Springtime is fast approaching and for many people, this often means spring cleaning. While it’s not exactly everyone’s most favorite thing in the world, it’s something that has to be done. How else can we keep our homes organized and beautiful? This doesn’t mean you have to throw out everything, though. There are many ways to rid your home of clutter without hauling bags and bags of trash.
Start by asking yourself these questions. How much of the stuff in your home do you actually use? When was the last time you wore that sequined top in your closet? Do any of your belongings still have a price tag on it? Do you really need to keep those old utility bills from the last house you lived in?
Once you’ve figured out which ones you need from the ones you don’t need, you can proceed to clearing up the clutter.
Weed ‘em out
Take three empty boxes and label them as used, seldom used and never used. Alternatively, you can label them as “keep,” “donate,” and “throw away.” This way, you can segregate your things and sort through them later. Next, purge your closet and cabinets of old clothes, accessories and other bits and pieces that occupy too much space. Toss them into the boxes that you’ve labeled earlier.
Understandably, this isn’t an easy project and you might find it difficult to part with some of your things. Take a deep breath and be objective about it. Surely, Grandma would understand if you decide to donate the neon green crocheted sweater she gave you ten years ago.
There are many ways to recycle old stuff – all it takes is a little imagination. For instance, instead of throwing out your tattered shirts, you can cut up the good parts and use them as cleaning rags. If you have quilting skills, you can even make a blanket or a throw. Those stack of old CDs gathering dust in the corner? Turn them into wall displays. You can also use lone socks in crafting sock puppets for the kids.
Donating your slightly used items to charity is perhaps one of the best ways to declutter your home. Allocate one or two boxes for donations and tip all your unwanted stuff in them. You can further separate your junk according to classification. Threadbare clothes, outdated furniture and dog-eared books are all welcome in charitable organizations.
Children’s toys and baby items will find a new home in children’s hospitals and day care centers. For electronic gadgets, old batteries and other items that may have toxic items in them, you can donate them for recycling so that they will not end up in landfills.
Get in touch with your local charity organizations. There might be a Goodwill or Salvation Army station in your neighborhood. These organizations ensure that your donations will reach those who badly need them. The idea here is to lessen the trash that makes its way to the landfill while helping others in need.
What’s a greater motivation for people who need to declutter their homes than earning money? Arrange a garage sale if you think your possessions may still be worth a few bucks.
Spring is the perfect time to have a garage or yard sale since people will be out and about. Schedule two-day garage sale on a weekend, so that you’ll have more potential buyers. Announce the sale weeks in advance — it would be great if you can schedule it around paycheck weekend. Start your sale as early as 7 A.M. to catch some of the hardcore buyers.
You can also invite some of your family and friends to host the garage sale with you. A large sale usually draws a big crowd, and that means you’ll have more chances of selling most of your stuff. You can just divide the income according to the items sold after the sale.
If you don’t have time to organize a garage sale, list your stuff on Craigslist, eBay or any other similar site.
Paper, paper, paper
Many people are guilty of having too much paper at home. Whether they’re newspapers, paper bills or magazines, you can recycle them all to avoid throwing them in landfills. Now, what to do with all that paper?
Separate used white paper from colored ones. Newspapers and magazines should also be separately stacked. The unprinted side of white paper can still be used for note taking or for making lists. Cut white paper into four equal parts and arrange them all together with a huge paper clip. Make sure you shred all papers that contain sensitive information.
Alternatively, you can create decoupage or papier-mâché out of old paper and baskets out of old newspapers and magazines. Check your city listings for recycling programs or drop-off centers. This will give you an idea where to bring all the old paper stuff you have at home.
When spring-cleaning your home, prettifying your home is not the only thing to consider. A lot of the stuff we have at home can be recycled. Consider this option not only to lessen the clutter, but also to reduce your carbon footprint.
Jessica Phan is a designer for Balsamhill.com a purveyor of high-end artificial Christmas Trees. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area is perfect for her because she has a wide range of interests, including Art & Design, Fashion, Photography, Painting and Thrift Store Shopping.