I ended up spending eight hours cleaning house today, and even made it out to the front yard to pull out the weeds from my garden. As I made my way around the house, I found items for the tag sale from both kids' closets, the foyer closet, the basement, and the garage. I also filled a large green garbage bag with about a hundred dried up magic markers, at least fifty broken crayons, scribbled out coloring books, old shoe boxes, and other miscellaneous mishmash that was lying around for who knows what reason.
By the end of the day I had made tremendous progress; but I'd never have been able to do it without the "rules of engagement" I created as I moved room-to-room:
- Toss any magazine published prior to 2007. Editorial content really doesn't change that dramatically year-to-year. I've finally made it a new rule to keep the previous year plus current year and get rid of the rest (via recycling, of course!)
- Group magazines by type. When I finally gathered my publications from all corners of the house, I sorted them by name or type. It was so much easier it to stow them away in an organized manner. Now I can know exactly where to find an issue of O! or one of my writing pubs when I need it.
- Invest 30 minutes to test art supplies. By the time I'd finished doing a quick scribble on a scratch pad, I'd whittled down ten years worth of dried up markers into one bucket. The visual effect of "clean" was amazing.
- Take advantage of "quick throughs." When I started to lose steam but wasn't quite ready to call it a day, I did a "quick through" of the next target on my list -- the garage. I quickly cleaned off a shelving unit (mostly garbage) and sorted through a bunch of stuff strewn on the floor -- sand toys went in the sandbox, balls into the bin, lacrosse sticks together against the wall. Things are now organized enough that when I go in for the deep clean, I have a head start and the task won't be so overwhelming.
- Change the scenery. I had spent the last six months attempting to clean out my loft but got "stuck;": I was no longer making progress but instead just rearranging what was there. I left the loft and began working on other parts of the house: a closet, a drawer, a cupboard. Working on different rooms got me "unstuck" and let me begin feeling the effect of "clean" all around the house.