Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cleaning house

I got a summer job (and they've asked me to stay on as a permanent employee) as a housekeeper. So now I clean for a living. Not that I'm OCD and am always cleaning and straitening things anyway...

It goes in spurts, actually. My room will be a total mess for a while and then I'll finally clean it, which usually involves getting rid of a large number of possessions. Then it usually gets messy again pretty quickly (although it helps that I now have no car and almost no money, so I don't go out and buy a whole lot of stuff these days).

But now I clean for a living - specifically, I clean units after someone leaves, or before someone comes in. So I not only clean the actual dirt, but I also see the units without personal possessions, only the dishes/decorations/furniture/etc that we provide for the guests. There's no linen closet with 20 sets of twin sheets stuffed into it, no closets with 50 board games, and no huge bookshelves that still need an overflow box for books that don't fit. The beds are made, and we leave 1 extra set of sheets per bed, 2 sets of towels per person, a specific number of soaps, etc, and everything has a specific place. So every day I'm in furnished, decorated, livable units, but without all the excess unnecessary stuff everywhere.

As a result, I'm now getting a little bit obsessive (more than I already was) about not just putting things up, but actually having a place for everything. In other words, having few enough possessions that they can all be put away and belong somewhere. If you have a lot of things you don't use, there won't be space for it all, and you can never find the things you want to use, and there are things you would use, but you forget you have it because you can't see it under all the other things.

So in the past few days, we've gone through the cooking utensil jars by the stove, 2 utensil drawers, the cup cabinet, the video/dvd shelf, the game room, and the book shelf (including the overflow box).

In the kitchen we found (just from what I can remember):

  • 4 ice cream scoops (we kept 2)
  • 3 manual can openers (kept 1)
  • 4 cord shorteners (kept none)
  • around 10 each of big cooking spoons, small cooking spoons, rubber spatulas, and turners (kept a few)
  • about 6 whisks, several of them the exact same sizes (kept a few)
  • 8 sippy cups (for just 2 sippy-cup-using grandkids) (kept 4)
  • a set of 3 of something, we're not sure what they are (kept, I was going to see if I could look up what they were)
  • 2 EZ 3-way openers we don't know how to use (kept none)
  • 4 pizza cutters (kept 2)
There was a lot more stuff, but it was more normal things (or things it's more normal to have duplicates of) like measuring spoons.

While the kitchen drawers/jars were full and hard to open, we had to get rid of a bunch of DVDs because the movie shelf was actually over capacity. For a long time, we've had movies stacked in front of movies, and a few on the floor in front of the shelf. So now we are at exactly 100% of the shelf's capacity, as opposed to 150%. One in, one out! I know that's a hard rule to follow, and it's very stressful for some people to "out" items, but the alternative is to "in" without "outing" and be stressed by the overflow of stuff in the house.

Here's a picture of a Goodwill run we had:

1 bag is some old baby clothes my sister had had in the attic, 1 is some of her old school books, and the rest of the bags are books from the shelf/overflow box in the living room.

What do you have in your house that you really don't need?

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