Friday, December 30, 2011

Confessions of a Bag Lady

The "job jar" approach to house organizing seems to be working so far. I'm actually enjoying finding out what my job for the day will be, and I'm tackling it with some enthusiasm. Yesterday's job was to clean the laundry room. Actually, it's more of a laundry closet in the wall opposite the kitchen/dining room (and it's actually the breakfast nook next to the kitchen, since according to the floor plans, the back part of the living room is the dining room, but I'd rather have a large living room than both a breakfast nook and a dining room).

The main thing I discovered is that I seem to have the makings of a bag lady. I've been mostly using cloth grocery bags for a couple of years, but when I do get grocery or other bags, I use them as trash bags or for carrying out my recycling, and they get stashed in the laundry room, usually on top of the dryer. I thought I didn't have too many, but once I started pulling things out, I found that some must have fallen over the edge between the dryer and the wall, and they must have been breeding for years. The more I pulled out, the more there were. I now have a few bags for trash and recycling purposes hanging on hooks on the wall. The rest will go to the people at my church who cut bags into "yarn" and then crochet sleeping mats for the homeless. I also found that I'd stashed some glass for recycling, probably during an emergency cleaning. The big find, though, was a stray black sock that I must have blamed the dryer for eating. It's one of my good ones, and I don't think I've yet disposed of its mate.

And then I was so enthusiastic that I went ahead and did today's task, which was cleaning out the lower cabinet of my pantry. There I found some plastic water bottles that apparently got stashed there during an emergency cleaning. I also found most of my paper/plastic party supplies and some cloth napkins and an apron I haven't seen in years. I moved some things around and now have a lot more storage space, so I'll have to figure out how to move things around as I get to the rest of the kitchen.

So far, my tasks have all been in hidden areas, so my house doesn't look any cleaner, but I am clearing out space to be able to put things away properly. I must admit to opening the laundry room doors when I go by there to admire how clean it looks. In addition to sorting and decluttering, I scrubbed off all the spots where dryer lint got trapped in detergent drips and I wiped off the handprints around the dryer door handle. Now it's all sparkly and white.

Today's task is cleaning out the top desk drawer. So far, I've been finding pens that don't work, and I've trashed the planner pages from 2001. I'd saved them because I used them to track time for clients, but I don't think there are going to be any questions about that this late. I still have more sorting to do in there. This is just what I've done while waiting for Internet pages to load. Instead of drawing a second task, I may just work on clearing my desk so I can put out the blotter calendar I got.

The trick will be to see if I can maintain the enthusiasm long enough to get around to the whole house. I tend to start these projects with great glee, then get bored and taper off before it's done. I guess I just need to keep staring at the laundry room for motivation.

And, wow, this will be my last post of 2011. I guess I'll do my year in review/looking ahead stuff next week. Happy new year!

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