After the house has been buttoned up all winter, it’s time to throw open the windows, rev up the vacuum and get moving on spring cleaning. The task is easy for those who already keep a tidy home. For them, the task is just another day.
A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE
Bob Resnik says he is not so much of a neat freak as he just likes being organized. He scours stores for anything that can help him save time, money and energy. He lives by the mantra “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
“It makes it easier to find things and avoids duplication of effort,” he said.
It also avoids what he called “mind clutter.” Part of it comes from his mother, who is a neat freak, he said. Part of it stems from his profession –– Resnik is a retired pharmacist, a line of work that he said demands precision and attention to detail. On a scale of one to 10, he said his neatness quotient was an 8½.
“My main thing is clutter, things laying around where they’re not supposed to be,” he said. “I like putting things where they belong, so that way they’re easier to find, and you’re not trying to find something under duress that you don’t know where you put it. And also, if you can’t find something, you buy another, so now you have four of something that you really only need one of.”
Shopping in bulk means jamming cabinets with more things, so the pantry and cupboards are organized with storage bins.
He and his wife, Jeanette, have been married for 48 years. When their children were young, the couple insisted that the main part of the house be clean and picked up. If he ever walked in to see that a whirlwind had blazed through the house, “I would think that I’d fallen asleep and woken up in Kansas,” he joked.
When their children were growing up, one child took the matter to heart and kept a pristine bedroom. The other child stuffed things under the bed and called it good enough.
“We just shut the door,” he said.
But being super organized comes with its own problems. Shelves in the Resniks’ garage became so overloaded with books and chinaware that they collapsed.
“This was during the collection phase of our lives,” he said.
Resnik said these days, he and his wife are giving things away. Resnik said the computer is a great tool for digitally storing copies of bills and documents. As such, spring cleaning now consists of changing out the bedding.
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER SAYS ELIMINATING CLUTTER STARTS AT THE STORE
Christine Ruggiero is a professional organizer with The Lakes Professional Organizers who specializes in residences. She said it’s a natural inclination when winter nears to gather, much as animals prepare for snow by collecting food. That inclination also explains why people acquire things they don’t need, she said.
“We always think, ‘Oh, I’m going to use this someday,’ ” she said. “And there’s the, ‘Oh my gosh, this is on sale.’ ”
She said one might be saving a buck, but they’re paying for it with space in their home and that eliminating clutter starts at the store. Before taking an item to the checkout, she said, ask yourself if you need it or simply want it.
“Some people –– admit it –– have clothes in their closet that they haven’t worn in a year,” she said. “Ask if it makes you feel incredibly beautiful. If it doesn’t meet that criteria, give it away. ... There is an actual hoarding scale, from one to five. Five is what you see on TV.”
One of her clients, Marvy, who lives just south of The Lakes and asked that her last name not be used, is in the process of a whole-house cleaning, a task she has spaced out over a few weeks.
While Marvy has a good reason why her house got out of control, she also admitted she was “a bit of a clutter bug. I’m an organizer-type person, but I have too much of too many things.”
Her late husband, Robert, was a physician and had deteriorating health. She said he preferred that she stay by his side and keep him company. Hence it was difficult for her to keep up with household chores.
“He didn’t like me away from him, and that was OK, but I didn’t get anything done in the house for years,” she said. “I tried to maintain the kitchen and our area, but the rest of the house just fell into disarray. I was overwhelmed with it.”
Her husband died about a year ago, and she began sorting through things, giving away his clothes and such. But they owned a 4,000-square-foot house, too much for one person to declutter.
“I was overwhelmed with it all,” Marvy said. So she called Ruggiero.
Before Robert got ill, Marvy said she “was more of the lax housekeeper. The house was clean, but I’d have papers here and there, until I was drowning in them. ... The big part was organizing the family room because it’s used so much. Everyone gravitates to that space and begins projects there.”
Another problem was saying she would put something away later. Ruggiero has been coming for a couple of months, once a week, for about three hours each day.
“That’s about all we can take,” Marvy said. “She’s not judgmental; she will pull up her sleeves and help you. She has taken my house and given me a new lease on life by showing me how to declutter.”
She’s passing her tidy-savvy ways on to others. Her grandsons, 5 and 8, now stash all their markers and papers as soon as they’re done with them.
“I don’t have to worry about people coming in unexpectedly and finding clutter,” Marvy said. “It’s so much easier to take care of now. She’s turned my life around.”
SPRING IS A GOOD TIME FOR ORGANIZATION, IF NOT CLEANING
Lexy Capp, owner and founder of Nannies & Housekeepers USA, said she has many clients in Summerlin. Some of them have full-time nannies and housekeepers but want additional manpower from time to time. One house is 30,000 square feet, needing all the hands it can get to stay spotlessly clean.
“Some are run better than a five-star hotel,” she said.
With spring comes calls for temporary work, where housekeepers are needed for a day or two. A lot of people move here from places where spring was welcomed with open arms, marking the end of winter. Those traditions sometimes carry over come the Las Vegas move.
“It’s a good time of year to get rid of the clutter, get all organized,” Capp said. “Maybe it’s not a full spring cleaning. Maybe they just want to get organized, clean out clutter in the closets. ... This is the time when we get calls, and people say, ‘We want to do our windows.’ They pick a day and dedicate it to (cleaning) and say they need two or three housekeepers to come.”
Housekeeper Ana Morales said sometimes the homeowner will follow her around as she dusts.
“Some people want everything back in the exact same place; even if you only moved it one inch, they want it back in the same place,” she said. “But it doesn’t bother me.”
Morales said some people are so meticulous, they have her scrub sliding window tracks with a toothbrush. The toughest job is not those stubborn hard water stains on shower doors, she said, but cleaning the grout between tiles. It’s time-consuming, hard work and can mean foregoing doing some other chore for her allotted time.
What would make her job easier? If clients would refer to her list-specific supplies so she could do her job right, she said.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.