The Cleaning Police

This time the "cleaning police" pulled everything out from under the bed and in the closet...

I’ve been part of the Cleaning Police for many years now. You know…trying to teach our kids how to be civilized. Trying to teach them how to clean. Trying to teach them why they should want to clean. After so many years, I get tired of being a Clean-up Officer sometimes.

Now, I need to make it clear. My standards are not high. In fact, I’ve probably been at risk many times of losing my Officer status with the Cleaning Police. If our house is not filthy and the dust-bunnies are not yet taking over the corners, I see no reason to waste time with chores. We have far more interesting things to do!

But…eventually even my limits are reached. I remind the kids that we live in a house, not a barn. I calmly let them know we must start first thing in the morning to clean up the mess. I try to make it clear how important this is.

And then in the morning, they (of course) wander off, other things on their personal agendas. I finally corral them, and threaten dire penalties if they do not begin cleaning AT ONCE!

Anna's room DOES look nice when it is neat and clean!

The whining commences…but so does the work. Eventually order is restored—the house is clean, mama is happy again, and my poor “slaves” are finally free to follow their own interests again.

I try…really…I TRY to be more consistent. I remember my growing up years when Saturday morning was chore time and my sisters and I had to pick jobs out of the chore jar to complete. I’ve tried a schedule. I’ve tried chore charts. I’ve tried rewards. I’ve tried punishments. I’ve tried rotating the various jobs. I’ve tried letting each child become a “specialist” in their favored jobs. Sigh… Anything works for awhile. Then we slack off. We find more interesting things to do. And the dust-bunnies and the clutter threaten to take over our world.

I’m a member of the Cleaning Police. When do I get to resign?


Cleaning Closets

No…I’m not stressed out. No…guests aren’t coming. No…we aren’t moving yet again. No…the rest of the house doesn’t need cleaning. (Well, it does…but this is NOT a procrastination move!)

Jakob and Anna sorted through their winter clothes before storing them and went through summer clothes before putting them in their drawers to be worn. We have a big bag of outgrown or unliked clothes to give away.

Before we took off to travel for months in an RV, I got rid of most of my clothes, stored some special things, and loaded the rest into the RV closet and drawers. We had less storage space the school year we lived with my sister-in-law, so I got rid of a few more things. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like I have too many clothes, there is just a fraction of the full dresser plus full closet I used to own.

closet--before the purge

But, taking a closer look at my closet this week, I’ve decided it’s time to get rid of more things. There are a few T-shirts that are snug or too short and a turtle-neck or two that tend to strangle me: these are easy to toss in the donate pile. But what about my “good” clothes? Let’s see…

I think I will part with the cream dress pants. I never wear them because I am guaranteed to get them dirty or stained. And the pretty turquoise and green flowery, flowing skirt? Still love the pattern—but have never once actually worn it. The green striped blouse with embroidered orange flowers on the front? Oh, I’ve worn it a few times over the many years I’ve owned it…but not often enough to keep it. I think the same goes for the basic black skirt I own. Time to pass it on as well. If I need black on the bottom, there are always my favorite black pants to wear. I used to live in the yucky-green-colored big, baggy sweater, and my oldest daughter has worn it off and on as well…but it’s time to say good-bye. I have a classier black and gray sweater to wear now. (But I WILL miss those great big pockets on the green monster sweater…) Not so sure about the jean shirt I sometimes wear as a jacket…I guess I will keep it a little longer…

I’m keeping the purple tie-dyed African dress my daughters chose for me when they visited my sister and family living in the Gambia at the time. I love it for its outrageousness! And I like the black edged, bright colored silky blouse given to my daughter from a host family overseas—too gaudy for her, just right for me! (and the Navajo students at the local elementary school loved it as well 🙂 ) I can’t give up the sparkly cream colored lace jacket (which I’ve only had for a few years) or the turquoise, black and green silky open jacket I love to layer over other things (which I’ve owned for about forever). And I’m definitely keeping the wispy blue long sleeved blouse—so nice and cool in overheated places in the winter. And the bright Indian-cotton wrinkled skirt—it’s a keeper as well. After all, it HAS traveled the world with me! And the dress I’m keeping? It’s a bright blue flowered pattern sun dress I grabbed off the rack last summer from Wal-Greens. Never even tried it on—since it was only $10 I figured I would just buy it and give it away if it didn’t fit… But it fits like a dream, is flattering, and oh-so-comfy. It’s definitely a keeper!

So, I’m cleaning out my closet this week. Paring down to just the clothes I enjoy AND I wear regularly! Reaching for a bit more freedom during this, my personal year of jubilee…

And YOU? What can you let go of in the quest for freedom? What old treasures have you outgrown? Wishing you clear eyes to see what is just “taking up space” in YOUR life!