Ugh, Labor Day. It’s got to be the most hated holiday of them all.
But wait, you say. I love Labor Day. It’s the last hurrah of summer, the biggest BBQ blowout of the year, and the final time this year I can wear white jeans and white heels.
I know, I know. Nobody wants to use his or her own tears as a salty condiment for burgers and hot dogs, and also nobody wants to ponder the sordid history of Labor Day, that tiny crumb of a whopping one day off that the U.S. government gave its workers back in 1882.
Day drinking aside, in my mind there’s not a whole ton of upside to Labor Day. It’s the last strains of the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, and the vibe by Monday night is downright depressing. And on Tuesday morning, your summer hangover — either literal or emotional — is almost too much to bear.
So this year, instead of spending the weekend sitting in traffic on the way out of town or to the beach, consider taking on a little work that will actually help you flip the switch and get ready for a productive leap into back to everything mode. There are 10 ideas here — feel free to work your ass off and do them all, or just pick one or two. Either way, you’ll feel productive and ready to get into the fall groove.
10) Hang out in your closet. I’m big on regular purging, and to me the #1 hot spot for everyone is the bedroom closet. If you’re feeling like you need to work up some enthusiasm for this one, I suggest you rent a crane to pick up the 832-page September Vogue, and be wowed by all the beautiful new looks for fall that you could have, if only you could find an extra foot of space to hang them in. Stare into cover girl Beyoncé’s eyes, and find the courage to trash your ripped, stained, out of date, and out of shape wear. Cuz you know ‘Yoncé don’t play in ugly clothes, and neither should you.
9) Change your sheets. This I mean in the higher sense of the word “change” — I wasn’t necessarily insulting your bedroom hygiene. When’s the last time you got new sheets? Or towels for that matter. I know that for me it was when we moved into our new house and bought a new bed. Uhmmm, ten years ago. Sound familiar?
8) Organize your desk. This one is HUGE. We all have work areas at home and in the office, and desks are the #1 repositories of psychic clutter. Old bills, files filled with crap you never look at, dried out pens, unsharpened pencils, and all of the flotsam and jetsam of the work you do is like a giant albatross, and not in the funny Monty Python way. Pull out all of the crap cluttering your desktop, your drawers, your filing system, even what’s under your desk — that Medusa-like coil of cords — then toss, clear, sort, and restock your work space.
7) Purge the plastics. Back to everything means that you’ll likely be packing lunch for yourself and your family again, and also maybe even getting back into a cooking groove. I watched my BBF organize her Tupperware recently, and it was utterly intoxicating AND contagious. (I know, it’s sad, but I do have a touch of cleaning OCD that comes with the urge to create order out of the daily chaos – can you relate?) If it doesn’t have a lid, chuck it. If it does, burp it — just for shits ‘n giggles.
6) Bag some books: I have so many books shoved in nooks ‘n crannies that I have never read, or borrowed from someone and never returned, or accumulated from who knows where and have no intention of reading. And if you have kids, be real and give Goodnight Moon and all the books they’ve long outgrown a rest — it’s over. Pull all those dusty tomes off the shelves, and bring them to Goodwill or return them to their rightful owners. Because you’re NEVER having a yard sale, and you know it.
5) Back it up, clear it off: If you’re like me, your computer is jammed to the hilt with a bunch of old files. I keep thinking that I’ll need them someday… and so far, that day has never come. Compress those old nasties (it’s just a quick right-click to compress!), and if you have tons of room on your hard drive, go ahead and keep ’em. But if you’re like me and have relatively limited space, throw those old bastards on a flash drive and never look back. Oh, and by the way, if you’re an email hoarder, now’s the time to delete the thousands of unread messages and give your inbox a breather.
4) Take on ONE terrifying junk drawer. I’m making it doable — pick the worst spot, be it in your kitchen, your bedroom, your bathroom — wherever — and empty it out. All the way down to the essentials. And if you’ve enjoyed this one, just think about the top three worst offenders in the house, and give them the same treatment. Ahhhhh…
3) Unf*ck your fridge. If you’re like me and gave up on organized meals during the summer, now’s the perfect time to clear the decks for re-upping your commitment to healthy eating for yourself and your family. So round up those half-eaten leftovers, rotting fruit, stale bread, jars of stuff past their pull dates (jams, condiments, etc.), hold your nose, grab your garbage, and clean that sucker out.
2) Work the Labor Day sales: Now that you’ve made some space AND read your fall Vogue cover to cover, it’s time to load up on fresh style for your bod and your home. Labor Day sales are said to be on par with Black Friday sales, so you should be able to score some great new stuff for a song.
1) Take a nap. Go ahead, take a break — after you’ve done all that personal work, you do deserve to relax. And day drink. After all, it is Labor Day!
So if you see me hauling crap to the curb while sucking down a summer ale, just know that’s the kind of work we all should be doing this long weekend. Even if the only item on the list you get to is #1!