Spring cleaning (and other odds and ends)

I will it away each year – the dreaded spring cleaning.

My goal is steadfast: clear out clutter, recycle paper junk and send boxes of gently used items to charity.

Check, check and check.

I don’t know about you, but I have loads more to tackle. Most years, unless I take days off of work to tidy up, paint and declutter, it falls to the wayside. This spring, I was on a mission to reclaim a few rooms.

It was Meri’s mom who offered the sage advice: Pick a room and start. The rest will fall into place.

So last month, that’s just what I did.  And for the first time in three years, I can once again see the floor of our office.

spin clean 028I wish I had taken a pic before I started my cleaning frenzy, but this part of the room was filled with office supplies and samples and old magazines. ALL GONE!

Among the personal goodies I trashed were my old discman and my answering machine, which didn’t record any more. Why oh why do I still own that? (Side note, if you call my home number, you no longer have the option to leave a message. Call my cell or email me instead.)

spin clean 027These boxes are ready to be donated

I love to share no-longer-needed items with a local charity, A Second Thought. It’s run  by a local Christian-based non profit and the proceeds benefit programs for people with disabilities. Every few months, I take bags of clothes there. It’s a win all around – they get items to sell or share with people in need, and I reclaim my closet.

Slowly, I am making my way through my house and items my husband stockpiled when he worked from home for a few years. We’re working our way through boxes and sending them to off their new homes.

However, I get easily sidetracked by trying new recipes – and new workouts.

spin clean 004 Easter Enchiladas!

spin clean 017

Spin class in the local YMCA’s new spinning stadium! I think I found my new Monday morning workout!

spin clean 025

And halfway through writing this post I decided I HAD to make banana bread.

Really, I know it’s a work in progress. It will never be perfect. It’s so far from ideal its not even funny.

Here are a few tips to help you declutter:

– While considering getting rid of an item – ask yourself when you last saw or used an item. If your answer is over a year, toss it.

Books get their own category in my home as I’m a complete bookworm. I hold onto books (and newspaper clippings) far longer than I should. I blame my profession. Lately, I’ve been clearing those away too:

– I ask if I have any plans in the next year to read or re-read the book. If the answer is no, away goes the book.

– Put paper junk directly into the recycling, shredder or garbage can. Don’t let it lay around. Cut it off at the pass.

– Not sure if you want to permanently get rid of a once-beloved item? Put it in the “not sure” box. Revisit that box a few months later. If you didn’t even think about the item(s) inside, you know its fate.

And don’t worry – you’re not alone. Here’s a look at the room I am dreading. (I just shut the door to cope.)

clutter 001No, really. This is real.

 Happy Spring y’all! Please share your tips on what works best for you when trying to declutter?

22 thoughts on “Spring cleaning (and other odds and ends)

  1. Such great tips! Way to go tackling one room! I really need to do this. Like you I come up with excuses not to and life gets in the way. Who wants to take a day off work to declutter? Not me! But maybe I should. I’m looking at you mugs my husband bought on our honeymoon 11 years ago that we have never used but still sit in the cupboard.

    • Thanks Bonnie! I really have loads more to do, but it’s a start. And I totally have never-used mugs from our honeymoon too. I just tweeted you a pic! And you are so right, I don’t want to take days off the declutter, but I do find that it helps.

    • Your invitation to the old farm shanty will be coming shortly!

      Much of this room belongs to my husband and he needs to sort it (hello sample products!) which is sadly why it went unchecked for so long. For now I am focusing on what I CAN do.

      Side note, will I see you Sunday in AC?

  2. So hey, since you’re coming here this weekend, I’m trying to clean in anticipation of your arrival (and Cam and Jenn!). Instead, I’m playing on the computer and not cleaning. You’ll love me and my messy house anyway, right? 😉

    • Absolutely! I wouldn’t have it any other way! (and remember how I told you I was going to start packing like 4 days ago? I haven’t. sigh)

  3. Nicely done!
    I am a a bit of a pack rat and can find sentimental value in most things, so it makes it that much harder to let go. I REALLY need to tackle my closet though – I have far too many clothes that I don’t wear, but just cannot part with. It really is a problem. lol Every weekend I task myself with going through them…maybe this weekend will be the one!

    • Oh my gosh YES! I’m better than I used to be – with old items and old clothes. It;s really hard for me to part with some things — but I’ve but my foot down on that lately. It really helps clear stuff out of my 191-year-old farm house which has like 2 closets.

      • I’ve just made the first pass through my clothes. 147 donated items later. (I have a problem.) I know I’m harping on this book but Marie Kondo’s threshold of only items that “spark joy” has really made the difference. It was easy for me to keep things with criteria of, “well, it still fits” or “it’s still a good shirt” but when the question switches to whether or not it “sparks joy” – there are many fewer items that I can truly say that about.

  4. I did this a while back with my oldest son’s room. I pulled a full trash bag of recycling out. The boy kept every piece of paper his hands ever touched. He has no idea I got rid of so much; he thought I just “straightened”. Doesn’t miss any of it. I am righteous in my sneakiness!

    • You are brilliant! I (sort of) do a version of that when my hubby leaves on business trips. He has no idea. (but I do need to steer clear of his samples)

  5. I feel you…but I also wish we had space to make such messes! My spring cleaning really needs to be the bobblehead and electronic boxes J insists upon keeping (in the kitchen) “because it’s easier to move stuff in boxes.” Um, no…

    Good luck with your other room!

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