Clean It Up!


This page talks about the history of my cleaning plans and defines the terms I use. 

For several years, I met goals  to get rid of a certain number of things. I had increased the amount yearly. The first year, 2008, I culled 2008 items. In 2009, I doubled the year number and culled 4018. In 2010 I tripled the number, etc. I continued that way successfully until 2013.

In 2013, my goal is was 12,078 items. Except in May, I stalled. From 6/13 until 2/17, I didn’t counted anything regularly. I got sick of the process, my PTSD got up in arms about what I was doing and how visible it was, and frankly, I was bored and discouraged  — after years of work, the house was still full o’ stuff!

So I quit.

Counting things I as I removed them caused me to define what I would count:

A LANDING PAD  — Temporary storage; it’s a negative. When the item is moved into regular storage (Extra TP moved from the attic to the bathroom) or used, it’s a plus.

CONSOLIDATION  — Two partial bottles of spice now in one bottle counts as +1.

FINDING A HOME  —  putting something away. Sometimes, the item will not have a place to be put away or sometimes, it’s just something that’s been clutter for some time.

Regular clean up isn’t counted.

SPACE BUDGET —  A given amount of space for a certain type of thing…like a box to hold candles. If the box can’t hold all the candles, then I sell/donate/trash/give away enough items so that the remaining items will fit the SPACE BUDGET. It’s easy for me to think I’ll find alternate storage for just an item or two. I’ve kept lots of stuff that way. The SPACE BUDGET gets me to cull the (whatever) collection, and reminds me space is NOT infinite in my home, and costs money.

PAPER CHASE — Filing or sheeting receipts, etc. I tape receipts onto notebook paper and file them in 3-ring binders. I file statements, etc. like everyone else in file folders.

REVEAL — Cleaning a previously uncleaned spot, that is, someplace that hasn’t been cleaned in > 6 months. No matter how big the spot is, I’m giving myself 1 point. Usually these are nasty jobs and so I’m rewarding myself for tackling the spots that have been hidden under the clutter.

PURGING/CLEANING GOAL — When I was tracking, making a prespecified goal. It may be a new habit (cleaning a room once a week for a month) or making a monthly goal on time. Like REVEALS, this is changing my habits and is difficult, so I’m counting it! I also count when I make a monthly goal (how many I have to have done in a month to get to the goal) and target sections, which are 250 each.

Food or anything acquired in quantity and then needing storage for some time counts, although “normal” consumption doesn’t. (If we buy 10 boxes of frozen steak, that’s -10, as we’ll store them for months.) I usually forget to count these items when used.

Regular purchases of consumables don’t count.


4 responses to “Clean It Up!

  1. A few days after I wrote/published this, I realized this page was all about the how, but not the why. The why is given in the first post, but it’s simple. I’m a PTSD/abuse survivor. One way I coped was that I became essentially a hoarder. I’ve dealt with enough of my issues now, I think. I’m ready to deal with the stuff. It isn’t simply about shedding things, it’s about changing my life for the better.

    I am not going to show pics of my home before & after, if that’s what you’re after, go to TLC.

    Sorry, that should be “… if that’s what you’re after, go to A & E.” We don’t have a television, so it’s easy for me to confuse television channels!

  2. I haven’t been tracking items out since about 4/2013. If that’s what you’re interested in, I’m sorry it’s not being done anymore. I did start tracking a new cleaning system in 7/2013 and there are entries here about that.

  3. I think your method is fantastic! I’m trying to catch up on your blog as I’m new to it but we have similarities in our past.

  4. Counting things going out works, if you don’t panic like I did. Also getting rid of 20 (?) items a day was a bit much. If you have questions, feel free to ask and comments are always welcome.

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