The Crazy Suburban Mom: My big girl jingle bell cleaning panties and a partridge in a hazmat suit

Monday, December 16, 2013

My big girl jingle bell cleaning panties and a partridge in a hazmat suit

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Brother P-touch. I received a product samples to facilitate my review and promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Back in November I posted about my Brother P-Touch label maker as well as their 25th anniversary special promotions and deals at select retail locations (like Staples).   Since then I've labeled my world.   

I've wanted a Brother P-Touch label maker for years because of the many spaces in need of  sorting, simplifying and defining.   My family has a big problem with stuff; no one can   manage what they have efficiently but we all keep bringing more in. 

I work hard managing the stuff but it never lasts long. Clear surfaces disappear and freshly organized closets magically fill up before you can say, Abracadabra!  Magazines and catalogs continually pile  up and I don't feel like I'm cleaning as much as  I'm playing Jenga.  But instead of it being a game with blocks; it's life, and the teetering towers are made of shoes, guitars, dog toys, and the occasional slice of pizza.

And there is no winner.

 I got rid of a lot of stuff a few months ago and thought that would be 'the' solution but turned out that was only half the problem.  When no one knows where anything goes, it goes no where.  And everywhere.   I've reorganized over and over only to have everything devolve into chaos again.  

I was sort of dreading the holidays because of the massive cleaning it involves.   Getting the house company ready is hard and for whatever reason, I wasn't feeling the holiday cleaning spirit this year.  

Funny thing is when I put on my big girl jingle-bell cleaning panties and decided to just get on with it... the house wasn't bad.  Wasn't bad at all...

I'd accomplished a lot this Fall without even realizing it.  In November I started sorting and labeling things (as well as their homes)  with the Brother P-Touch label maker  and it's made a huge difference.   

My family still doesn't put every single thing away but knowing where things go has been huge. Spaces that used to devolve remain clear. And for sure, I'm not running across forgotten slices of pizza anymore. The house looks better on a daily basis and this year Holiday cleaning hasn't been a big bah-humbug.  

Sure,  I still had (and have) some more to do but it isn't much more then I do daily anyway. A real switch from past years when making the house company ready involved several weeks of planning, a good three days of active cleaning,  a power washer, a machete and a partridge in a hazmat suit.

I'd like to show some before pictures but the process happened easily and naturally after I started labeling things, so I don't have any.  

I can show you some places made much better through naming, sorting, and labeling.  I'm especially fond of  black print on clear tape.

brother p touch labels

It's readable but unobtrusive...

brother p touch labels

And allows for easy grouping by use within large categories for things like shoes.

brother p touch labels

Or I can manage more loosely related items... Here is a bin freshly down from the attic and ready to go through.

brother p touch labels

And there's this bin...

 With the Holidays upon me I need the constant reminder, more will be coming into the home very soon and more needs to go to accommodate all of it.   

Letting go can be a slow process but it needs to be an active one.  It isn't enough to know I need to let things go, I need to actually say good-bye before they are choking what space I have.

This bin is a great size for that; not too small but not so big that I can put off giving things away indefinitely.    And the label catches my eye when I walk past it. 


Desert Mermaid 12/16/13, 10:01 AM  

I love your system, the beautiful neatness of it. I have -- a different problem, which is that I purge ruthlessly and relentlessly all the time, to the point that my family wraps up their piles or ropes off their rooms/corners with caution tape (seriously) to protect it from me. Hence, not much need for labelers. I'm waiting for the reality TV show about Purgers (versus Hoarders) ...

Tracy Reinhardt 12/16/13, 10:15 AM  

Desert Mermaid, It's hard to believe but I'm a big purger too. For me it wasn't enough because stuff ended up every where anyway... I didn't realize how important things having their own space mattered - so no matter how much I got rid of, there was always visual clutter. Drove me crazy!! I would love to see a TV show where you purge though! It is a great feeling and I know there are people who would find it amazing and inspiring!

LJ 12/21/13, 1:40 AM  

Now I am going to label the shelves when I sort my bedding cupboard - I can never find anything in there as it's one big jumble of single and double bedding (including duvets), sleeping bags and blankets, and I'm sure I've spied non-bedding stuff in there lurking in the back. Once I've mastered that cupboard then I think it'll be time for the label maker to take over the whole house :-)

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