Thursday, January 6, 2011

Winter Purge is the New Spring Cleaning

I kind of like the big Spring Cleaning. I get to clear all the outgrown winter clothes out of my house, dig all the unused and unwanted toys out from under the beds and the back of closets, and finally open the windows and bid a big, wide, loud "Screw Off!" to winter.

That being said...

There is NO WAY ON MAUDE'S GREEN EARTH that I can wait that long. What the fruck happened to my house since Thanksgiving? There is stuff. just. everywhere. My house is starting to resemble my favorite pair of jeans -- being asked to stretch beyond what physics dictates to hold everything I put into it. It's basically begging for liposuction. Forget waiting for Spring Cleaning; I'm going for the Winter Purge.

There are levels to the Winter Purge, depending on just how bad of shape your house is in. It's based on the MommyLand Schmidt Advisory, so you just figure out what level you're at, and follow the appropriate Winter Purge instructions. 

Level Green: Hello. We love you. Like, a lot. But why are you even here? If your house is at Level Green two weeks after the Christmas Wrapping Paper Explosion, then we're not sure we could be friends with you. We can build an altar and kiss your golden slippers, but friends? We're kinda flail-y, and you are obviously a woman in a lovely pearl necklace, sensible pumps, pointy bra and, possibly, imaginary children. Wait -- can we totally be friends? Oh, and possibly borrow your vacuum cleaner? We suspect it's industrial sized. We also suspect it's where you're hiding the children. Can ours move in with them?

Level Blue: Lefty came out of his room in what at one time were probably pants, but are now more like knickers, and his "You're Messin' With Trouble" t-shirt that was now slowly losing a battle with his bellybutton and oozing its way up to his armpits. I asked him where on earth he dug those out of, and was informed they were the first things he grabbed when he opened his bureau. I had to go look, because I was pretty sure the bureau had become the portal to Tiny Narnia. These clothes fit last week. 

Level Green isn't too bad; it's just too early. And time consuming. And the kids whine about you getting rid of their favorite jammies and insist they can still wear them for a little while longer even though you're not sure how they can possibly sleep with a flannel wedgie.

Level Yellow: This level usually comes right on the heels of "THAT IS IT! I AM GETTING RID OF EVERYTHING!" and then lots of crying and rending of garments and then you realize no one is paying attention so you just yank the box of Hefty bags off the shelf and go to town. Clothes in one bag, toys in another, broken stuff in a third, shoes and orphan socks, gloves and mittens in another. One bag has nothing but papers that have been sent home from school, and clocks in at about 600 pounds.You walk out of each kids room with two or three bags full of stuff. Their rooms are pristine. You celebrate with a nice t-box. All that's left is a little sorting, a little distributing to church and the thrift store and the neighbors and the dump. Twenty-six days later, the bags are still in your living room, mocking you. You drag them back into the kids' rooms so you don't have to look at them one mur. thur. fur. kin. minute longer. The next morning, 14 bags of crap have barfed all over their rooms, because they were looking for their other mitten.   

Level Orange:  This is my house. I sent McLovin to Home Depot last weekend for washing machine boxes. Two of them. And a refrigerator box if they had it. The children were disappointed to find out that it wasn't, in fact, to make them their very own outdoor apartment so they could get away from me. [Editor's Note: We don't have zoning for that. -Kate] So now, in addition to the furniture that lives on my porte cochere, there are now 88 square feet of boxy delciousness. I started off all organized and stuff, but now I'm just hurling everything in there. They probably weigh as much as a regular washing machine, and you know what that means...that 237 pounds of crap is no longer in my house.

Now the challenge: To get it off the porte cochere. As fate would have it, Lydia and I met this awesome dude the other day when we made jackholes of ourselves in front of an Academy Award Winner. But he has this company, GoodDonor, that comes to your house and happily takes away all your stuff and then disperses it to all the awesome places like Salvation Army and thrift stores and GoodWill and they give you a receipt and when you file your taxes you get to realize that you gave. away. seventeen. thousand. dollars. worth. of. stuff. for. free. But that's OK, because your taxable income as a SAHM for 2010 was $14, and that was only because your snarky pre-teen daughter said that you could have whatever was in her wallet if you just shut your yap and put away her laundry for her. Oh? Just me? Hmmm. Never mind.

Oh yeah. One last level.

Level Red: Build a bonfire. Provide "kindling." Toast marshmallows. I was thisclose.

xoxo, Kate

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. I am at Level Orange. And seriously considering the wallpaper...that I have promised to take down for 10 YEARS so you know I'm in a bad way...

  2. Good Donor is AMAZING. I also live in the DC area and am happy to see that they have pick up partners around here. Fabulous! Thanks for the tip.

    And that whole "spring" cleaning thing? Yeah, it's happening next weekend at our house.

  3. Hi, my name is Dana and I am currently at a Code Yellow and quickly approaching Code Orange. I expect to be there by weekend. You ladies crack me up! Thanks for making me laugh hard every morning!--Dana

  4. Surprisingly, I am somewhere between Blue and Yellow, which amazes even me...especially since my motivation to clean is somewhere over in a "sandy vacation locale" with my husband..and I work part-time and am a full-time student. Cleaning is not a very high priority right now.

    But that last one? The Red? That's my parents' house, and I have pictures to prove it...which is very frightening to me.

  5. I'm somewhere between yellow and orange. I actually went out and bought shelves to organize the kids' rooms. I even put them together. But they're currently in the living room.

  6. Anyone else have the unfinished space where the bags go to live?

  7. I was so close to code orange until I discovered
    Probably the best website out there for someone like me and probably most of you too who seem to pick up all day but our homes are still a mess somehow.
    I think it has something to do with copious amounts of twitter/facebook/writing

  8. I'm pretty sure I was at red this fall. But that was because I could not get somebody healthy without 1 or 2 of us falling prey to whatever had knocked the first one down. The 3 month long siege of sick was enough to make me think of firebombing.

  9. Believe it or not, for once in my life I am actually at GREEN. I think it is due to 2 things - 1. this amazing sitter i have (figures she is only temporary) who comes to my house so i have to make sure I am on top of things (thats what she said) and she helps the kids clean their rooms. and #2 Christmas at grandma's. At first and every year I protest wanting christmas at my house. Then afterwards when i don't have to deal with a months worth of wrapping paper trash and empty boxes from every barbie and hot wheel known to man I am truly grateful and realize that my Christmas wish did come true.

  10. What level consist of harboring a Sofa and chase in your "dining" area? with the dining table pushed against it? Cause Im at that level with a play room that you can't even walk in.

  11. Haha, well although my house looks like a level yellow I say I feel about as motivated to clean as a green...I don't know what level that really puts me at, but I am pretty sure it means I'm lazy or giving up....

  12. I'm at level Orange and sadly, my favorite consignment store just moved away and the ones around here now aren't so great. I have 2 cribs in my basement and MIL is trying to pawn hers off on me too. I really don't have room for 3 cribs in addition to all this crap.

  13. Between Yellow and Orange and wondering if I should throw out the Hefty Bag full of dining room curtains the cat peed on...several months ago...
    I'd throw out the cat with the curtains if I didn't think the family would notice.

  14. We are between yellow and orange. I too have found and highly recommend it to anyone who needs a moral boost with their house chores. I was crazy lady with the trash bags on Christmas day and got all wrapping paper to the garage that day, but alas there is still clutter everywhere. If I clean, the kids come home and their backpacks throw up and then the living room becomes a locker room - big sigh:(

  15. Hi Kate and Lydia!

    I bounced over here from She is my dear friend and the only blog I read post cold turkey quitting a 6 year blog writing and reading habit. (The glut of aspartame-sweet becky homecky blogs replete with the latest vogue home photography illustrating the eternal la dolce vita had done me in.)

    So here I am eager and ready to be dished up some unassuming reality with ketchup on the side goodness. Cheers! :-)

  16. my house was a constant orange before I found flylady last year... a week ago I'd say it was about a yellow.. but today I'm back to green and it's usually between green and blue.. yay for zone cleaning! lol

  17. We seriously took out a kitchen table this week because I was so tired of so much there is a big open space for it to live. And I feel crazy for doing that.

  18. I a currently trying to do my winter purge, but somehow it seems to have back fired and it appears I have more of a mess than when I started, I am definitely in that orange zone. I am hoping that by the end of the weekend I will have gotten rid of enough crap that I will be back around that blueish zone (ya right!!! but I'll cross my fingers)

  19. I am absolutely astonished to discover that I am somewhere between green and blue with the exception of my laundry room, which is probably between a blue and yellow.

    I'm suddenly feeling all superior and snarky. I will smack myself forthwith.

    But really, the reason my house is looking so tidy is we're renting it and it's on the market, so most of our stuff is boxed in the garage. We've lived here for a year. I'm pretty sure we ought to just put all of the boxes in the trash - I'm dreading unpacking it all eventually.

  20. I live in less than 1000 square feet with four people. We have a strictly enforced Blue level. But a big trip to Costco can throw us right past Yellow and into Orange.

    BTW, the code Red pic. At first I thought the chandalier was precariously balanced on top of the pile of crap ... and then I saw that it was clearly FUNCTIONAL. I think there needs to be a code HOARDERS called on that schmidt.

  21. According to friends, my house is Level Green (don't hate me), but in my head it's Orange, hence I have this insatiable appetite for getting rid of stuff. All. The. Time. I can't stop myself. I don't think I'll be satisfied until the house is almost empty.

  22. So we downgraded from Yellow to blue last weekend. I spent [MY :(] giftcards on lots and lots of little storage containers and convinced my mom that a storage cabinet for my daughter's crafts was absolutly what I was dreaming of as my personal gift for christmas.

    In the maddness of taking 4 or 5 shirts off of Monkey Man before finding one that fit I declaired last night the time to deal with the blue level masterpiece. I still have clothing covering my entire bed from falling asleep on Monkey Man's bed with him sometime after 2:30 am.

    Oh and after these two adventures. My bedroom (the smallest one in the house) has now become lost between orange and red. If I don't get this double stroller out from wedged between the bed and the closet I may just accidently knock my new candle over on it.

  23. Back in October (?), we had a leaky toilet nearly destroy 1/3 of our flooring in the bathroom. We elected to rehab the whole bathroom. After all the rehab was done, I painted.

    Last night (Jan 16th), I fiiiiiiiiiinally got around to removing the blue painter’s tape from around the window.

    And as for the kid crap/toys? We have the post-Christmas “where in the blue hell did they GET all of this stuff?” to be followed by the boy-child’s bday on Jan 22. I assembled two of those 2 X 3 cube organizer thingies last night. OY.

    More organizing/trashing to come tonight. :-)




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts