When people start talking about spring cleaning, my silent self wants to ask “so what are you doing about clutter?”. Yes, I love the clean of a deep cleaned house, sweeping out the fireplace ashes so it is ready for next year, organizing that coat closet, packing away the warm gloves and hats, and generally getting ready to spend time outside of the house. Yes, I love to put away the candles until Fall sweep the garage clean of all the “chat” or salt or whatever is on our roads whenever it snows. (Don’t get me wrong, I love that our city takes care of our road in icy weather- just don’t want the leftovers in my garage.) as well as anticipating the casual togethers and the quick suppers brought about by summer.
Then what is my problem with spring cleaning , you ask? Nothing except many times we take everything out of a closet or off a bookshelf, clean and vacuum the said closet or bookshelves and put 97% back… only to go through the same process year after year.
What if instead of putting everything back we take the time to really look at what we have accumulated and ask ourselves one question about each item. If I gave away, sold, or donated this item would my life be worse off? An earth shattering question sometimes, because we have invested either money or emotion into almost every item we decide either consciously or unconsciously to keep. This very investment can keep us from making a decision to simplify our lives and cost us precious time that could be spent with family and friends.
For many years, I focused on the “organization” part of deep cleaning and had a box for every season, every size of children’s clothes, and every craft. I was an expert at labeling boxes and 95% of the time could find what I was looking for as I had my “stuff” organized. However, my aha moment came a couple of years ago and I realized that the baskets I had collected had to be dusted, the china I used just once a year had to have a storage place, and the crafts that were popular at one time are just not going to happen again if I wanted time to spend with those I love.
The answer is not simple because some of the items have a string directly to my heart and I had to decide if those items were worth the time it took to keep them organized.