Clean Sweep

 

I cannot seem to stop cleaning my house.

 

I should be lesson planning. With the start of school right around the corner and a to do list that I can’t even keep track of, I should be hunkered down cramming information, designing lessons and posting assignments.

 

But I can’t seem to get started. Oh, I’ve done a bit here and there, but with Labor Day Weekend fast approaching, all I want to do is purge.

 

I never went through one of those nesting periods right before my daughters were born. I read over and over that this was a common occurrence in late pregnancy: the desire to clean everything, but I never felt that desire.

 

We accumulate so much in life: toys, clothes, papers… so much paper. I can’t figure out where all these piles seem to come from, but they are taking over my house. We have an office that everything we don’t want to deal with gets shoved into. It isn’t the best system, but out of sight, out of mind, right?

 

Except now, I can’t stop thinking about the clutter. I want everything gone.

 

There is something so satisfying about cleaning and decluttering. I feel mentally healthier when I’m not surrounded by so many things. With a very busy year approaching, I am desperate to have my home life organized before I reenter the workforce.

 

Going back to work has forced my hand and finally motivated me to tackle projects that I’ve been meaning to do for years.

 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve focused on one project at a time.

 

The Closet

 

Between pregnancy and losing weight, I have a ton of clothes that no longer fit. Some I’ve outgrown style-wise. Some aren’t appropriate for work. Some simply don’t fit the right way anymore.

 

And yet, I struggle to get rid of anything. Finding a teaching job finally gave me the push I needed. I had to find out what I had that still fit and was appropriate for working. I went through my closet one piece and a time, trying items on, throwing out anything that was stained or had a hole and bagging up anything I no longer wanted.

 

My first step was to consign my clothing. I live near a wonderful consignment shop that will buy items off of you. I simply bring in a bag, give a sales clerk time to look through everything and as long as the store wants a minimum of 10 items, they’ll buy them off of me. I’ve earned a couple hundred dollars over the last few months by consigning clothes and cleaned out my closet as well.

 

Anything the store didn’t want will get donated to Goodwill or a similar store. My husband and I always donate to somewhere that will give tax receipts, which is helpful at tax time. We’re going this weekend with four big bags full of clothes that hopefully will be useful to someone else.

 

I’ve held onto bags and shoes that weren’t in good shape for a long time. My next big closet purge was to go through everything and throw out anything that I wouldn’t be able to use because it was damaged or broken.

 

I no longer hate looking at my closet and I have a better work wardrobe than I thought I did.

 

Kids’ Stuff

 

I’m done having children, which means I no longer have any use for clothing, toys and items like strollers once my daughters grow out of them.

 

My niece just turned one and has been the recipient of all my daughters’ outgrown clothes. At one point, my sister-in-law brought items back to me. Now, as I pack up 18 month fall and winter clothes, I’ve told her I don’t want anything back. If she doesn’t want it, she can pass it on to someone else. If she insists on returning, I have a good friend with a 7-month-old and storage space who is willing to take anything off my hands.

 

I drove over to her house last weekend with multiple boxes filled with clothes, board books and baby toys. She was shocked that I was getting rid of so much, but at some point, you just have to let go. Books they no longer read? Donate or pass on to friends. Same with toys and puzzles. If they don’t use them, pass them on.

 

I’ve also earned a little bit of money by selling baby items like strollers and a high chair at discounted rates on Facebook marketplace. I’ve donated a ton, but it’s nice to have a little cash in hand as I face buying a ton of supplies for back to school.

 

The Papers

 

Like many people, I have a tendency to shove receipts, bills and other assorted papers in drawers. Recently, I realized this had gotten out of control. It didn’t take long to sort of what needed to be kept and what could be recycled; I just needed the motivation to do it.

 

While my office still needs to be tackled—a project for before school starts—I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders as I cleared out all the drawers in my house from my bedside table to our junk drawer.

 

Clearing out the office is the final step I need to feel completely cleansed.

 

Once I get rid of the endless papers, I’ll have space to store my books and other supplies for school. I’ll have a space that my husband and I can actually work in. Being able to occasionally shut ourselves into a room to focus on our jobs is key, especially as I work on planning out a year’s worth of lessons for three separate classes.

 

I don’t know why I am suddenly motivated to clean house. I’ve been home for four years without having this desperate need to purge and cleanse, probably because the thought of doing so really overwhelmed me.

 

Now, I have work to feel overwhelmed about and to take my mind off of preparations, clearing out the clutter has given me something else to focus on.

 

I’m fully aware that I’m avoiding one task by concentrating on another one, but at the same time, I feel really good about the progress I have made on the house. Once I have completely decluttered our home, I’ll be able to turn my mind to my work without constantly thinking about everything else I need to do around the house.

 

Reentering the workforce is a challenge in and of itself. My whole life will be changing in the blink of an eye, so anything I can do to make things now to easier on my family is worth doing.

 

And now, back to learning everything there is to know about European History…

 

Dorothy

Dorothy Sasso is a Lifestyle Writer for She’s It, LLC. She has written for “Soap Opera Digest”, FitPregnancy.com, TalkingFertility.com and the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. Her work focuses on infertility, pregnancy and parenting, and also includes book reviews, features, interviews and event previews. After leaving a teaching career to raise her two daughters, she has loved returning to her roots as a writer. Currently, she is working on a novel. Follow her on Twitter (@dorothysasso, @maybebabyclub) and Instagram (@dorothy_sasso_reads, @maybebabyclub) for book reviews, various writing and assorted musings. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, daughters and two cats.