Spring has arrived in Nashville and it is time to start thinking about deep cleaning. Spring cleaning is more than just defrosting the freezer and scrubbing the bathtub. It is also a great time to go through the closets and donate the things you don’t need anymore.
Finding The Right Balance
Cleaning out and donating your things can be easier said than done, though. For many, the items that wind up getting thrown out or donated only account for a fraction of what ought to be thrown out or donated. But should you thin out your possessions drastically? It depends. Having a lot of great stuff often requires having more stuff to take care of that stuff, and it can become a never-ending cycle of accumulation. On the flip side, people who strive for a minimalist lifestyle are still often focusing on possessions just as much, but on having as few possessions as possible. We want to see you find the happy medium.
Focusing on experiences rather than possessions is a great, healthy way to grow your relationships and your family. This spring, take the time with your family to plan out experiences and activities that you would like to enjoy together. If you’re married, discuss with your spouse what your priorities are for your children – what is most important, not what is most urgent. Every parent wants to spend time with their kids sharing their values, reading to them, being creative and fun. But instead, what winds up happening to many of us is that the urgent takes over – the messes, the fussy dinner times, the dirty diapers, and cleaning up a million toys rather than dealing with the important things. Taking the time to take stock of what is important is a great way to refocus. Cleaning out those extra toys, outgrown clothes, and more is a great way to spend less time cleaning at the end of the day and spend more time telling stories and singing songs. Or just playing with the other toys.
The Organized Closet Method
But how do you decide what to clean out and what to keep? There are three different methods that we recommend. The first is to start your spring cleaning a little early, specifically immediately after Christmas. Set all of your winter and spring clothes to one side of the closet. Each time you wear something, wash it, and return it to the closet, put it on the opposite side of the closet. By the time spring cleaning arrives, everything that is still unworn on the first side of the closet is probably safe to clean out. You’ll have to repeat this for each season since your bathing suit might not be worn very often during the winter months, but it probably doesn’t take up very much space either.
The Room Method
The second method is to go through your house/apartment one room at a time. Go through each room and look at it critically. What is taking up extra space, what do you use regularly, what takes up more of your time or money to keep and maintain? Again, like the first method, this doesn’t need to take place over a short period of time. This can be a months-long process and probably should be if you genuinely want to change your lifestyle and make it stick. Also, taking it slow can help you notice hidden maintenance costs that you hadn’t noticed you had been paying for over time. And like the other methods, the goal should be to optimize your home for experiences with family and friends. Most people tend to try to use objects to create a feeling and ambience. This really can work for a period of time, but it is the experience of quality time that is most effective. If you think back to some of your most treasured memories as a child, most of them are about the people you were with. Remembering the other objects in the room with you would require much more effort. Make your home make memories by spending less time and energy on things and more time and energy on people.
The Moving Method
The final method is to imagine that you are moving. Moving to a new home is always a great way to clean out all of the things that you don’t need. Many people will get rid of stuff just because it is too costly or too much of a hassle to move it. When you first moved into the new place, you saw the rooms as a canvas on which to create your masterpiece. This is an opportunity to see your home that way again. If you were to move next week, what would you take with you? What would you throw away? What would you donate? This isn’t meant to suggest that you should give up all of your favorite possessions if they don’t have strategic value, or even that you should toss out something that requires regular maintenance or care cost. It is just meant to help clean out some of the clutter.
Don’t Forget To Donate
Of course, ThriftSmart suggests donating all of your items that are in good condition that you are getting rid of. Giving away items you no longer use is a great way to clean out your home, to make someone else’s day, and to keep thing out of landfills. Taking it further, donating your goods is an opportunity in itself to build a great experience with your family. Discuss with your kids how they think someone else could benefit from stuff that they could do without.
Donating goods is just like donating money. Most of us could think of a lot of great, fun, and wonderful uses for extra money. But still we often donate money because we care about the cause, we care about the people, or we care about the community, and we know that the money we give is going to improve them. The same is true when donating your stuff. When you donate to organizations like ThriftSmart, you are not only clearing out your clutter, you’re contributing to the community. You can find out more about where to donate or how to schedule a pick up from our team by checking out our donate page!