Welcome to day one of the Spring Cleaning Party! The first day’s task in my ebook, Spring Cleaning for Normal People, is a “clean sweep.” The goal is to quickly sweep through your home, throw away trash, and toss items you no longer need or want into a box for later. And that’s basically it – a project that should only take about two hours max (more or less, depending on the size of your home).

There are several reasons for starting with this:

1. Just like Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball involves paying off your smallest loans first in order to blow them out of the water and gain some emotional traction, picking up trash is an easy, brainless small task that packs a lot of punch. When you have quick visual progress, you stay motivated to continue with the rest of the job.

In fact, I’m listening to Dave Ramsey at this exact moment, and he just said, “Your attitude at the beginning of the task that determines how well you finish. How excited you are about something determines how well you do it.” Well said.

2. Getting the surfaces cleaned off helps you see what you really need to declutter and clean. If we’re going to get into the nitty gritty, we need to see where the real clutter lies. Wiping off the surfaces provides an accurate picture where we need to focus for the rest of our spring cleaning.

3. When you clean off the surfaces, it’s easier to keep up with basic housework for the rest of your two weeks. My spring cleaning process involves only a few hours a day of intense cleaning, in order to still have a life and do things like make dinner for your family, run your errands, and answer your email. If you take a day to surface clean, like you’re doing today, then it’ll be much easier to have time for dinner prep and toy pick-up.

Mandi’s post today on Organizing Your Way is all about Decluttering 101.  Her ideas will get you stocked with motivation and tips to get started.

My work on Day One:

I hope this encourages you all to post your own photos! This is visual evidence that I’m a real person, running a home full of real people.

before:after:
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I feel much better having our surfaces cleaned. I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I can tell from first-hand experience, spring cleaning gets easier every year you do it. We really don’t have that much stuff, so cleaning our home from top to bottom takes only a few hours. I love having a small home.

In the culture where we live, people don’t tend to buy used items, so I’ve consolidated two separate “give” and “sell” boxes into one box. I’m not sure if we’ll sell anything; most likely, we’ll just give it away to neighbors in need. Here’s our box:

And I don’t have a photo of the trash I collected because my sweet husband took out the trash before I had a chance (I can’t believe he didn’t know I wanted to photograph our trash). But it was about four small grocery bags.

And as I mentioned in my e-book, our major purging happened before we moved overseas. We got rid of so many things we just didn’t need, so I was pleasantly at ease when I did today’s work. Almost everything in our home is something we need or love.

Alright, are you ready? I’d love to see everyone’s progress. For now, I’m not going to provide a Mr. Linky, because there are just too many issues that arise with that widget.  Please leave your post for day one in the comments below - just copy and paste the URL and put it in your text.  That’ll keep things easy.

You don’t have to write much in your post – just show some simple before and after shots, and share your thoughts on today’s discussion question from the e-book:

Am I feeling emotional about any of this stuff? If so, why? Do those knickknacks create your memories, or are they just things you happened to collect during those times on which you enjoy reflecting?

Even if you’re not blogging your spring cleaning process, feel free to join in the comments with your thoughts about getting rid of clutter.

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