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I used to hate cleaning so much. The award for messiest room and most groundings for having a messy room as a kid definitely went to me. I was the kid that wanted to have friends over, so I would shove all the mess in my closet or under my bed and show my mom my clean room so she would let me. She fell for it the first few times, but then she figured me out.
I moved a lot growing up, and one thing that is extremely annoying about moving is that you have to keep your living space immaculate because there are potential buyers doing walk throughs all the damn time. My mom trained me over time to keep everything spotless, and it surprisingly stuck after many years of painstaking nagging. I am by no means a neat freak or an extreme cleaner, but I like to keep my living area pretty tidy.
Since I’ve been living on my own, I have a pretty routine cleaning regimen, and it isn’t anything fancy. But every spring I kind of kick it into overdrive and do a deep clean of my living space. I don’t just mean vacuuming for the first time all year, I go through all of my closets/drawers and get rid of clothes/shoes/things I just don’t need anymore. It can be a looooooong process and sometimes takes me multiple weekends to complete, but the feeling I get afterwards is always a positive one.
When we have a clean and neat living space, we are more productive, more centered and balanced, and more positive. I am a very low maintenance person in general, but even I find that I always have amassed random crap each year that I never use or use very rarely. I know taking on a task like cleaning all your shit out can be daunting, especially if you have a lot, but you will come out of it with a much clearer mind. I promise. Here are my tips!
- Go room by room
Your place will be much easier to clean if you do it in small amounts. And you can even set a goal at the beginning of the day that you will get a certain room done that day. That is always helpful for me. If I know I am only responsible for going through my kitchen that day, it makes me feel like it is manageable. Even if I have a million things to go through in the kitchen.
- Make piles
I am not a very organized person, but for some reason when I’m going through things I am. Make a pile for donation, make a pile for selling, and make a pile for throwing away. Sometimes I do it with trash bags so it doesn’t seem like I’m just moving my stuff around from one area to another. Just make sure you don’t mix up the bags because then you’ll have a whole other project on your hands.
- When you go through your clothes, try things on.
I hate this part the most. Mostly because it makes me feel like shit sometimes. If I can’t fit in my shorts from last summer then I know I’ve gained weight and that I’ll have to go buy more in a bigger size. But this part is important. Try things on so you know what still fits and what doesn’t. Try not to make it about feelings, just simply do it to see if you can get rid of things that don’t fit anymore. This can also take a while, but it is vital. If you have things that don’t fit anymore, just get rid of them. Don’t bank on losing weight to fit in them again. Just get rid of them. Look at it as a chance to go shopping!
- Also when you go through clothes, get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the past three months.
If you haven’t worn it in the past three months, chances are you aren’t going to be wearing it anytime soon. It can be tough especially with old shirts and things that hold sentimental value, but realize that just because you get rid of the shirt you got at summer camp when you were 14 doesn’t mean the memories disappear too. Try to look at it from a rational stand point (I know this is difficult, but try!), getting rid of something means you will have more room in your closet! Another helpful way of doing this is doing it as you buy new clothes throughout the year. If you get a new shirt, go through the shirts you already own and get rid of one. If you get a new pair of shoes, go through your shoes and get rid of a pair. This not only makes room in your closet for your new stuff, but it goes through your closet a little at a time.
- Don’t forget to clean out the drawers in your bathroom
We often forget the bathroom because we don’t spend a whole lot of time in there and we often don’t realize how much stuff we’ve amassed there. Get rid of all those half empty bottles of shampoo under your sink. Or at least condense them. I found 4 cans of sunscreen under my sink when I did spring cleaning this year. FOUR. I kept buying new ones because I thought I didn’t have any, but it turns out they were all hanging out under my bathroom sink. Now I don’t have to buy sunscreen for this summer! Throw away expired medicine. That’s important, check those dates people! Keep only what you use on a regular basis. There’s no need to have more than one bottle of body lotion at a time. They all do the same thing. Use one and then buy another so you don’t have a gaggle of them taking up all the space under your sink.
- Take inventory as you go
If you notice that you have gotten rid of all your shorts, you need to make note of that so you can go buy more when it gets warmer outside. If you notice that your bottle of Advil is expired, make note of it so you can get more (don’t wait until you’re hungover to do it, you’ll thank me later!). Cleaning out your stuff is a great time to take inventory on what you have and what you need.
- Make sure you have a pile to sell in addition to donation and throw aways
You have stuff that is worth money that you don’t even realize! It might seem like junk to you or something that no one would buy, but chances are someone will. When I go through my clothes, I save all the things I think I can sell at Plato’s Closet or thrift stores, and I try to make a little cash off of them. Of course, you won’t get rich this way, but money is money. It is great to donate things, but if you can sell them, you might as well. If you aren’t sure that it is worth selling or not, just try selling it (thrift stores, resale shops, or online) and if it doesn’t work out, you can donate it.
- Don’t try to do it all at once
Again, this could be a long process for you. But remember it is necessary. Take your time. Don’t try to go too fast because you’ll just be overwhelmed and give up. Do one room at a time. Go slow. Think about the end results!
Like I said before, I’m not the most organized person in the world, but I try. While you’re getting rid of things, reorganize your closet or your drawers etc, so you know where things are. You will probably have to condense some areas. Fold all of the stuff in your drawers nicely so you can see it easily. Make sure everything is orderly and has a place. Next week when it’s all out of order again, it’ll be easier to put back in place if you know where it should go. Make sure everything you use often is easy to get to. If you don’t use some items as much, put them up high or out of the way.
- Don’t get rid of too much
I’ve had this problem before. I know what you’re thinking, this girl is crazy! It seems like it would be easy to not get rid of much, but for me when I get on a roll, I just want to get rid of everything. It is the minimalist in me I guess. Once I start getting rid of things, I get a bit of a high from it and sometimes I get rid of things I wish I kept. Sometimes I realize that I needed something that I got rid of months ago and had to go buy it again. This is rare, but it does happen. Just make sure that you are getting rid of things that you can actually do without. Think a few months into the future, will you need it? If not, get rid of it.
These are just some tips that I use and have learned throughout the past few years when doing my spring cleaning. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be boring and a pain in the butt, it can actually be very therapeutic. Make it fun! Put some music on, make it a competition between you and your family. It is amazing how much better you will feel once you have piles of stuff in your car to drop off for donation and to sell. Pick a day and just do it. You’ll be happy you did!