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Purging Your Old Stuff for Spring

Spring is finally in the air, and for many homeowners, that means that it’s time to break out the cleaning supplies to give your home a deep clean. You’ve got your mops, brooms, dusters, rubber gloves, sponges, and soap, but what about all that extra stuff that’s laying around your house?

Stop and look around your home. Is there any extra stuff that you could just get rid of this year during your spring cleaning? Maybe you have a closet full of clothes that rarely get worn or a full shelf in the garage that just collects dust. Maybe your kids have a room-full of toys that end up forgotten or passed over for newer, better options.

Do you have too much stuff that just isn’t being used anymore? Well this spring could be the perfect time to do an even deeper clean of your home beyond just the mopping and sweeping. Here are some tips for purging your home of old stuff this spring!

Assess Your Stuff Situation

You’re all fired up and ready to get rid of some stuff—great! But, many hopeful spring purge-ers may find that wanting to get rid of their old stuff and getting rid of their old stuff are two very different things. There’s probably a story or reason behind a lot of things that are in your home. Whether it’s a picture from a loved one, a souvenir from a friend, or a memento of an older relative who is no longer with you, many of the things we collect have meaning. When you’re first faced with the task of cleaning out and downsizing the stuff in your home, finding stuff that brings back cherished memories can act as a barrier to successfully purging the things that do need to go.

How do you get over this wall of sentiment when it comes to spring cleaning and purging? There are a couple methods you can try:

  • The KonMari Method: You’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo and her tv show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Whether you watch reality tv or not, the KonMari method is a great way of organizing and purging things from clothes to sentimental items. Start by categorizing your stuff: clothes, books, movies, papers, knick-knacks, and sentimental items. The key here is to separate knick-knacks from items that are actually sentimental.
  • Take a photo of the sentimental items and donate them so someone may be able to make use of it but you will always have the memory.
  • Room-By-Room Method: Taking on a whole house-full of stuff at once can be enough to overwhelm even the most determined spring purge-er. If you find yourself drowning in a mountain of extra stuff, it might be best to take your purging one room at a time. Select a room that you and your family use most often. Whether it’s your bedroom, kitchen, living room, or office, take some time to assess how much extra stuff you have in these rooms. When you get to the decluttering phase, having a clean room will do wonders for your mental health, and will also give you the drive to get all the other rooms in your home tidied up too!

Set Those Goals!

SMART goals for purging this springDe-cluttering your home doesn’t have to be a stressful or difficult process. If you find yourself faltering at the base of clutter mountain, start the process with small steps first. Once you are ready to begin purging your extra stuff, set a goal for yourself for the hour, day, or week (if your stuff situation is especially out of control).

Setting and sticking to smaller goals is a great practice—not just for decluttering, but for almost any task you can think of. For example, if you’ve decided to downsize your closet, you could set a goal for yourself of one section every day. Take on a rack of clothing one day, shoes the next day, and your dresser the day after that. By breaking down the work into bite-sized chunks, you’ll be achieving the goals you set every day. Achieving smaller goals is great for boosting productivity and feeling a great sense of accomplishment.

Let the De-Cluttering Begin!

You know home much stuff you need to get rid of, you’ve broken down the effort into achievable goals, now it’s time for the real work to get started. There are tons of ways for you to actually start decluttering, but let’s go back to the methods outlined in step one:

  • After you’ve finished categorizing your stuff, the KonMari Method suggests that you keep only the things that speak to your heart. If you don’t feel a connection to something, discard the things that no longer spark joy in some part of you. While the KonMari method is a great way to get rid of knick-knacks and clothing, you might be tempted to throw away all of that past paperwork that’s filling up a drawer in the office. Of course, even though important documents and other time-sensitive paperwork may be necessary to keep, you could scan and transfer most documents to a USB storage device.
  • Starting in your chosen room, begin your purge by evaluating whether you have used an item or object in the past year. If not, purge it! Obviously, there are some exceptions, but if you’re serious about tidying up your home, you’ll need to take a pragmatic approach to getting rid of your stuff. It might be worthwhile thinking about the KonMari method of deciding if something in your home brings you joy. Is it something you’ve used in the past year? Is it something that has deep sentimental significance? If the answer is no, chances are that you can get rid of it!

Recycling and Re-giving

At this stage, you’re well on your way to finishing your spring purging, but should everything that you decide to get rid of go in the garbage? No way!

donate your old stuffWhen you start your purge, separate all the items that you don’t want into two categories: things that can still be used by somebody else, and things that are only good for the recycle. Most household items can be recycled, but if you have an item that is still in good condition, you should donate it to a local thrift store or donation centre.

Books, clothes, kitchenware, toys, and even furniture can all be donated if they are in okay condition. Why add more junk to landfills when there is someone out there who might find joy in the things that you’re tired of?

There you have it: spring cleaning and purging your stuff doesn’t have to be an impossible hurdle for you and your family. If you assess your stuff, set achievable goals, take de-cluttering seriously, and donate the things that you no longer need, you’ll have a clutter-free home just in time for inviting family and friends over once summer arrives.