I spent the past weekend at the cottage enjoying the last long weekend of ‘summer like weather’. Mother Nature cooperated and gifted us with gorgeous weather, a soft breeze, and incredible fall foliage. A good time was had by all who attended our Thanksgiving get-together. We ate, laughed, reminisced, recalled old memories, and made new ones. As the day faded into dusk, we said our good-byes and promised to meet again next year – same place, same time. It was with a tinge of sadness that I said good-bye to our guests, yet I was filled with a sense of happiness and accomplishment at having hosted another wonderful family gathering.
With a sigh of contentment I turned around, and then reality hit. Hard. I was overwhelmed at what had to be accomplished in one short day in order to close up the cottage by the following afternoon. I took a deep breath, remembered the 10 questions to ask myself before I start organizing, and immediately felt a bit better. As I cleaned up from the day’s festivities, I started to mentally answer the questions as I looked around the cottage.
I was amazed at how much ‘stuff’ had been accumulated during the summer. When I’m at the cottage I have a tendency to let things slide a little. Who cares if the oldest blanket I own is strewn on the couch, or if the water toys are simply tossed into a corner of the porch? So what if sneakers and flip flops are piled by the side of the doorway? No big deal, right? Well, if you add these little things to the rest of the list and add on all of the outside tasks yet to do, you end up with quite a list of things to do. Which is exactly why I have those 10 questions imprinted on my brain. Here are a few of the inside tasks that had to be done to get the cottage ready for winter:
1. Clean and organize family room – declutter following the 10 questions. Same for all rooms.
2. Put pillows and blankets in plastic bags to keep them free from a musty smell.
3. Wipe down windows and window sills. Discard any potpourri you have in containers throughout the cottage.
4. Empty fridge and unplug. Scrub inside and out. Leave door open a bit to avoid unpleasant smell in spring when you open cottage.
5. Scrub inside and outside of stove.
6. Strip beds and put any clean linens in sealed plastic bags.
7. Scrub bathroom from ceiling to floor. Leave toilet seat up after scrubbing it to avoid mildew. Make sure to discard old toiletries that won’t be usable next year.
8. Ensure all windows are closed and locked.
9. MAKE SURE YOUR KITCHEN AND CUPBOARDS ARE SCRUBBED DOWN AND EMPTIED OF ANYTHING LITTLE CRITTERS WOULD ENJOY SNACKING ON!!
10. Don’t forget to discard those used scrub pads under the counter.
11. Make sure you take all damp cleaning rags, mops, etc. with you so they don’t go mouldy over the winter.
12. Sweep, vaccuum, and clean floors.
If you make a list of all that needs to be done before you start, you will save yourself time and energy jumping from one task to another. Feel free to use my list as a guide if you would like to. The key to a less stressful clean up is organization. If you know what needs to be done, and organize it in order of priority, you’re well on your way to a clean, organized, and decluttered cottage. The same principle works on your home, office, garage, basement, etc.
Get organized, make a plan, and get to it! If it’s too overwhelming, give us a call. We are professional organizers and it’s what we love to do.