The Essentials of Spring Cleaning
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The Essentials of Spring Cleaning

The Fight Against Clutter, Tips for "What to Toss" & More

The Essentials of Spring Cleaning

Spring-cleaning can be fun! It’s like a second try at a New Year’s Resolution. The season of spring lies in this magical time frame, inthe few months after your commitment to your New Year’s Resolution has become completely obsolete. Whether that means the gym you joined in January keeps emailing you with updates you don’t care about, or you realize your life might be a little messy and could use a face-lift in its organization, spring-cleaning can be very therapeutic.

I love the idea of “spring-cleaning,”

because in this universally known season of change, we all might find ourselves faced with those “things” in life that we might need to just toss.

It is hard to throw away all the useless or outdated stuff that you have accumulated over the past few months or even years. At some level we all face tendencies to hoard.

You go to toss it and you think, “what if I will need that in the near future” and then of course, you think back to when you threw something away that you ended up needing and that is the reason you ultimately decide to keep this item.No, that’s not it. You find yourself in a moment of nostalgia with that item- maybe a dear friend or a distant relative gave it to you and of course you can’t throw it away now because it was a gift or a nice memory- so then you keep it. For whatever reason, this item coerces its way back into the insignificant corner of your room and collects dust.

Does this sound familiar? You are not alone.

We are here and we understand there is nothing easy about cleaning, packing, organizing, or decluttering because you don’t know what your future self is going to want or need. You just have to hope for the best in your decision-making capabilities at the moment.

For you, reader, I have noted four simple tips of for anyone who would like to hear about my experience. I am no expert by any means, but do with them what you will.

1. The first tip I have, just start!

Spring-cleaning is a daunting task, especially when you do not know where to begin. As ridiculously obvious as this tip might sound, for me, starting was the hardest part (probably tied somewhere in the middle where I was trapped in my room with piles of clothes and bags suffocating both my cat and myself)....

But yes, starting is tied for the hardest part of spring-cleaning. The entire idea of cleaning is grounds for lack of motivation, and then you add to that the conceptualization of how much work it is going to be and what a time and commitment it’s going to be once you start. Brush those thoughts to the side of your mind. When you say “oh I will get to it later” or make other excuses, it simply prolongs the inevitable. Start sooner rather than later.

2. Go deep into the junk doors- don’t let them be an after thought

You know the drawer. This is the black hole for junk, where junk goes to get swirled and jumbled together in this heap of miscellaneous crap. But it is always closed so out of sight out of mind right? Wrong. Don’t keep the junk from your junk drawers. I know for many, including myself, it is often an after thought that I do not pay too much attention too, but it is the clutter that I will probably miss the least. Go deep into your junk drawers, and toss out the garbage that you really don’t need. If the item has sentimentalvalue then by all means keep it, but designate it to a “memories only area” rather than flinging it along with the other miscellaneous.

For those items that are not sentimental, ask yourself, “will this item ever migrate out of the junk drawer and into my life?” If the answer is no, then TOSS it.

Also, the advantage of going through the junk drawer, you may serendipitously find your favorite lotion that you thought you lost or more hair ties that you probably already have in surplus, add them to the collection because

the cat always steals them anyway.

3. A note on sentimental value

First, you are not tossing away relationships or people or experiences, it is just stuff!

The question to ask yourself: “Could I buy a new one if I needed to” AKA does it have sentimental value? Could you live without this item in the future? Could you buy a new one? Remember stuff is just that, stuff. Stuff is not memories, but it serves as a reminder.

If you look at something and remember a special moment or relationship and you think that memory trigger will be good for the future, then by all means, keep the item. Limit the size though, and limit the amount of sentimental items you have. Part of the reason they are special is because you kept them to remember that special something, if you keep everything, the sentiment simply blends with the rest of your “stuff.”

Be wise when choosing which memory tokens to save. As difficult as it is, try to put yourself in the shoes of future-you and ask, “would future me really want to keep this?”

4. The broken, ill-fitted, stained “stuff”… Seriously, why is this still in your wardrobe? If you can’t wear it now in or in the near future... Toss it!

Ripped: Throw away things that are broken that you have no intention of fixing any time soon. Reevaluate the clothes in the sewing pile; if you actually want to spend the time or the money getting it fixed, do it now.

If not, BYE! Is it a piece of your wardrobe you have invested so much in that it couldn’t be replaced? If not, give it away- toss it, don’t wear ripped clothes.

Stained: If you are a messy eater,

or maybe you threw a bright red sock into your load of whites, whatever the case, take a look at that piece of clothing. Ask yourself, do I care enough to get this stain out or get it back to the original color? No? Toss it!!!! Do not wear stained clothes.

Fit: This is a tricky one. It is completely natural to fluctuate weight, and I believe whole-heartedly that everyone should keep a pair of fat pants, but no the limit.

Your wardrobe should be full of clothes that fit, not a year ago or not when you lose those 10 lbs that you may not lose. Donate or sell the clothes that do not fit you, and get ones that do!The clothes in the wardrobe should reflect what would look good today, tomorrow and next week.

I learned, through the process of decluttering my life, the value of material things as they pertain to practicality in my life. In general, getting rid of the excess “stuff” makes you focus on what you really need. In condensing your possessions you face critical decisions that will lead you to live out a more pure form of your life because it makes you choose favorites.

Embrace and live with purity!

Life is all too uncertain to bet on the "what ifs." Your life is not made better by dwelling on “what if I lose weight” or “what if I need this ripped sweater” or "what if I need that for a themed party." I guarantee if there is that much debate about whether or not you should keep something, you probably do not need it. Also, don’t take the simplification process too seriously. Remember above all else that, at the end of the day, it is all just stuff- let go! Do yourself a favor and flush out the old; be fresh and simple entering into your summer!

5. The last and best tip, when you finally finish, enjoy a large, chilled glass of Sangria

Know you have done a good job with a difficult task. Celebrate responsibly, but also unapologetically as you kick back with your perfect summer drink.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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