In the book, Good Riddance: Showing Clutter the Door, we spelled out the criteria for separating C.R.U.D. (Completely Ridiculous Useless Debris) from items worth keeping in the home. Articles that require a great deal of care and maintenance qualify as C.R.U.D. We included objects requiring ironing or silver polishing in that category. We also cited stuff that requires hand washing. This is mainly because nobody has the time any more to devote to these labor intensive activities. Perhaps you don’t realize how much time, money and attention is being squandered in maintaining your wardrobe and other fabrics. You need only to look in your laundry room or under the kitchen sink to jolt you out of your ignorance.
We love to de-clutter laundry rooms. No, it is not because of the fresh scent emitted by the chemicals in the dryer sheets. Laundry rooms represent untapped opportunity for functional organization improvement. Why? It is because they are populated by a multitude of unused or partially used containers and boxes of variations on a single product. If the volume of laundry related creations is reduced, the space can be re-purposed.
Begin by counting up the containers of detergent. You probably have an all-purpose liquid or powder, some for cold water loads and maybe a couple for washing lingerie and other delicates. How many different types of bleaches to you have on hand? There has to be one for whites and one that is safe for colors. Now, let’s consider the pre-soaks, stain removers, starch and fabric softeners. By our count, those alone constitute at least a couple of cabinets full. As if these were not enough, you might have alternative versions of the aforementioned that are organically based so as not to harm the environment. We don’t have anything against cleanliness. You just need to own up to the fact that possessing a large number of clothes, linens, curtains and tablecloths adds heft to your already crowded living conditions, because of the arsenal of products you have been led to believe you need to maintain them.
Let’s begin at the source. When you are considering a clothing purchase, do you look at the care label or are you swept away by love at first sight? Few experiences are as sobering as getting the garment home only to read the dreaded edict DRY CLEAN ONLY embroidered on the inside seam. Hmm. That could mean a ten spot every time you wear that silk blouse. Even if you do check the labels, be sure you are committed to doing what is needed at home to keep the article looking its best. Why invest in a special silk washing detergent if you are not prepared to use it.
If you cannot resist the lure of a new cleaning product we recommend that you scrupulously avoid shopping channels, home shows and similar venues where “miracle” laundry products are promoted.
Go through the laundry products at least once a decade to get rid of aging specimen. Eliminate duplication where possible. Use the opportunity to divest yourself of old encrusted scrub brushes, broken clothes pins and drying racks missing rungs. When all is said and done, use some of that newly liberated cabinet space for storing paper plates or hiding presents.