It’s that time of year again, the time when the flowers start to bloom, the rain showers come, and a sense of freshness fills the air. Spring brings about change all around us and within our own world. Embracing this change can mean a lot of different things for different people. For me, it’s a time to embrace Spring cleaning or what I like to call, Spring decluttering! In today’s post, I’m going to share how to take on Spring decluttering with Mama Earth at the forefront.
Wardrobe: The first place that I usually start is my wardrobe. It seems to be the easiest place to begin since I usually know what I’ve worn over the last year and what’s been sitting in the back of my closet and drawers. I adhere to the following rule when letting go of clothing: if I haven’t worn it at least once per season, then it’s time for me to let the item go. I make an exception for formalwear or seasonal sportswear (like snow pants) which is usually worn less frequently. If you want to clean out your closet, I recommend the following ways of letting go:
- Sell items that are in good condition on Poshmark, Mercari, Depop, ThredUp, or eBay (just to name a few). When someone buys a piece through one of these sites, there’s a good chance your item will go on to be loved and used by someone else!
- Schedule a clothing swap with friends. This is a fun way to switch up pieces in your wardrobe that you no longer want and give them a new home!
- Donate clothing to a homeless, woman or teen shelter in your area. I recommend researching what items are accepted as each shelter has specific needs.
- Upcycle your clothing into something new. For example, cut jeans into shorts or use old t-shirts as rags for cleaning.
- If you don’t have the time or access to any of the above options and you are donating your clothes at secondhand shops like Goodwill, I encourage you to only donate items that truly can be worn again.
- Lastly, dispose or recycle of any material that is no longer wearable. It will likely end up in a landfill if you donate it in “hopes” that it’ll be sold. Google search for textile recycling near you, there may just be one in your municipality! If you are local to Las Vegas, this is a good resource.
Kitchen: Another area in our living spaces that often gets needs cleaning out is the kitchen space and appliances. I recommend packing up all of your appliances including your blenders, frothers, coffee makers, and other similar items. Over the course of thirty days, only unpack items you actually use. This is a great way to pare down bulky kitchen gadgets. I recommend listing these items on Facebook Marketplace, having a garage sale, or donating them if they are clean and in workable condition. Of course, keep in mind if you use something for the holidays. If you need that item, keep it or see if you could borrow it during that time.
Pantry: In a similar fashion as the kitchen, it’s a great idea to clean out your pantry. Am I the only one guilty of having way too many boxes of pasta for one person? As you are cleaning out your pantry, I recommend putting the oldest items in the front so you’re more likely to reach for them and use them up before they expire. If you don’t plan on using these food items and they are not expired, you could donate them to your local food pantry or church (check to see if they collect this time and if there are COVID restrictions). Whatever is expired, see if you can compost it (only certain foods can be composted).
Garage: I think cleaning the garage is often what comes to mind when people hear Spring cleaning. I can remember for me it meant that every Spring. If you do own a home with a garage space, I challenge you to make this your final Spring garage cleaning! What I encourage you to do is truly ask yourself if the time you spend cleaning your garage out every year is worth the time that you could otherwise be doing other activities. This is applicable to all of the other areas I spoke about as well, but particularly the garage because it tends to be a bigger undertaking/space. Ask yourself what lawn appliances you really use, how many tools are necessary, what car fluids you need, and how many toys your children use. Asking these questions is a great way to evaluate what is a keeper and what can go.
- For lawn machinery, I recommend selling them on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Offer Up or having a garage sale. If you can’t sell them, ask your friends, family, or neighbors if they have a use for them or post in a Buy Nothing group on Facebook.
- For children’s toys and sports equipment, I recommend donating these items directly to a local Boys and Girls Club or youth organization. Again, they have a better chance of getting used versus ending up in a landfill.
- For car fluids or other toxic materials, call your local waste management center to see if they collect these items at a drop off center or at the main waste plant. These items should NOT be disposed of in your normal garbage!
Miscellaneous: For all other items, I recommend trying to find a home for them first before resorting to donating. "Your average thrift store in the United States only sells about one-third of the stuff that ends up on its shelves...The rest of the stuff ends up somewhere else." -Author of Seconhand, Adam Minter. That somewhere else is typically a landfill or an incinerator.
Everyone’s Spring decluttering will look different based on their needs, lifestyle, and time. The important thing is that we try to own only what we need and want in our lives then let go of the items we don’t with as little damage to our Mother Earth as possible. If you are interested in taking your home organization and decluttering to the next level, I recommend checking out “The Minimalists.” And remember, do your best with the resources and time that you have, learn as you go, and it's about progress not perfection.
Article written by contributor: Kat Rose, @anewerkatintown with edits by Amanda Runkle, owner of Me Mother Earth.
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