Monday, January 18, 2010

The Displacement System for Cleaning is Debuted

So today was a close call. I was REALLLLLY enjoying the slower pace of things and very nearly justified it all with the "but it's supposed to be my day off!" excuse.  But you motivated me. And off I went to clear the hallway, which included the first half of my books.  I already did the first step the other day--installing a coat rack in a much more practical place, where it wouldn't be fighting with the bookshelf (and Michael) for space.  Today, I took down the two "mail collectors" by the front door. We don't use them for mail. We use them to stuff crap that we know we should keep but are too lazy to put away or file.  So out they went!

Next, I did the bookshelf and cart. I'm a big fan of the displacement strategy for cleaning. I might have made this up, so just play along.  There are two steps to Displacement: 1) You take everything off/out of the thing you're cleaning. You clean it, and then only put back the absolutely essential things that are worth keeping AND make sense to be there.  2) Anything you want to keep that doesn't really belong in that space gets further displaced to the room that makes the most sense.  Finally, anything that's left either goes in the trash or the donation pile.  So that's what I did. I took everything off the shelves, separating them into piles (keep; becca, tiffany, and donate).  I cleaned the shelves, and put books back, organized by subject.  The general donation books went outside my apartment in the hallway, and several have disappeared already.  And those weren't even the good books! I still have the huge bookshelf in the back room to de-clutter. (maybe next weekend...that room is daunting!)

Which brings me to the downside of the Displacement System.  I use it for general cleaning, too. I'll start in the living room, and anything that doesn't belong in there gets (literally) thrown into the room where it does belong. Then I do the kitchen, the bathroom, the hallway, the bedroom, etc.  I've been using the same concept for de-cluttering the whole house this month.

Which means that the back office (ie the last room in the house) is SUPER intimidating. eeks.

Anyway, I also cleaned out the bottom of the card which had an odd arrangement of stuff: a tea decanter that Gina might like, some tealight candles, a creme brulee set and creme brulee mixes. I know I should have gotten rid of the creme brulee stuff, but one day I'll have room in my healthy life for it, so it got relegated to the kitchen where it belongs. The candles went in the bathroom with all my other small candles.  Now I have an empty space, and later tonight I hope to go on Amazon or Container Store and find two filing thingies that will fit in there. I suspect if my filing system were more easily accessible and in a place that made sense, that I might actually file things right when I open them.

Then, I vacuumed.The floor was really pretty gross and dusty. I think I might be allergic to my apartment more literally than I first suspected.

So today's chore wasn't that bad really, and getting rid of some books (about 50!) wasn't as bad as I feared. (then again, the good books are in the other room).  And...Melissa inspired me to go to the gym tonight, and we did a whole hour of cardio and weights. I feel great! Sadly, it's time for dorm meeting, so I think my productivity is over for today. But that's okay.

If you take anything away from this post, let it be this: Do not, under any circumstances, have small tables, bookshelves, caddies, etc. near your door.  You will not be able to resist "dumping." The only thing that belongs near the door is a paper shredder (for junk mail) and a place to put your keys. (Hooks are best.)  I do let Michael have one little bowl on the bookcase to empty his pockets into at the end of the least it's contained.  But we used to have our kitchen set up so that you walked right into the kitchen table when you came in the door.  And, no surprise--you couldn't even see the table for all the crap on it.  We moved it farther away and...clean table!

Here's before and after pics of the hallway:

Doesn't that just make you breathe a little easier, and more deeply?? It feels so EXPANSIVE!

Do you have a really good system for cleaning a particular area? Have you tried the Displacement System?? Go try it. Pick a little junk drawer or something small and try it out. It's fun. =)

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