This week, the dishwasher at our new home bit the dust. It was an awful machine to begin with, so we weren’t really surprised, but it has thrown us back to the good ol’ days of hand washing all our dishes. It’s not so bad, actually — especially when you do them in tandem with good conversation.
Right after the dishwasher died, Kyle and I boxed up about half of our dishes. We knew this would make hand washing easier because it would keep us from lazily using more dishes than we really needed.
So far, it’s true. We have far fewer dishes to wash than if we still used the dishwasher as our default. We’ve kept the extra stored within easy reach, so that when we have company, we can easily pull out the extra plates we need.
It’s silly, of course, because we could do the same thing with the same results with our dishwasher — but because the machine is doing all the work, it doesn’t hurt as much to just let the dishes pile up throughout the day.
This exercise was a good precursor for Spring Cleaning Week, starting this Monday here at Simple Mom. It all comes down to one of my favorite all-time quotes, from 19th century architect William Morris:
“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Is everything in your home useful or beautiful? Really?
We can clean and organize our homes all week, but without getting rid of stuff, it won’t be long until the place is a mess again.
To get a jump start on next week’s spring cleaning exercise, take some time this weekend and evaluate all your possessions with this mantra in mind. Does every item in your home make your family happy? Does the item add to your home, your life, your family? Or if you were truly honest, would you say it’s more of a burden?
If it’s a burden in any way, get rid of it. It’s not worth the valuable real estate between your four walls.
On Monday, we’ll be going slightly more in-depth with the process of decluttering, so I’ll bring up this quote again. It’s also the cornerstone theme in my e-book on spring cleaning, and I honestly find it useful in most areas of my life.
Tuesday, we’ll focus more specifically on the kitchen, the living room, and outdoor spaces; Wednesday’s post will discuss the value of cleaning with non-toxic materials; on Thursday, we’ll focus on the bedrooms and bathrooms; and finally on Friday, Mandi of Organizing Your Way will feature more in-depth organizing tips.
Our family is pretty good about keeping to the essentials because of our whirlwind lifestyle and the many international moves we’ve endured. Even so, in just this past week of unpacking, I have four boxes headed to Goodwill, three to Half-Price Books, and another with items to be posted on Craigslist. I’m no longer surprised that there’s always one more thing I can part with.
And it feels good.
Your assignment to gear up for Spring Cleaning Week?
Get an empty box and start tossing. Use the e-book’s suggestions for making your decisions on what stays and what goes, and be mesmerized at how great it actually feels to get rid of those things you think you can’t live without.
When you take a break, watch The Story of Stuff and be convicted, and then watch this classic scene from The Jerk and laugh:
Don’t be a jerk.
What stuff in your home do you need to get rid of?