Giving stuff away is rewarding- Spring cleaning
Two weekends ago I got a bee in my bonnet. Yup there are lots of bees in Northern California. While I hear they are endangered, my yard tells me otherwise. Anyway, it was Spring time and time for spring cleaning. So the spring cleaning process began.
Spring cleaning the house
I went through my closet and began to clean house. First items to clear out- excess dress shirts and t shirts. This was easy enough to do. I only need 5 dress shirts and at 10, have ample amounts to allow for cleaning, etc. So I got rid of shirts I do not wear often, similar tones/shades, or if they were wearing down. I actually had 3 white dress shirts and one of my favorite blue shirts had a tear in the elbow. Wierd. Then I went through t-shirts and sweaters. Needless to say, I was able to get rid of quite a bit and my closet looks great.
The kids stuff
Then went the baby stuff. My wife and I have held on to all of our son’s toys, clothes, cribs, etc. for 2 years in case we have another child. This makes sense to save money, especially if we have a boy. But after much discussion, neither her nor I are ready for number 2 yet. So let’s say we hold on to the clothes in case she gets pregnant in a year. Then we will have to wait an entire 9 months before using anything. So that is 4 years of holding onto items in case we have a kid and that kid is a boy. If you ask me, it is better to donate it to someone who can use it now.
Finally, it was time to go through the garage. When we moved in the former owners had left a bucket full of tiles and a ton of paint. I assumed the tile was for something in the house. I was wrong. I took the tile all over and could not find a match anywhere. So what to do now? Well I posted a ad on Craigslist offering the tile for free. Within 30 minutes (it was a Saturday) I had 3 people interested. I went with first come first serve and gave all the tile away to an artist. It is nice tile and she is excited to make something out of it. I asked her to share a pic with me if and when she does, so hopefully I can post that here one day.
Then came the paint. I have 20 plus cans in my garage. I sorted out labeled from non-labeled cans. The labeled ones I kept. The other 10 went to our local toxic waste recycling place. I drove there at 7:30 on a Saturday morning and it was already packed. Pretty amazing how many people haul stuff to be dumped. Needless to say, my garage looks great now!
What is the point of all of this. Well first it is that You should always consider spring cleaning! It is great to clean the house and declutter. If you haven’t used it in 1 year, then it is useless (at least to you). Consider donating it and have someone do something cool with it. I like donating to Goodwill.
Cleaning has health benefits. There are lots of books out there discussing the health benefits of decluttering. This is probably the most famous and if you click here to buy it I make some cash. I don’t think it is true for everyone, but my OCD nature manages stress by cleaning. So this is perfect for me.
It is fun to give stuff away for free and see other people smile. This was true with the tile for me. I am psyched to see what the artist does with my unneeded tile. So if you have something cool try to find a local person to give it to. They may share something that they have done with it in the future. The gift that keeps on giving.
Now when I go home or in my garage, everything is neat. The closets are empty (a personal goal of mine is to never use all of my closet space), the items we have are loved and used, and I am not holding on to some items for a future potentiality (kid number two).
What do you guys do to clean house?
Also published on Medium.
4 thoughts on “Giving stuff away is rewarding- Spring cleaning”
“Spring cleaning” is more of a continual process for us. We keep a permanent donation box in our bedroom for stuff we no longer want. But if we’re going to get serious about minimizing our possessions, we’ll have to go through everything with a much finer-toothed comb.
For me, I will know I have achieved “perfection” if the donation box stays empty. If we are still accumulating enough to need to donate, then we have done something wrong. Still with a toddler we are always accumulating. Plus there is the one shirt in, one shirt out policy. So I suspect until I live in an RV and really don’t have the space for it, we will continue the cleansing process.
Just be thankful your house didn’t come with a five foot marble fish statue in your garage like mine did.
I can’t even give it away because we need a forklift to move the stupid thing.
Spring cleaning feels good. It’s a lot of work but I love the result.
Tom @ HIP
I would love to see a pic of that fish statue! It is crazy that people leave this stuff when the move out. I guess you could have a fun sledge hammer party…just don’t drink too much before that.