IMG_3460I didn’t clean the entire porch at once. I did parts of the porch. This mirror was a part.

Getting started is the hardest part. It’s all just so much! Well, I suppose it is when you look at all of it at once. So don’t do that. Why torture yourself? Think of your home like a box with a lid on it. Let’s just say the box is made to hold, oh, I don’t know, olive oil. Within that box of olive oil are compartments in which each bottle rests. Think of your house that way: Each room is a compartment or area.

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Parrot Garden Bathroom. Shiny!

But within that “area” or room, are many, many other little areas. In a job this big, you want to think small. Because if you don’t, you’ll be overwhelmed and it’ll seem hopeless. So you turn your vision from telescopic to microscopic. Think small.

When I was deep cleaning at Best Friends Parrot Garden, overall, it was a big job because it’s a big place with lots of birds. Best Friends is one of the cleanest adoption centers I’ve ever seen. The daily cleaning routine at the Parrot Garden is meticulous.

But I wanted to do stuff the staff didn’t have time to do on a frequent basis.  It has many areas and I wanted to get as much done as I could to free up the staff. I wanted to wash windows and baseboards. Bonnie Watts tackled a storage area while I scrubbed the walls, the baseboards and washed windows.

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If I looked at the place as a whole, it would have been intimidating.  I had to think in terms of areas to clean. I started with a bathroom. It was a perfectly nice, decent bathroom. But I wanted to really make it spotless. I detailed it. And let me tell you that was one damned clean bathroom! And yes, I was really proud of it.

How you approach a big job like spring cleaning is crucial. Think of it like your birds. How do you take care of your flock? One bird at a time. Just one at a time. You clean cages one at a time.

Start small. Start easy. Clean under one sink. Steam out the microwave. Wash one window.

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Empty out one kitchen utensil drawer in the kitchen. Yes, empty it out completely. It’s just one drawer. Wash the the inside of the empty drawer. Then begin editing what goes back in. Be neat, tidy and make it look nice.

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Now begin thinking. “Do I really need four spatulas?” I think you can live with two, don’t you?  “When was the last time I hosted a formal dinner and used those fish forks?” Fish forks, be gone! Trust me, you aren’t going to miss them.

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I got it down to three. I can live with that.

We live in a consumerist society. We are bombarded with ads, sales, enticements of all kinds. We intend to use the purchases we make. We mean well, but it just doesn’t always work out that way. Half the crap we buy, we use just once or twice and then it sits there forlornly, making us feel guilty about not using it.

Well, I have enough guilt in my life. That was tidily installed by the nuns in grade school. I refuse to feel guilty about getting rid of something I used to wear. The key words here are “used to.” That means you did it in the past and no longer do. So why are you hanging on to something you no longer use? Get rid of it and move on. Here’s an example:

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I love hats. But I don’t wear them much anymore unless it’s a baseball cap to keep the sun out of my eyes.

I used to wear these hats. I loved wearing them. And I wore them often. But I don’t anymore. They are from the past. Guess where they’re going? Yup. Donation. I’m sure some church lady somewhere will proudly wear them. Sure beats them sitting up on a shelf doing nothing.

Used to have a much thicker, heavier and larger laptop that didn’t fit in my purse. So I used to use this to carry it in:

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I don’t need it now as my Mac fits nicely in the messenger bag I use as a purse. Out it goes.

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A former boyfriend gave me a Red Ryder BB gun. Never did use it and I don’t want it. It’s gone. Now what did I gain from getting rid of a BB gun, two hatboxes full of hats I no longer wear and a laptop case? I got this:

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It’s called “Space.” Some would call it an empty shelf. I call it “Less to think about.”

The toughest part is beginning. But if you “Think Small,” you can get one little area done…and another…and another.

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