As Featured on News Cult: A How-To Guide to Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is cleaning on fleek. It’s not just your regular dusting, vacuuming, washing and scrubbing. It’s a complete overhaul of your home and life, both physically and spiritually. It’s a time to reassess and decide what you no longer want or need. And there are ways of doing it that streamline the process so that you get the most out of it. So here’s your how-to guide for spring cleaning.

Go into it from a minimalist perspective

The goal is to get rid of a lot of shit. We all have too much stuff, and there’s no need to live like that. It takes a literal and figurative load off when you toss unnecessary material items. So be prepared to just PURGE.

Set standards

For how you decide what to get rid of. I think that if you haven’t used something in the last year, that should be the main criteria. Then, things that are too worn, broken, or otherwise obviously can’t/won’t be used should go next. Otherwise, go with your gut—as you scan your belongings, if you don’t have a strong feeling or justification for wanting to keep something, or it just pulls at you or gives you weird vibes for whatever reason, decide to get rid of it.

Leave no stone unturned

Go through your entire home—every closet, under every bed, the attic, every cupboard, every storage bin—and pull out things to get rid of, using the above guidelines.

Make categories

For how you’re going to get rid of things. Usually, these are along the lines of throw away/recycle, donate/give away, or sell. This will help you feel more productive, and not like you’re just wasting everything by throwing it in the trash. If you’re super anal and your spirit animal is the label maker organized, you can make cute, color-coded labels for your categories.

Do the trashing/recycling first

Get it out of the way. Throw away or recycle (if possible) everything you want to get rid of that isn’t nice enough to donate, give away, or sell. **Please note** Your neighbors will apparently go through your trash so don’t throw anything away you aren’t prepared to see on the front page of the newspaper.

Then move on to the donating/giving away

Choose a charity or cause that you’ve vetted and you’re passionate about, and donate everything you possibly can to it (and as many others as you’d like). The best part of this is that you are doing good, (unless you’re a Republican, and then the best part for you is that you get a tax write off). Don’t be an asshole and donate shitty stuff—only donate gently used or new things (or follow the rules of the place you’re donating to, if it has them).

Another option is to give away things to your friends, family, neighbors, or anyone else you think could benefit from or would appreciate them. If you have stuff you’ve bought that’s brand new and you ‘ve never used, you can also repurpose it as gifts. I know that etiquette people are going to jump down my throat for this one, but why waste more money/resources if you already have something that would make an appropriate gift? Plus, it’s handy to keep a “gift drawer” at home that’s stocked with some nice little gifts anyways, in case you come upon a last minute need for one (read: when you’re a shitty friend/guest and don’t think ahead).

Or, you could throw a swap meet, where you and a  group of friends get together and bring items you’ve decided to get rid of that you can trade each other for. This is just a way to make spring cleaning more fun—make a party out of it (read: any excuse for alcohol)! And so that it doesn’t completely defeat the purpose of decluttering, you could make a rule that for each item you trade, you have to donate another. At the end, you can all make a drunken visit to your local Good Will or another organization and drop off your donations together.

Any of these ‘give away’ options will make you feel better about the incredible amount of money you’ve wasted buying things over the years. #noregrets #YOLO #HAGS 

Then sell

I’m not well-versed in the selling used items thing, but I know that some people are successful doing it. If you’re strapped for cash, see if a consignment or vintage store will take any of your clothes (although I’ve heard a lot of them are pretty snooty and don’t take even genuinely nice stuff—like, you’re a used clothing store, you’re already out of elitism’s reach… GTF over yourself). Or see if you can sell stuff online (I’ve had some success with selling college textbooks on Amazon). If you live near the endangered species known as bookstores and record stores, try selling your books/CDs/DVDs/albums there. Or get a booth at a flea market. I also just tried using thredUP, and while I just sent in my first bag so can’t make a super definitive personal value judgment yet, from what I can tell, they’re a good service—I especially like that they recycle items that people send them but they can’t sell (read: the offensively unstylish P’s OS you send in that no one, not even a naked redhead stranded on a beach at high noon, would wear).

Avoid keeping things at all cost

If you’re like me, you have hoarder instincts, which lead you to hold onto things for no reason. You even hold onto sentimental items that make you feel bad, like cards from old boyfriends, jeans that no longer fit, or other reminders of how you’ve failed at life that you’re fooling yourself into believing are somehow motivational to you in a positive way. But why keep stuff around that makes you feel bad or that otherwise serves no purpose (which then just makes you feel bad anyway because it’s proof of your wastefulness)? I mean, I know we’re not as bad as refusing to get rid of our baby’s dirty diapers or collecting every toothpick we’ve ever used, but still, holding onto anything that is in any way excessive or useless just doesn’t make sense. So just let it go. In other words, rather than confront your demons, just get rid of them. #denial #ifpantsaretootightandthey’renotintheclosettohauntyou,aretheyreallytootight?

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/guide-spring-cleaning/

18 thoughts on “As Featured on News Cult: A How-To Guide to Spring Cleaning

  1. peckapalooza says:

    Each time I’ve moved I’ve gotten rid of more and more things. 10 years ago, I had enough stuff to fill a multi-room duplex. Now I have the contents of a single bedroom. My goal is to eventually be able to fit all my worldly belongings within the confines of a Toyota Corolla.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fannie Frankfurter says:

    I hoard things, especially sentimental items. Whenever I think about tossing old cards I also think about how excited I am when I find old photos or mementos when doing historical research.
    I throw things like this out slowly to avoid the shock.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandi says:

    Do I receive royalties for this post? I know you’ve been spying on me and reading my posts of how we’ve had to go through everything while we are moving and doing just what you listed here. You took notes watching me, good girl! 🙂

    Even after you move the first time and live in a hotel for (10) days, you realize – do you really NEED anything, but a toothbrush/toothpaste, soap/deodorant, and a pair shorts/flip flops (in southern CA) and a couple of shirts. (underwear/bra of course) (seriously) – I almost told the kids they weren’t getting their toys back because their apartment bedrooms look SO good. No clutter. No over-flowing closet.

    I’m thinking we are going to hit phase 2 of getting rid of more stuff, like dishes (glasses) we’ve kept over the years. OMG. They were packed the first time, and starting to unpack them now… just to pack again when we move again in 5 months. I’m thinking a lot of those are going to end up at Good Will. They are amazing, but we just don’t use glass in our house. a set of wine glasses / flutes should be sufficient.

    Liked by 1 person

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