Are you horrified by unexpected guests? Is company your greatest nightmare?
So called elegant people, some from European backgrounds, are horrified at the thought of using plastics. The one exception is plastic trash bags. This type of garbage gathering item is almost universally accepted by all types of people. Except, of course by the real conservationists, who will have contests of how little plastic and garbage they can accumulate. On YouTube, there are stories of people describing how long they can survive without using plastic. It becomes virtually impossible because even if someone can function without plastic in their own home, when they go out shopping for food and other household items, they find that mostly all of them are wrapped in plastic. Plastic is here to stay. Why can’t people just sit back and enjoy the convenience of plastic and stop complaining? These same people will not hesitate to take their gas guzzling vehicles a few blocks to the same supermarket whose products are wrapped in plastic.
The convenience of colored trash bags when confronting the experience of unexpected guests
Last week, I had about one hour to prepare for the invasion of my home by some friends from out of town. Now we love them dearly but would have liked a little more than one hour’s notice when they called and asked to come to visit. Fortunately, the weather was still mild, so we opted for a barbeque.
Let's back up a bit. Now, to tell the truth, we are not the neatest freaks around. Yet, we do have our pride and want to present ourselves and our home in the best light. Call us organized in the trash bag department, since we always have a stock of different color and strength garbage bags. We knew for sure that our friends would want a complete tour of our house, so we had one hour to tidy up. I would use the word, organize, however, that is not at all what we did. A better word would be, hide. Yes, that’s exactly what we did to every stray item in our home, thanks to our array of trusty garbage bags. Would you believe all the colors that trash bags come in? Here’s the answer you would probably give, of course, black, white and clear. Did you know that trash bags also come in such pretty colors as, green, red, yellow and pink?
These are the rooms we had to tackle. The bathrooms, kitchen, downstairs den/playroom, office, bedrooms and of course the backyard. I must say that we are fortunate to have several cooperative children and we decided to make this chore into a fun game of Beat the Clock. Whoever owned a phone, set theirs for one hour, the others used the timers in the kitchen and the alarm clocks in the bedrooms.
We assigned each room a different garbage bag color. Pink went to my only daughter’s room, blue to the two boys’ room, red was for my bedroom, green for the den, and yellow for the kitchen. The colored bags were for everything except garbage. We used the black bags for the heavier trash and the white bags for lighter weight garbage like the four bathrooms.
I gave myself the bathrooms, my husband took our bedroom, my oldest son took the kitchen ( he’s a really talented chef), my youngest son took his room that he shares with the chef and my daughter went right to begin the challenge in her room. I decided that we would work on the yard together, since all the items were garbage.
All we did was put each room’s stuff in its bag. No sorting. In the bedrooms, scattered clothes, shoes, magazines, books and anything that was around was put into its garbage back and stuffed into the closet. Wouldn’t you know, I didn't even have to say go, everyone scattered around immediately. I directed them to come to the yard as soon as each one finished their room and begin throwing lose twigs, broken toys, etc. into the black trash bags. I asked my husband to go to the supermarket to fetch the necessary, food, plastic tablecloths, and plastic eating paraphernalia as soon as he was finished with his job. The rest of us would manage nicely straightening up the yard.
Game time, the unexpected guests arrive
I would not advise this type of decluttering as a regular regiment. For outsiders visiting for the first time it worked out perfectly. Our guests arrived, as my children were still in the yard. I opened the door for our good friends, with the biggest welcome smile I could muster and led them into the dining room for some drinks and chips. Meanwhile, my husband, upon returning from the store, headed straight to the yard and set up the table with my kids. He then turned on the barbeque and began to prepare for our outdoor banquet. When I received the all clear signal from my daughter, I ushered our guests out to the yard, where they were greeted by the happy and proud faces of my collaborating gang. We knew these people from our apartment dwelling days, so our friends were excited to see us in a grassy environment.
The barbeque went off without a hitch, all the food was so fresh and so was our new clean garden. Since our backyard had never looked so uncluttered, the next Sunday, we went to the garden store to buy some new plants.
After our friends left, we decided then and there to have some new and improved organizing tactics for our home. To be truthful, going through all those colored garbage bags took hours and hours of time we really couldn’t spare. A tidy home is a gift to yourself, saving you hours of cleaning marathons and panic attacks from uninvited guests. We knew that the key to the reorganization of our home was the quality, size and different type of garbage bags to be included in our cleaning regiment from then on.
Here are a couple of organizing tips that we learned from our encounters of the uninvited kind
Since, I was the bathroom general, here are the improvements I instituted. Being that there was more than one bathroom on the upper level of our home, the most people that would be using each bathroom, would be three. My husband and I have our own and our three children share theirs. A visit to a popular department store for some new articles of organization was another fun activity for our family. The first thing I did is get rid of the large size trash cans in the bathrooms. I bought the smallest prettiest cans we could find, and the right size of clear plastic garbage bags which we lined each bathroom can. The rest of the box was placed under the sink, and now the garbage would have to be taken out every day. Who wants untidy garbage in a newly tidied bathroom? I hate to admit it, but I judge other people’s bathrooms by their trash cans. When I walk into a bathroom and the trash can is empty except for a plastic garbage bag, I am impressed with the hostess. This is quite an easy modification for a bathroom. This goes with the smart saying, tackle messes as they happen. I always keep a plastic can of Clorox disinfecting wipes under my sink and use them at least once a day for a quick and efficient neatening up.
Keeping the kitchen neat and clean
Since we all like to cook, especially my son, I wanted to make the kitchen welcoming. It’s a pleasure to cook in a clean kitchen. How could I make the kitchen cleanup situation less tedious? The first thing I did was throw out random plastic placemats and old vases that were gathering dust and not being utilized. I found some single napkins of different patterns that did not go together. These I placed in my trusty napkin holder on the kitchen counter to be used immediately and discarded forever. From then on, I would only buy large amounts of fancy napkins or just plain white ones. I like the ones that can also be used as guest towels and are pre folded already. My husband uncovered a slew of napkin rings in one out of reach cabinet; some were leftovers from some old sets which were discarded. Another set was outdated and put in a box to give to a thrift shop along with the various old vases we had accumulated.
I must say, the best part of our organization undertaking was two accomplishments, a nice amount of filled garbage bags on our curb and a couple of boxes for the thrift shop. These great feats of home management and maintenance were only successful due to the great array of trash bags that we used. I hope you have fun and beat the clock the next time you try reorganizing your home with your family. It will bring you closer and give your children pride in your home and an appreciation for orderliness.