April 14, 2011

Spring Cleaning - Step #1

April 14, 2011
It's that time of year again.
Can you feel it in the air?

I've been feeling it for a while now. Not only have my maternal nesting instincts kicked in but it has felt like spring here for over a month. We have even enjoyed temperatures dangerously close to the triple digit mark. yikes! (Did I say enjoyed? I meant tolerated.)

I have busily been moving from room to room decluttering and cleaning. I still have a looooong way to go. As we all know, the house is never clean enough for an expecting mother. (BTW, only 6.5 weeks to go, and counting!! eee!)

Roll up your sleeves and apply some elbow grease because we are digging into some SPRING CLEANING!

Step #1: Declutter and Simplify

I'm kind of a pack rat and decluttering can be emotionally traumatic for me. I don't like to do it, but I can't tell you how good I feel when it is done. Freedom!!!!

One room at a time, go through your drawers, cupboards, boxes, totes, bookcases, etc. and sort anything you aren't using into 2 piles: DONATE and THROW AWAY.

Keep in mind that the things you keep should be of value to you. If it doesn't mean anything to you and you aren't using it, get rid of it! Donate any nicer items that someone else would be able to use or enjoy.

REALLY think about it's value to you.
-Does it have sentimental value?
-Are you currently using it?
-Will you for sure be using it in the near future, or when it is in season?
-Does it add to the beauty and function of your life and home?

If it doesn't qualify for any of these, it is much better to get it out of your house.

Last week I took an SUV full of old clothes, books, toys, linens, blankets, decorations, etc. to Deseret Industries (D.I.). If you don't know about D.I., they are a thrift store set up by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. It works just like Goodwill.  They take donations and use the store as a way to offer job training and employment for those in need.
I choose to donate rather than to hold a garage sale because I love the feeling that my nicer items are really helping my community. And it saves me the work of sorting, pricing, and spending a day in the blazing sun.

-Take your "Donate" pile to the thrift store within a week of sorting to make sure it doesn't get forgotten or stuffed in the garage or spare room. (We've all done it.)

-Take care of your trash as quickly as possible also. If you don't have room in the garbage for bigger items, set up a pick up day with your local sanitation program, or find a friend with a truck and head to the landfill. Just get that stuff out of your house ASAP.

Don't let those "hot spots" get cluttered up again. If you find places in your home where things tend to pile up, come up with an organization solution.
-Do you need a wastebasket to catch incoming junk mail?
-A mail sorter?
-Somewhere to hang coats and backpack, or store shoes?
-Maybe a basket for keys, and other items that we drop as soon as we come through the door?
-A filing system for bills and important papers, or coupons?

Take care of these problems now before they return to the terrible, menacing piles that they were before.

Whatever the area is, think "simplify, simplify, simplify."

Once the clutter is gone, take a deep breath. You just tackled the hardest part of Spring Cleaning!

Spring cleaning isn't just about spotless floors and clean cupboards.When you simplify your home you are also simplifying your life. Clutter in your home = Clutter in your life. Declutter your home and you will feel more organized and less stressed.
When you feel at peace with your surroundings you will find more happiness and peace in your life also.

I'm going through the life/home decluttering process too. The more "stuff" I can let go of in my home the better I feel. It really is a weight off my shoulders.

My new favorite quote is "Simplicity is the greatest form of sophistication." (Thomas S. Monson)

Now that you are feeling lighter and more organized, we can start deep cleaning!
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