07 April 2010

Disproving Earth Science

This absurd article is dedicated to Kelsey Gibson, the biggest pack rat I know:

Does it seem as though each year, spring arrives sooner than the year before? While it may feel that way, our calendars will argue otherwise. Perhaps the on-rushing of the season is just an illusion created by the simple but startling truth that many among us actually dread spring.

It’s not that we hate the season itself; we welcome its triumph over winter’s frigid face. We embrace its confident style trends. We revel at the realization that days, finally, are getting longer.

But spring brings what some of us feel is an ominous side as well; it is the time when we’re expected to organize our lives, to tidy our garages, and regulate our sprawling closets.

For many of us, winter’s allowances for hibernation and ignoring the buildup of clutter don’t look so bad once we pull out storage bins and labels, and begin to empty the contents of our closets into heaping piles before us.

We start to question whether what we learned in elementary earth science was true: do mountains really take millions of years to form? I believe I just constructed one in mere minutes!

Yet despite our best efforts to prevent its arrival, spring does just that: arrives. Every year, some time between the end of winter and the beginning of summer, spring announces itself. And when it does, we are forced to face those mountains.

We know mountaineers often spend years training before attempting to summit steep slopes. So perhaps a simple, pragmatic plan to guide our spring sorting will allow us to overcome the mountains we face.

Outlined here are 5 steps that, if followed punctually, will lead to spring cleaning that will leave your home in full bloom.

TIP 1:

Set a storage limit first.

This will keep you from making concessions and exceptions as you go about your spring cleaning. Before you begin -- long before you even take a look around at the sorting that awaits, write down a storage limit. And once you start, don’t budge.

TIP 2:

No “If” allowed.

First, ask yourself: do I feel good when I wear this? If the answer isn’t a bold “yes,” toss it. If it has a broken zipper or has been missing buttons for months without you making repairs, toss it. If it needs extensive hemming, toss it. If you realize you won’t get around to fixing it, toss it. Toss it now.

TIP 3:

Eliminate the maybe pile.

Things go into either a “keep” or “throw out” pile -- no Limbo-land allowed. Otherwise, you psychologically set yourself up for last-minute pack-rat tendencies to take charge.

TIP 4:

No shopping until you’re done tossing.

When you find yourself out at your favorite shops, remember their displays are artificial and ever-changing. When you take your purchases home, you don’t also get new cabinets and closet racks on which to display your new finds. Chances are, you’ll find some new things to take home this spring, so clear room for them before they arrive.

TIP 5:

Make a game out of it.

Do this by creating a personal rewards system that recognizes your organizing with prizes; just be sure the prizes won’t take up more space than your throw-aways. If you resolve to replace many seldom-used things with one article, the incentive will trump your inertia to get tossing.

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