Full disclosure: I did not get through all the cleaning chores listed here last week. Did you?
But I vacuumed the entire house, both floors. Completed the magickal sweeping and mopping (that oil infusion combo in the mop water is yummy! And I prepared my lemon-and-orange-infused vinegar to use next time. My husband and son also picked all the lemons off our tree, and Paul sliced and vacuum-bagged them in the freezer, so we will have fresh lemon in our water and tea all summer. Yum.
In addition to the thorough spring-cleaning of our home of 20 years, I'm also attempting to pare down and de-clutter. It's a daunting task, so I'm concentrating on only three clutter categories:
- This is the hardest category for me because I absolutely love books. But I don't like to re-read them, with a few notable exceptions, like the Harry Potter series. So why keep them all?
To give up my cherished friends, I had to shift my mindset from eliminating to sharing. In that new mindset, I was able to take four boxes of books to the used bookstores in town. The move also prompted me to fill out paperwork and apply to have my own book, Song of the Ancients, accepted at Changing Hands.
exchange, plus a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
I stole the poison garden books idea from Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Plants. In her NY Times interview, she talked about her own poison garden. The books there are half-buried, or nailed to shelves so their pages turn in the breeze. Autopsy for an Empire, with its dried-blood-colored jacket, is planted beside the hellebore, which the Greeks used to poison the water of their enemies.
"I wanted the sense that the book I'm writing is coming out of the ground," she explained. I loved that image.
We've filled the shredder a dozen times with old tax files, receipts, out-of-date instruction pamphlets, appliance warranties, greeting cards. I also sorted through our photographs and eliminated the duplicates, unflattering or boring shots. There were so many! Paul plans to scan many more, but I won't hold my breath.< > Another really tough chore. But now it's done. The boxes and bags are neatly stacked and labeled by donation site in the garage. One whole closet of my good work suits for a charity that specializes in outfitting women for job interviews. A stack of boxes for The Clothes House, which gives clothes to the homeless, and also launders their clothes for free, so they won't just be tossed when soiled. Another charity that has a free store for families who live in my part of Chandler.
- Once those boxes and bags are gone—it'll take me about another week to make the deliveries—we will have 1 ½ bays of our garage open. Wow! We'll have room to park a car! Oh, and to store the half-dozen additional boxes of more expensive things, like crystal and collectibles we've inherited from both sets of parents, but that our sons have said they don't want.
So, the cleaning and decluttering saga is progressing, but not finished.
Until next week, keep those brooms and dustpans busy!