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Time for spring cleaning

Time for spring cleaning

Posted: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

It’s time to “come clean.” I know. Some of you are hyper-clean and organized year round, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you wipe down your baseboards with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a chamois cloth every Saturday morning at 8, step away from this column. Go away and come back next week.
For the rest of you, take my hand. I’m here for you. Do you have a hall closet that you can’t open because you’ll be hit in the head with a 1978 softball trophy, a faded box of “Twister,” and a reindeer Christmas wreath? Does your laundry room serve as a storage place for broken toys and old prom dresses? Did your grandma tell you it was a sin to throw away old jelly jars? Oh sweet friend, I’ve been there. I’m here to encourage you. You probably need to see a therapist. But, for some of you, a lowly newspaper columnist will have to do.
Let’s start telling the truth, shall we? Frequently people say, “We’re just outgrowing our house. Our house is just too small.” You’re not outgrowing your house … your STUFF is outgrowing your house. You and the human beings you love can easily squeeze into the space currently provided. It’s the STUFF that might have to take a hike. There. There. Some of you are getting a bit tearful. You’re saying that I’ve no idea how valuable your “stuff” is. What’s that? Yes, I know. The plaid couch was given to you by Uncle Charlie before he passed on in ’84. The laundry basket full of plastic bread bags may “come in handy” some day. You can never have too many jelly jars. The two tons of old magazines and newspapers currently rotting in the garage are great for kid’s paper-mache projects. The piles of old and faded bed sheets would be perfect for making costumes for a school play that involved the Roman Empire. Excuses. Excuses. May I address the above excuses? I promise to be sensitive and loving.
Uncle Charlie is gone … and he wants the plaid couch. No human being, even if he lives to be 110, will EVER be able to use 967 plastic bread bags. I promise. I know what your grandma said about jelly jars. Read my lips, “She made jelly.” Do you make jelly? If you don’t make jelly, free the jars. Your child would have to make a paper-mache clown head AND a donkey piñata every 47 minutes for the rest of his natural life … in order to use one-third of the paper you have piled in the garage. No school in West Tennessee is getting ready to put on a play about the Roman Empire. IF, by chance, a school in West Tennessee DOES plan to put on a play about the Roman Empire, they won’t know to call you to claim the old and faded bed sheets which are piled up under the coffee table. Set them free, I tell you. Set them free.
Yes, I know. Your head is spinning and you’re feeling nauseous. Maybe you need a coffee break before hitting the clutter. Feel free to grab some chocolate. The carbohydrates will give you energy. Go through each room of your house and take one-half the stuff and put it in the garage. Give it away or have a garage sale. Don’t tarry. Don’t give yourself time to “re-think” the decision. Keep repeating the words, “Freedom. Sweet freedom.”
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website,

Published in The Messenger 4.4.12


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