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If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to [email protected]

Ms. Magnolia

Dear Ms. Magnolia, I hate to clean house, and my house is still messy now after the holidays. Isn’t there a painless way to clean it up? Reader Dear Reader, Cleaning the house is not always the problem. If you had a house with nothing but the few essentials for living – basic food, clothing, and shelter, – there would be very little work to cleaning. But human beings tend to collect “stuff,” no matter who we are or where we live. What we usually mean when we refer to cleaning house is moving the stuff around.

The real effort is having to work through our (often emotional) attachment to stuff, and that is why we dread cleaning. To make cleaning easier, you need to first go through each room, each closet and each drawer, and decide what is important to you to keep and what you can get rid of. The less you have, the less you have to clean. You may have Mom’s bowl that you use only once a year for a certain dessert, or favorite clothes that no longer fit you but might again someday, or knickknacks that you have collected on memorable holidays.

So before you start dusting and mopping, go through everything and decide what you want or need to keep. Then box up and remove from the house all the things you can do without – to be stored, sold, donated, or given away. Organize what is left into groups and put near the places where you will use them. Then begin to dust, mop, vacuum, and wash.

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

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