Ultimate Spring Cleaning, Day 27: One Last Look

by Michael on April 17, 2010 · 0 comments

How did I miss this? Was this here before? (Photo by Blind Grasshopper)

How'd I miss this? Was this here before? (Photo by Blind Grasshopper)

Ultimate Spring Cleaning is a 30-day project to clean and declutter not only your house, but your life. Each day you’ll get a housecleaning assignment, an assignment that involves the world around you, and a project to clear your mind. You can start anytime at the Ultimate Spring Cleaning main page.

Four more days and your home (and life) will complete its transformation. Today’s a general wrap-up day in the house, and since it’s a Saturday (at least if you started the project on a Monday as recommended), you’ll get out for a while too.

Your Home: Make One Last Sweep

You think you’ve finished with your house, huh? Well, it’s time to give it one more once-over.

Look at your rooms in the same order you originally cleaned them: bedroom, kitchen, living area, bathroom, office area, garage. Look at every drawer and shelf, and make sure what’s there truly belongs. If it isn’t serving a purpose in your life right now, it should go.

Make your peace with those “sentimental value” items, and consider passing them on to someone who can really use them, or consider burning/trashing them to leave the past behind. Scan clippings and other paper mementos and organize them using Evernote or similar software.

For those things you don’t use but just can’t bear to purge, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits (the bible of minimalism) recommends creating a “Maybe box.” Put it in the garage or a storage space, and anything in the box that isn’t used after one year gets tossed.

Don’t limit this to smaller items—if there’s furniture that’s ready to fall apart, either fix it or get rid of it. If you’re no longer in college, you shouldn’t be using peach crates or cinder blocks to create furniture. A threadbare chair deserves either reupholstering or euthanasia.

Take all the items you’ve purged in this final sweep and put them with the stuff you set aside in your initial cleaning. Tomorrow we’ll begin sorting and finally getting rid of all this clutter.

Your World: Meet Some (More) Women

Two weeks ago, I sent you on a quest: just get out of the house and talk to women. Today you’re going to repeat it. In case you don’t remember how it works, you simply go out and about:

  • Combine it with grocery shopping
  • Go out for coffee at the coffee shop
  • If it’s a nice day, go out for a walk in the park
  • Find a farmer’s market
  • Run some errands at the bank/hardware store
  • Go clothes shopping and talk to the sales clerks
  • Browse at a bookstore

Really, just about anywhere will do, except for bars and clubs. There’s too much weirdness in those locations if you’re not used to them.

Note this section is titled Meet Some Women, not Pick Up Some Women. Your goal today is just to get used to actually saying something to a woman you don’t know. You’ve done this before, many times, just without thinking about the fact you were talking to a woman. It’s not brain surgery. Talk about what it is you’re both doing, the scene around you, some jewelry she’s wearing…just about anything. When the convo stalls, move on. Just remember to look for the signs she’s interested, just in case she does want you to take it further.

Even a “good morning” qualifies, but do your best to push yourself past what you accomplished the first time through this exercise. Just do it.

Yourself: Evaluate Your Progress

How’s your life coming along? Back in January, did you make a plan for the New Year? If so, how are you progressing on that? Let’s find out:

  1. Gather together any planning you’ve done (including the planning you did on Day 2 of the USC). That includes all to-do lists on paper and on your computer, any “bucket lists,” high-level planning, fitness plans, and resolutions you’ve mentally made with yourself.
  2. Once you’ve gathered all of this information, sort it just like you’ve been sorting your home. Throw out tasks and plans you no longer have the desire or need to do, and modify the ones that you’d now do differently.
  3. Look at your long-term or “50,000-foot” goals and make sure they haven’t changed. If they have, change them on paper and revise your steps to achieve the updated goals.
  4. Now assess how you’re doing, but don’t use point-form accomplishments. Instead, look at your overall self-improvement:
      • Are your goals clear? Even a seemingly unattainable goal can be reached if the steps are individually achievable and the goal is clear.
      • Are you taking risks? Do you understand that failure is a building block for success?
      • Are you still making excuses for the things you don’t do or don’t do properly, or do you feel like you’re taking charge of your life?
      • Do you take daily action toward your goals?
      • Do you finish what you start?
      • Do you avoid time-wasting, negative or harmful activities?
      • Are you learning new things? Do you actively read, attend classes, or practice new skills and knowledge?
      • Do you have friends who support you?
      • Can you walk away from small arguments and irritating people?
      • Are your finances improving, or are you taking steps to improve them? Are you saving appropriately for the future?
      1. Once you’ve answered these questions, look back at your goals and steps and revise them again. You should be left with a list of very specific, achievable tasks that represent the path to getting where you want to be in each area of your life. You can now prioritize the tasks and know what you have to do on any given day.
      2. Compile the immediate tasks into a master list, or enter them into your calendar.
      3. Finally, schedule another self-assessment for 2-3 months from now, so you can keep monitoring and steering yourself as you go forward.

      I think we’ve accomplished a ton today. Just remember to meditate and sleep, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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