My Addiction: Coming Clean

4183 4183_ () 4183 4183 I am crawling out from my cave of crazy to say Hi y’all! I’m still here but I’ve been really, really busy with my new addiction of cleaning slash organizing slash giving half our goods to Goodwill. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year, and everyone knows what that means…time to organize the upstairs bathroom linen closet.


Instead of ruminating on the depths that is my OCD/crazy, I’m going to focus on how great it feels to get my act together and get on with my cleanse. It’s been a while since I’ve been really motivated to do any major cleaning around here — beyond the vacuum/mop variety — and I’m just happy to have tackled a few projects that have been staring me in the face, with me staring back going “what are you looking at, clutter?”

It’s a given that cleanliness is my weakness. I just really get into cleaning and that’s the cave I’ve been dwelling inside these last few days. Why do I enjoy cleaning so much? How can you catch that batch of crazy? I don’t know…and you might not really even want to. I only know that there are all kinds of things in this world I’m not wild about doing (scrapbooking, laboring over the stove-top, re-learning to french braid, which I might eventually but not right now) but cleaning ain’t among them. It’s very therapeutic and these last few days have felt GREAT. And also, the things I mentioned? I actually love all those things as well, but I must not love them as much because I never do them. Is that the difference between something we’re actually good at and something we only hope to be good at? As in, I would put as much time and effort into Julia Child’ing it up around here or getting my scrapbooks up-to-date but it just takes more effort so why don’t we just focus on what comes naturally?

Oh gee whiz I am giving this all a whole heckuva lotta thought. That’s how I roll, apparently.

I had been thinking, a few days ago, that I might live blog my Holiday House Purge 2012, because I’ve had friends and readers ask me to give some tips on how to go about getting one’s home organized (and now I’m probably writing for the .02 percent of you who have not left, the others having clicked that nice exxx in the upper corner there because that Rachel? She is crazy and boring. And crazy boring). So for those of you still here…I was thinking about doing a running commentary on how to move through one’s home and purge and clean and organize (in a not-overwhelmingly obnoxious amount of time) but then I got so caught up in the glory and glee that I never stopped to write a thing. In fact, I went several hours not stopping at all. Like, I sat down once yesterday.

I was telling my mom today that I was going to come up with some kind of handy Take This Quiz to give insight into the best way to have such a Holiday Purge, but I realized the correct answer to each question would be “purge.”

For example:

You are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff in your home. To combat your feelings you:

a. move some stuff into the attic
b. buy some more plastic bins for storage


Christmas is right around the corner, but you have no room for anything else. To prepare you:

a. decide you won’t buy anything new
b. build a new room onto the back of your house for all the old junk

See what I did there? The correct answer is always PURGE. Unless, as my mom pointed out, you are talking about how you deal with feeling full after Thanksgiving dinner. Then, we don’t talk about it.

Faux quiz aside, if you are feeling overwhelmed about the state of your house — or maybe just the playroom or your daughter’s room (ahem) — get yourself a giant lawn and garden bag, those thick black heavy duty beauts. Make sure it’s black, so your children and spouse can’t see what’s inside, and start taking an honest look at the stuff that fills your home. Do you really need that? Do you need two of it? If you’re on the fence, think about getting rid of something as possibly blessing someone else who might find this donated item and be able to purchase something really nice for their own child. Or maybe you don’t need to guilt yourself into getting rid of things and you can freely and without reserve toss your extra wares and make room for….joy. And peace. And deep cleansing breaths.

Happy Thanksgiving! May your celebrations be filled with so much love and happiness. And the people in your life who bring you just that. 4183″>



  1. Oh, I’m convinced that we are soul sisters as I can completely identify with the need to clean the most ridiculous corners in my home whenever preparing for guests. The linen closet??? YES!!! It just must be done – perhaps that says something about us – would we be THAT person to peak in another’s closet??? Or, perhaps it is the measuring stick we use to determine if we’ve done a thorough job??? Anyway, I am celebrating with you in your bliss and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  2. I would LOVE for you post your Holiday House Purge 2012! I do feel overwhelmed but when I start purging… it overwhelms me too! Ugh. Vicious cycle. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

  3. Michelle M. says:

    something must be in the Augusta air (not the paper mill smell …) because I have the urge to do just this – the only down side is that I am stuck at work during the day and when I get home I am too tired to do anything. Hopefully it will happen this weekend

  4. And don’t forget those new in package goodies that were forgotten and you put them away for a rainy day. Toys for Tots accepts all new toys and the toys stay in the area where they were donated.

    I love to purge and I so agree with you. Please post some motivation for all!

  5. PURGE is wonderful really. It’s when PROCRASTINATE dominates that I find it does damage. There’s a pile of books and paper one foot to my right that I just never properly attend to. It’s my good intention pile. Look after order and order will look after you. (St.Augustine)

  6. I hear ya, sista! Cleaning and organizing just makes my whole life seem better. We have company here now and before they came I told my husband “I need to clean out under the bathroom sink!” He thought I was crazy, but now I know if they need something under there, I won’t be embarrassed when all the feminine products come falling out.

  7. Elizabeth M says:

    See, I’m of the “I need some of that kind of crazy” type. Cooking — absolutely! I’ll pore over cookbooks, and cook happily! But cleaning, I really NEED some of that in me. We are desperately in need of purging around here. We have too much, there are clothes that really need to be weeded out of every closet (and, ahem, piled up laundry basket)…. And living in NJ, there are many, many people who recently lost everything in Hurricane Sandy so there are many places to take these clothes (and toys, and anything else we don’t need) to bless others.

    Now, finding the TIME to do it is the tough part. Then, there’s the actual “do it” step that’s a little elusive too. BUT I’m glad you posted this and I do hope you blog more of it. It’s been pulling on my heart, so I need the encouragement and the push to actually get it done.

    My sister is very much like you in this way. Her favorite time of the day is when the kids are in bed and she can tidy up the messes! She loves, loves to purge — no matter what, even if it’s to the trash. But she lives far away and somehow I need someone else’s encouragement…

    Thank you!

  8. Rachel,

    I too am slightly crazy when it comes to cleaning. I sometimes can keep on top of it Martha-style, but most of the time, it is a pre-gathering craze. I start organizing like mad and wishing I had bins and slipcovers like those of the magazine covers. If only I could convince my kids that broken toys and five years old birthday cards don’t need to be kept. 🙂 Ah well, such is life. BTW, sometimes, I PURGE when I am procrastinating on a cleaning chore I really hate. I will sort my closet within an inch of it’s life if I have a ton of dishes to do. HA! Have a good Thanksgiving and I hope it goes well for you and yours.

  9. I occassionally go into a purging/organizing/cleaning frenzy, and my husband calls it “Tasmanian Devil Mode” ,and he just stays out of the way. He loves it, but it also scares him, and the kids when I get that way. We are trying to implement the rule that if a new toy or book comes in then one or two toys/books have to be donated BEFORE the new toy or book is used. Its a good rule because before buying something we ask,”what are you willing to give up so this comes into the house?” My problem is many toys end up in the trash now because most thrift stores won’t take used toys now. I can still have Purple Heart or someone come to my house once a month to pick up our donations, but if the toy sits in the donation pile/box for long it somehow finds its way back out sometimes. Plus I don’t get that immediate purging satisfaction when I have to wait for the pick up.

  10. I think you just gave me the permission I needed to take on my basement. The plastic bins I bought to organize the toys are so overfilling you can’t even tell the bins are there, they’re just the foundation for a mountain of junk.

  11. When you finish-up your linen closet, come on over to Getzen! We need you!!

  12. scotch meg says:

    I’m with Elizabeth M – cooking any day, cleaning when I must.

    It’s a treat to see how the other half lives!

    Although I can tell you the stories of the numerous times something I didn’t purge has been useful (we won’t talk about all those other times), and my current justification is that the oldest kids are moving into their own places – surely they’ll want that particular beat-up item from our early days (ummm, no, but don’t tell Mom). They purge for me – they take the stuff and who knows whether they use it or toss it.

  13. Oh, I am the world’s worst cleaner! BUT, I am aware of it so when people are coming over and I’m trying to get it right, the linen closet is a must! I’m kind of an all or nothing gal. My lovely husband just fills boxes with stuff and hides them in the back room! It makes me crazy but since I didn’t properly clean up before I see it as kind of my penance to deal with. I love your purge suggestion of the BLACK bags. My children have never been as excited about the toy for 9 month olds as when I try and remove it from our house (my youngest is 6!) Thanks for sharing and please know that if you’re ever in Lexington with some time to kill, you are welcome to clean away!!

  14. Just what I needed today – my house is an overflowing wreck – getting up from the computer now – (see I sat down to work on my desk and got distracted) and GO PURGE!!! (Stuff!!)

  15. Ps – love some tips!

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