teen Challenge (women and men who are in a recovery program and probably have limited ability to gain clothing and such. I have also given to Women's Shelters (where women have fled abusive situations and often have had to do so with only the clothes on their backs). There are many more...these are just some of what I have been associated with.

PUT AWAY: is for the stuff that has made it's way into your closet that belongs elsewhere in the house. I actually use a laundry basket instead of a trash bag for this category sometimes so it is easier to see what I have.

Okay you have set aside your time, you have gathered your tools and now the day has is time to get to it.

The first thing you do is: EMPOWER.

I literally stand in the doorway to my closet and say a little prayer. I pray that God will direct me, that He will shed His light onto the nooks and crannies to every little bit I need to dig out and clean up. I pray He will give me the endurance I need to get the job done....

Now it is time to dig in and begin to EXPOSE all the stuff in my closet. To begin pulling things off the shelves, off the racks....

Then you will EVALUATE each item. Is it something that you cherish, definitely keep it. If it is a sweater that you just keep on passing up in the closet and not wearing, then it is time to let it go. If it is something you never did's time to say bye-bye to it. If those flip flops from last summer have seen their day, just toss them. The process will continue as you pour over each item in your closet. You might come across some things that you just cannot decide about..that happens! Set it aside, you might have a trusted friend come and assist you in making those final decisions. It is always easier for someone else to see objectively what is junk and what is not. I usually ask my daughters and they are honest with me about what I need to let go of.

ENDURE!!! It is an exhausting process.
At one point you might need to stop and take a break, re-evaluate, sip a tall glass of iced tea, get some fresh air.....

BUT don't stay away long or you might not get back to it....and you need to come back...there are some surprises waiting for you!! Which is where we will pick up next time........................................

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