I hate to wait for spring cleaning and groan as I think about it. While I found the chart below over at SCRIBBIT a while ago when I read her spring cleaning post a few years back, I’m more of a perpetual monthly cleaner, but the chart is pretty spot on. I have a corner in a closet with a box that I toss things into until full and then start over with a fresh box.
I start in January with a new thin spiral notebook and label it with the new year. Here I list all the donations throughout the year and file the receipts in the back so that come the end of the year, the list and all the coordinating receipts are ready to toss into the tax file.
I regularly get to a point where something snaps in me and I go on a cleaning binge for a week and do everything from the ceiling fans down to the baseboards, working room by room, until everything is completely clean and fresh again. Happiness TRULY is a clean house for a Type A Virgo personality. Part of the key to that happiness is something that might hurt a bit but that’s nonetheless necessary – THROWING THINGS AWAY. Now by saying, throwing things away, I don’t mean the trash necessarily (though that truly is the case many times) but I mean recycle it to somewhere or someone else. I’m a big believer in throwing things away for these simple reasons:
- Organization, order and cleanliness are mandatory to keep me sane.
- It helps you not be so attached to too many material possessions.
- It benefits other people.*
As I work my way through closets, shelves, cupboards, sheds and the garage (don’t forget to do your glove compartments and door panels on the car too) I consider whether I should get rid of each object I find by asking myself the following questions:
You may find something that it kills you to throw out, so sure that someday you’ll need it or that someday it’ll justify the spot you kept for it in your home all those years but trust me, just throw it out. And by throw it out I mean donate it to someone who can use it today. I’m learning to relish the extra clean space by having less to clean and keep track of! And strange as it may seem when you throw out more and keep less you end up buying less because you realize you need less to be happy.
Last year I donated a ton of things, but I also kept a pile of many things and put garage sale tags on them as I went through the year and put them in totes in the garage as I went having a garage sale in the spring then. Do you know what sold the best? The empty totes! That alone convinced me that other people save way too much “stuff”. The one thing I learned best is that a tote holds a ton of things and you have no idea what is on the bottom so unless storing the holiday decorations, precious childhood memories for the kids to have later or you’re putting everything into storage to travel like we did, why are stuffing that tote? Now when the garage sale was over we had enough for a nice little trip for hubby’s birthday, but considerably less that we originally paid for the items and still had to donate a truck load each to the rescue mission and women’s shelter. There really is nothing as liberating as not needing something to survive and nothing so precious as extra closet and counter space.
*No matter where we are living I do my research and try to find the most in need rescue mission. They are always in need of basic necessities like towels, sheets and daily needs items and usually have a thrift store to help them survive so they LOVE donations.