Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Beautiful Dumpster

There’s a new addition at my house this week. Located on our driveway in front of our white two story house is a sight that most may see as an eyesore…A BRIGHT ORANGE DUMPSTER. But to me, this oversized dumpster is a beautiful sight…spray-painted-over graffiti and all.

This dumpster has been both a subject on my Facebook page and a popular discussion topic amongst my neighbors. Are you remodeling? New Roof perhaps? Moving? No. No. Wish it was true, but No.

We are spring cleaning.

Spring Cleaning is a huge event in my world. While some may dread those two words…spring cleaning is one of my favorite times of year. Maybe it’s the smell of lemony Pine-Sol, maybe it’s the sound of a crisp black garbage bag as I throw in last year's “why on earth did I keep these” receipts and papers. Whatever it is, Spring Cleaning shakes me out of the winter funk that permanently attaches to my body mid January. Spring cleaning, like the season that gave it its name, is a time of re-birth and revival.

Why a dumpster you ask? Oh trust me the fact that I spring clean with a dumpster has raised a few eyebrows, gotten a few chuckles, and even earned me a few name-callings of a “packrat”. So allow me to clear this up. My family and I are not messy packrats. We aren’t those people who you see on reality TV that some person has to come and rescue from under 10,000 salt and pepper shakers. We are simply a family…a family that accumulates junk over the years. Although I am sure that my neighbors and others who do not know us have visions of our house wall to wall with junk and garbage…we are “closet” junkies. Literally. If you walked through my house, unless you rooted through my basement storage room or closets, you really would have no idea that we had junk capable of filling a large orange dumpster. Yet every 2-3 years we do a major spring cleaning overhaul and the dumpster (or as J calls it the “junkster”) is beckoned.

I blame the need for the dumpster on a stupid city official in Davenport, the one who came up with the idea that every family in the city should be limited to 1 garbage can. Who ever came up with this rule obviously did not have young children. I mean come on…1 garbage can is supposed to hold the garbage of 5 people for the week? Sorry Mr. City Official…get real. And trust me this isn’t just me that feels this way. I have driven to work many a Monday morning to the sight of fellow citizens basically standing on their garbage cans lid to fit just one more bag. So because I am limited to 1 garbage can a week…and I have diapers, wrappers, cat litter, etc. that must go in there, the non-stinky junk is left behind. You know, the broken Buzz Lightyear toy; the old bills and bank statements, the lamp that doesn’t turn on right, i.e. the stuff that you don’t want but you can’t sell or donate.

So this week I have been in major spring cleaning mode. I started a list of 16 rooms, closets, projects…Basement Storage Room, Garage, Kids closets, Kitchen drawers.  Each night I was armed with three bags…(1) Garbage Bag; (2) Donation/Yard Sale Bag; and (3) Get in a Rubbermaid bin and save bag. Off I went to rid the house of our junk and bring it back to a state of organization.

Ahh…organization…probably my favorite word in the dictionary. This is probably why Spring Cleaning is incredibly therapeutic to me. I am a notorious organizer. If stores like the Container Store had poster children, I’d be their president. I love nice, neat, organized closets, drawers, rooms. And over the years as I added more and more to my plate and led a busier life, my need for organization has increased. See I think I am capable of juggling all the baggage that comes with being a working Mom…I just need that baggage organized, and perhaps color coded and labeled.

But in my fight to keep my chaotic world organized; I, like many people trying to make a change, am met with The Resistance. This Resistance is headed up by my husband and his three little henchmen, J, H, and L. I live with 4 people that do not share my love for organization. My husband and kids are tornados that go through rooms faster than a F5 hitting a small town in Kansas. Where I keep important work documents in sub-files organized in my desk drawer, my husband sticks his papers between our champagne flutes and our gravy boat (which I actually discovered during this round of spring cleaning we owned). So, as is the norm when there is a strong resistance, a battle ensues. And because I am outnumbered by The Resistance and the sheer lack of hours in the day, I often have to waive the white dusting cloth in surrender and deal with disorganization. Spring Break is my time to get the Resistance on my team and prepare the battlefield for yet another year in this war.

This year my kids were old enough to help me with spring cleaning. My team this year included Captain Coin Collector and Princess Please. Captain Coin Collector (H) made it his mission to stop me in my tracks mid-drawer or couch cushion clean to rescue a stray penny before it was swooped up. I am happy to report that Captain Coin made out like a bandit pocketing about $20.00 in loose change this week. His cohort Princess Please (J)? Well, she was the defender for the unable-to-speak junk and launched several “Please Save the Missing Barbie Shoe”, or “Please Save the Few remaining letters of an A-Z magnet set” campaigns. My biggest mission this spring cleaning week was to keep Princess Please occupied just long enough so I could sneak out the donation bins full of 3T shirts she swore still fit her size 5 frame.

Spring cleaning week is coming to a close. The dumpster will soon be gone and I will retake my house back into its organized state. My closets are clean and organized, my kitchen’s junk drawer, less junky. I walk into my house feeling revived, refreshed, and ready for another year. As a busy working Mommy…I deserve that feeling! Happy spring cleaning everyone!


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