I never really understood the logic behind spring cleaning. What makes spring so significant for clearing out clutter? Are we supposed to hide in our houses all winter and hoard old Christmas presents and years of accumulating material possessions and then magically gain the motivation to clean it all out once the last of the snow melts away?
I say, why wait? Let’s clean our clutter now, in the middle of January. Commit to a lifestyle of living with L E S S, of living more simply and you will feel that your life feels less cluttered as well.
Set aside a day or two where you have no other commitments (or very few) so that you will have large blocks of time to get it done. That way you can take an entire day and have it clean by tomorrow, rather than spending a whole week and seeing your closet ripped apart and on the floor in piles. take a couple garbage bags and start in the messiest place in the house. For most, that might be the closet.
the general rule of discarding is this: if it’s broken and can’t be fixed (or not worth fixing) then throw it out. If it can be fixed and you probably will never get to it, throw it out. If it can be fixed and you want to fix it, you should probably keep it (but put that on your to-do list or you will be seeing this item again later). If it’s out of style, too small or too big, donate it. If it’s extremely worn, thinned out or ripped, you should probably throw it out. If you have sentimental value but the item is worthless or taking up space or broken, you should probably throw it out. If you haven’t worn something in over 6 months to a year or more, throw it out — you won’t miss it. If you have 5 similar grey shirts, keep one and donate the rest. If you have 25 mugs, keep your favorite few enough for the members of your family and enough for 1-2 guests (say, 4 or 6), and donate the rest — unless they are broken or cracked.
Keep three general piles: KEEP, DISCARD, and DONATE. The DISCARD pile should be thrown out immediately. The DONATE pile should be donated to your nearest Goodwill, Savers, or similar within a week, or you should throw it out. Keep it in the car, but remember it’s there or you’ll risk cluttering your car. the KEEP pile should be a small fraction of what you started with and put back neatly and with care.
Start with the messiest area of your house, and you will feel a lot better knowing that the hardest part is done. If you feel like the messiest area of your house is too big to tackle, say, the basement, then you should start with the messiest part of the room that you use most often or that people will see, like a kid’s room.
If you’re having a hard time reducing the number of items you own, then you need to try to be strict. Only keep what you use daily. Donating other items will make you feel good.
If you want to sell items that may still have value, then go ahead and keep a pile for those, too. When you’re done, have a tag sale or post everything on Craigslist or Ebay. You may be surprised at what you can make money on.