Stirrup Queens had a good idea for protesting the SOPA bill: “I want to highlight the good that comes from the online world instead of withdrawing our sites in order to teach a lesson.” So she put together a round-up of bloggers offering advice on one topic they excel at.
At first, I was stumped. I honestly don’t think I do ANYTHING well. But then I realized there was a compliment routinely bestowed upon me by friends and family.
I am consistently told I keep a neat house. Which is pretty true.
1. We have a cleaner who comes twice a month. But this is new. And probably won’t last, due to financial constraints.
2. I am the kind of person who cares a lot what people think.
2. I SUCK at decorating and my carpets have stains.
OK, so what I AM good at is keeping messes out of sight. And this was even true when I lived in a small space.
Here’s how I keep clutter at a minimum:
1. I go through all of my stuff regularly: clothes, books, toys, cosmetics, movies. I am ruthless about getting rid of things that I haven’t used after 6 months.
2. I love having yard sales, selling furniture on Craig’s List and clothes through consignment stores. Not much makes me happier than making money from things I don’t use anymore. Also totally gratifying? Gathering up stuff that doesn’t sell and driving it over to Goodwill. Drop-off is easy and donations are tax-deductible.
3. I don’t purchase a lot of material goods in the first place. Not for any particularly noble reason, but mostly because if I buy something it has to be perfect. That’s why I love my Chanel purse, and don’t have any other handbags. I was taught to buy quality not quantity by a former co-worker. It’s a lesson I’ve taken to heart. Things I buy are generally built to last.
4. Things I will NEVER get rid of: a few important items imbued with sentimental value. The Amish quilt my in-laws gave us when we got engaged. The wedding china my parents purchased for us in our first year of marriage. The family photos and inherited paintings from my husband’s grandmother. My grandmother’s jeweled broach. These items may not have much financial value, but when I see them and touch them, they actually bring me joy.
In terms of keeping the house clean, every day I tidy each room and clean certain areas regularly: once a week I mop the floors in the kitchen and bathrooms. The kids are expected to put away their toys after playing. I learned long ago that it’s much easier to work a little each day than do a massive clean-up every few weeks. But this was a skill I picked up that’s basically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: I cleaned every day for a month, then it became a permanent habit.
I also invite friends over a lot: both personal friends and play-dates. That keeps me honest.
Darcy would want me to tell you that sometimes I don’t do the dishes. Which is true. And I’m bad at keeping on top of laundry 😉