I come from a family of organised women.
'Cept I'm not.
My Mum has the tidiest pantry you ever saw. And she never runs out of anything. Her system for storing plastic containers and lids should be patented. 'Cept I can't seem to follow it.
My sister Naomi in Germany has a very tidy and clean house. My Dad told me. That's really clean. And that's notwithstanding the production of a multitude of daily crafts, music and baking activities with two small children.
I'm home all day too. I don't think you'd ever mistake my house for clean.
My sister Suzie lives about an hour away. Her house, populated by three small boys and a grown up one, is a paragon of organization. I have been known to sneak open her cupboards. It's all in place. Her toy cupboard is stacked with clear boxes, all labelled, easy to get out, easy to pack away. Her eight year old vacuums. In fact, Suze has given talks about decluttering. She's super motivating.
So when I was looking around my house yesterday, absolutely unable to start, stuff everywhere, I called Suze to talk me through it.
She was so great.
She said: if you want to eat an elephant you have to do it one bite at a time. In 20 minute bites, actually. She suggested I set a timer. Go go go. One bag for rubbish, one for giveaway stuff and one for stuff that had to be kept, but somewhere else. Only pick up things once. Do something with it. Start on one wall, do 20 minutes then stop.
If the kids are still OK and occupied, go again. Small bites. One room/ table/ mantlepiece/ artwork-dumping-tray-mobile at a time.
I really just need to get rid of so much stuff.
Suze says do one declutter, and the next one will be faster and easier. (And you'll be encouraged by then to really think: has anyone used this in the last year? Do I need it? Love it? Can I do without it?)
I'm also facing down quite a big list of Christmas sewing that I'm already running terribly late on. I'm doing a bit every night but am feeling overwhelmed. Suze recommended a schedule, which I've done. I'm using iCal and have just listed what I intend to sew each night – and I can see when I'm due to be finished (before Christmas Eve!)
One tabletop at a time.
Best make it the dining table as I need to lay out a small girl's dress pattern!
Hands up if you think Suze should start a motivating how-to-declutter blog? (She's a bit busy this month – maybe next month?)