Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year’s Winter Cleaning

First, to anyone who reads this, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and a happy and productive 2009.

As many of you know, I do not believe in New Year’s Resolution. Instead, I believe in making concrete goals and a way to have an action plan to achieve them. Resolutions are just wishes unless they have a concrete game plan, and that game plan is actually followed. At that point, it’s not a resolution, it’s a goal. It’s with this mind set that I offer the following.

Every New Year’s Day, literally starting with the official start of the New Year, I make it a point to stay home and do a deep cleaning of our house. This is also in conjunction with our putting away all of the Christmas decorations (always done on January 1st in our house) and in that process, we always go through and move everything, vacuum every thing, scrub everything, dust everything, you name it. In the process, we also take out a notebook and we make notes on all areas that need work, or are of concern, or otherwise just become pet peeves. From these notes, we set action plans for the areas we can do something about, make projections for the areas we can’t immediately, but would like to, and then set a long term plan for items that will be further down the road.

For 2009, we have determined that the following areas are critical and need to be addressed somewhat immediately:

The garage is overloaded. We have cabinets, shelves, and shelving units that surround the garage. In addition, we have a number of trunks and other items of a random nature that perimeter the cabinets, making it virtually impossible to get into the cabinets without moving the items. When we first moved into this house, we had, arguably, the best organized and cleanest garage in the neighborhood. We most certainly cannot say that now. This is a key area where a concerted dejunking, reallocating of needed items, and deciding exactly why we are holding onto certain things must be done. It always amazes me that every time I do this, no matter how many times I do it, I always seem to determine that there’s still something else that can be downsized. Perhaps it comes from the fact that each time I go through the process, I learn a little bit more about what I actually use and what I don’t. Plus, when you start to let go of things, it becomes easier to let go of other things, too.

My office is the catch-all room. It’s the dirty secret in our house that the house is immaculate except for two places, the garage and my office. Both suffer from the same issue, and that’s overload. We did a massive downsizing of old books and other items, but somehow keeping this room uncluttered is just a royal pain. I also have a longer term goal going forward… I’m looking at the possibility of either converting this room to a genuine guest room, or potentially a bedroom for one of the girls (they currently share a room). To make that conversion, I have to reach the point where the contents of that room are either considerably downsized, or otherwise reallocated. Three key areas make up the bulk of the clutter in this room, and that is media (meaning CD's, DVD, VCR tapes and computer media), craft supplies (mostly associated with my work regarding the White Otter Dancers) and Scouting. My plan is to utilize used media places and sites like In addition, papers that are not essential to be kept in their paper form will either be scanned and stored electronically, or gotten rid of entirely.

We have three fruit trees that produce a good quantity of Peaches, Nectarines and Apples. During 2009, I plan to use some techniques I’ve picked up on the web to set up a square foot garden in our back yard to expand the capacity of that garden space. I’m not gutsy enough to tear up the lawn and make that a garden patch (at least not yet), but the terrace boxes are totally fair game. This will require some observation and determining which areas get the best sunlight, as well as revamping the sprinkler system and adding some heads.

That should keep us busy for the next few months. Expect to see updates on all of these projects right here :).

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