Spring Cleaning

Northwest Pearls: Spring Cleaning
Northwest Pearls: Spring Cleaning

Happy Spring! I've been inspired lately to get rid of a lot of my stuff. I've felt like I had so much because it's not just in my room, but in the storage room downstairs, and in the garage, and in an outer building. So I spent more than a few hours going through it all and deciding what to keep and what to give away or sell.

There are a lot of benefits to going through all of this:

  1. I now have less stuff. Much of what I've gotten rid of I don't wear, don't like, doesn't fit, etc. So it wasn't too hard to get rid of when I was in a brutal mood.
  2. What I do have it more organized. The boxes are all the same size and labeled. Instead of carefully wrapping my 24 matching teacups in newspaper and not knowing what is where or if these are the white and gold teacups, I got bubble wrap so you can see through it and mostly tell what it is, and I created a storage system so each is in its own compartment. I looked at buying one, like this one from Williams Sonoma, but ultimately wanted to save the money so I made my own pretty easily by creating cardboard dividers in a heavy-duty cardboard box and wrapping the cups in bubble wrap. I also printed detailed labels for the outside and inside of the boxes so I know how many and what are inside each box. This one from Bed Bath & Beyond is nice too.
  3. It's not as stressful. I now know where everything I own is.
  4. Every item of clothing I own, except for my snowpants, snowboots, and a few other assorted winter items, is in my room. They all fit in my closet, in my dresser, or under my bed. This is a huge deal. I've never been able to do that before. I've always had an extra 4+ boxes of clothes in the storage room downstairs or in the garage.
  5. I've rediscovered things I'd forgotten I owned. I came across a philosophy textbook right when I've just started studying philosophy for fun. It's been added to my "to-read" pile. I've also rediscovered a cute winter sweater. (Well, now winter is almost over but it's now in a drawer in my dresser for next year instead of a box in the garage.)

I've felt really great that I've been able to go through and get rid of so much. I wish that there was more I could get rid of. I'm currently dreaming of living in a tiny home, which is part of what inspired me to do this, but it's also something that's been needing to get done for years. I still have plenty of clothes, more than I wear, and lots of shoes, but I don't have clothes I don't like or that don't fit or that I feel bad getting rid of because I never wore them. And I've kept most of my book collection. Every book that I've enjoyed or I want to keep I've kept. But there were a lot of books I received for free from a neighbor once he read them. I read them and kept them, (he didn't want them back) but really didn't enjoy them or they have no value to me so now I have probably about fifty books to give away or sell.

I think it's also important to not keep things just because of sentimental value. There are a few things I've been getting rid of that belonged to my grandmother, but I don't like them and don't want them on display in my house. So they've been sitting in a box in the garage for years. Well that's ridiculous. I shouldn't be holding onto something just because it was hers. So I've been fairly brutal in what I've gotten rid of. I even had a gorgeous antique teapot from my grandmother in the pile. I would have kept it, but it had no lid and no maker's mark to try and find a replacement lid for. But my mother took it out of the pile and kept it for herself. (It was her mother-in-law's.)

If I was to be more brutal, I could really go through my closet and get rid of more. But I'm happy with how it is now, even if it is still a little full. Another thing I could challenge myself to do is to get rid of some of my books that are just decorations, like a set of history books from 1887. But I love the look of them and knowing that they're 130 years old. So I can't do it. At least not yet. But for now I have about 3 garbage bags of clothes, 50ish books, 8 sets of place settings, and some other assorted items to get rid of. So I'd call it pretty good.

I'd challenge you to try and get rid of some of the  stuff you don't use or need. It's very freeing.

What do you think of getting rid of the items that don't add value to your life?