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Sunday, January 13, 2013

14 Weeks to Clean?

I know better than to put any declarative punctuation on that title. I mean, who am I kidding? I decided to take a 14- week cleaning challenge from the blog Organized Home. I want to tackle some of the problem areas that I can't seem to keep clean, and implement systems that will prevent clutter from collecting in the first place. But any resolution like that will remain firmly in the interrogative category for me, as in: "14 weeks to clean? We'll see. If any one of us comes down with a stomach bug that's going to cost me about 3 weeks right there. But I'll give it a shot!"

Last week was a preview week in which participants were to perform a few pre-cleaning challenge tasks like putting away all Christmas stuff (I'm not quite there yet) and cleaning the refrigerator (which I did!). I found the post in which Cynthia Ewer, the author of  Organized Home, assigned the refrigerator task to be very interesting, particularly in light of a BBC report I heard during the week.

The BBC broadcast World Have Your Say, discussed the problem of global food waste. Some sources claim  that as much as half of the world's food is thrown out as waste. In Cynthia Ewer's article, she asked people to look at what the dregs of their refrigerator said about them and to analyze their findings in light of their current resolutions. Here is an excerpt:

"You'll wring a few unpleasant admissions from yourself, too. Look carefully at what foods are wasted, especially from the vegetable crisper.

Are you doing what I've been doing? I'm Miss Nutritional Virtue herself at the grocery store, but those baby carrots and low-fat margarines languish uneaten in [the refrigerator's] dark corners. Did you toss out as much bruised fruit as I did? Are you buying too much--or not eating what you buy?

Use pen and notepad to jot down your discoveries and track your new resolves. Match them to your New Year's resolutions. Is lower-fat eating on your resolution list? Then you'll want to toss the remnants of the Christmas dinner butter and margarine and replace them with low-fat spreads, apple butter and all-fruit jellies.

Do you want to tighten the budget? Focus on the waste you've discovered. Do you buy grapefruit (because your mother did and it's such a Donna Reed/Beaver's Mom breakfast item) only to toss the shriveled husks, months later? Are you overbuying milk, or cheese, or meat? If you've tossed it out today, make a note to yourself to buy less--if any--on your next shopping trip."

I was struck by the connection there- that our personal habits can be part of global problems or global solutions. For me, the fridge isn't a problem area. Sure it's not sparkling like a diamond but there's nothing in there that's going to become sentient. I'm an anti-food-waste vigilante around here so I really don't throw out much.

However, the task for week one of the challenge is the entry way, which is definitely a problem area:

(anyone want that espresso maker in the  box?)

What does this say about me and my involvement in larger global schemes? I don't know. Maybe I'll uncover the answers to those questions during this week's task. I'm hoping to post my progress. Or maybe I should say: I'm hoping to post my progress? We'll see how it goes!

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