February 20, 2007

Digging Ourselves Out, Day One

From the comments on the Housecleaning post, I think we are clear on two things:

1) There is at least some interest in a Dig Ourselves Out project.
2) None of us want to involve The Fly Lady.

Hey, I'm with you: The Fly Lady has some good ideas, but she's more of a "I want to suck away your entire life" cult than a cleaning program. So! Let's get started. I should warn you that anyone who is saying, "Oh, yes, I am such a slob, I only do a big thorough whole-house cleaning once a week" is going to be appalled by the level at which we are starting. This is more the "Vacuum? Yes, I think I vacuumed last fall. Or was it the fall before that?" level of cleaning.

Today's project is to choose a cluttery problem area and spend 15 minutes cleaning it. I know, I know, Someone Else does "15-minute" cleaning projects, but 15 minutes just happens to be a nice amount of time to spend, and so we are going to adopt that number without worrying too much about where else we might have heard it.

The cluttery problem areas in my house are so legion, it was difficult to choose one, but I chose the kitchen table. Here is what the table looked like Before:

And here is a partial list of things I found while cleaning it:
  • a sleeper with a broken zipper
  • two strawberry-shaped drinking glasses full of pencil shavings
  • a bag of bowls I bought at Target and hadn't decided yet about keeping
  • baby congratulations cards from when the twins were born (June 2005)
  • a block of wood
  • toy plastic lump of green peas
  • paperwork for the truck
  • 2 bins (plus 1 pile) of baby books (I read to the twins while they're in their high chairs)
  • 2 flashlights
  • a metal pint-sized ice cream holder

And here is what the table looked like After:

Better, yes? It's not totally clear, but theoretically people could eat at this table now, and you can see much more of the vinyl leaf-patterned tablecloth I put on there in the fall of 2005. The baby cards are still there, but going through those is outside the scope of a 15-minute project window. I've reduced the baby books to one bin, and put the others in the babies' room, to be rotated when I can't stand even one more repetition of the ones on the table.

Now it is your turn! Go forth, and conquer a patch of clutter! Maybe you don't have anything as bad as at my house, but you could tackle a pile of old mail, or a junk drawer, and if necessary reduce the time to 10 minutes. Go at your own pace, people.


Anonymous said...

FYI: Some of those were pencil shavings but I think most of it was a "pencil tip collection" that certain other members of your household have started.

No, I don't know either.

desperate housewife said...

Hmm. What is it about all this talk of how we don't feel like cleaning that has made us all clean? Yesterday I even drug out my ancient Dirt Devil handheld and vacuumed dog hair off the sofa! Can that count as my 15-min. project, so I can be lazy today?
No, no, I suppose that would count towards yesterday. Maybe today I'll tackle the six baskets full of random bills, receipts, Explanation of Benefits, etc. Sigh.

Erica said...

Nice job, Swistle! It actually looks like a table now : )

Bunny said...

Oh, honey, I am with you! I spent my 30 minutes today shoveling a 2 foot by 6 foot section of the driveway. It doesn't sound like much, but we have been snowed in for like 2 weeks and today is the first day the temp was above freezing so I could shovel! But, I digress. My de-cluttering goal: to continually clear off my kitchen table and counters. I just dump stuff there all the time, so if I can keep up on it, I can save my energy for bigger tasks.

Mommy Daisy said...

Wow! Your table looks nice! I feel like at my house I'm in a constant state of cluttering and de-cluttering. I've recently de-cluttered several areas, so that limits my possibilities. But, have no fear, there are places in need of a good de-clutter! I have been doing lots of other cleaning these past few days too (view my blog for further details). So, I'm with you. When the baby takes his afternoon nap today, I will spend 15 minutes on an area yet to be determined. I'll post my progress on my blog later today. Thanks for the goal! :D

Mommy Daisy said...

Ok! I did it. Just wanted to report back to say I fulfilled the assignment. It felt pretty good. It's still a work in progress, but you can read (and see) it on my blog. Thanks, Swistle for making my hosue a cleaner one. :D

aoife said...

Fine. You made me want to do my dining room table. Will post photos later. And I did it TEN minute. so... nanenane boo boo to you! :P

theflyingmum said...

OOOOO! It's like an interactive meme! OK, I took the challenge and cleared off the kitchen sink area. Trust me, this was AT LEAST a 15 minute de-clutter. I liked this post, and am inspired to do the same. Posting about cleaning makes you want to do it. Do you think it'd work for weight loss too?

Trena said...

Okay, I had a (terrifying for me) dental check-up this afternoon (look ma, no cavities), so I am totally taking a pass today. However, my mother-in-law is coming over Thursday and staying the night, so I am so totally for being motivated to clean tomorrow.

jen said...

I don't want to do anything. I fed the dog today, he's lucky!

Though it amuses me to admit that I stopped cleaning the shower on a regular basis when I was pregnant with my daughter... who will be 3 in may. A few months ago I made my husband do it though, so all is well. For now.

We are always in some kind of "clutter project" selling stuff, freecycling stuff, but in the midst of it all we always acquire new stuff!

Black Sheeped said...

Does loading the dishwasher count? I'm too tired to do anything else. Tuesdays are harder than Mondays. The novelty of the new week has worn off.

Kelsey said...

The kitchen junk drawer -- cleaned out while Harper took 1/2 an hour to eat a bagel. Also, company tomorrow so I vacuumed everywhere today. Fortunately, our house is not that big. Thanks for the motivation!

Swistle said...

theflyingmum-- I think it must. It seems like pretty much anything you do with an audience is likely to involve less sneaking out of it. Plus, it creates an instant club!

Trena-- Anyone who goes to the dentist has a free pass for the whole day: no cleaning, no feeling of should-be-cleaning.

Aoife-- I think we should change it to 10 minutes, don't you? 15 minutes seems kind of daunting.

Jen-- As soon as I get stuff purged out, I immediately fill the void via Target clearance endcaps. But then at least it's new clutter.

alienbea said...

I feel inspired! ...Mostly to take pictures of my own cluttered spaces, which take up every.single.flat.surface in my entire house, but maybe once that project is complete, I can then ponder the possibility of de-cluttering one or two of them. Possibly. :)