DEAR HARRIETTE: As spring is here in full force, my wife has decided that this is the year that we get rid of clutter. In the past, the whole family has made a halfhearted promise to throw out what we truly do not need just to appease my wife. This year, however, it seems as though she is ready to turn everyone into complete minimalists. There is an entire schedule for what we are donating each week. Clothing, toys, sports equipment and extra bedding all make an appearance, and it's safe to say everyone is a little scared of Mommy this year. Our children are 10, 12 and 15, and they do not always want to part with their items.
My wife is not even budging at their requests to hold on to anything sentimental. She says we can just take a photograph of items to remember them and donate or toss the real thing. We're all weary of this idea, but my wife seems to be on a rampage. Do we just grin and bear this spring cleaning? I don't really want to get rid of anything, either. -- Power Clean, Rochester, New York
DEAR POWER CLEAN: I wish your wife would come to my house! Believe it or not, her level of organization for this cleaning means that it will likely be more effective than in years past. Even though you don't want to let go of any of your belongings, you may be relieved and grateful if you do it. Most of us collect things over the years that we really don't need. Make space for what is yet to come by giving up something from each category. It will be a great lesson for your children as well.