You could blame my husband. He read Karen Kingston’s 1997 book “Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui” and liked it so much that we both got into reading “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui” (1999). But my neat streak started before I’d ever met him. Growing up with three sisters and three brothers, it was the girls who were tasked with cleaning on Fridays and Mondays as well as before holidays and got me hooked on spring cleaning. Yet it was Marie Kondo’s 2014 bestseller, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” that hit the mark. What she said that rings so true is that most of our moms didn’t know how to clean with JOY – joy for the objects that still make us smile and thanks for those things that once did but don’t anymore.
Kondo breaks down clutter into five categories and suggests tidying each category in your entire house before moving onto the next category. First are clothes, shoes, belts, coats, scarves and off-season clothes. I felt 10 years younger when I donated a large black bag to Goodwill a year ago. Next are books, then papers. True confession: I’ve been sorting papers for a year now and Kondo has taught me that the sky isn’t going to fall if I don’t finish sorting the clutter in the basement because I haven’t finished sifting through my papers. I can also confirm that our taxes and other money matters flow much more easily since getting our files organized. Next are objects like gardening and work tools and stuff in the attic, which I plan to sort this spring and summer. Last-but-so-not-least is anything sentimental like photo albums and gifts. Kondo’s point is to make more room in your life for happiness by letting go of anything that no longer does – with no strings attached.
Once or twice a year, I take household hazardous waste (HHW) like old non-latex paints, thinners and strange gardening supplies to Monroe County’s Eco Park at 10 Avion Drive, west of the Airport. Monroe County residents can bring up to 30 gallons of liquid and 75 pounds of solid HHW per appointment without charge. There’s more! Materials like fluorescent lights, pharmaceutical waste, sharps/syringes and recyclables do not require an appointment. If needed, schedule one through the Monroe County.gov website.
For those who are into selling their stuff, there’s eBay, Etsy and www. letgo.com where you can buy & sell used items quickly and safely on the free letgo app. People also buy, sell, swap and ask for referrals on Nextdoor.com to neighbors in either the South Wedge or surrounding neighborhoods. We’ve got some great second-hand shops in the neighborhood who specialize in finding new homes for your gently used clothing and household items, including Shop 15, Second Chic, and Marianne’s Consignment. Speaking of South Wedge neighbors, when you tackle your garage or basement, Historic Houseparts accepts pre-1960 doors, windows, lighting, plumbing, woodwork, bathtubs, sinks, cabinet and door hardware. You know how you’re not supposed to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? If you’ve never been there before, give yourself plenty of time to browse at Houseparts and the Apothicaire & Period Bath Supply Company shops at 528-540 South Ave. There are treasures galore! Can’t make it there? Consider yourself warned. You could spend forever and a day browsing the website, www.historichouseparts.com Happy Spring Cleaning