As the seasons change from dark to light – it makes sense that spring-cleaning is a human tradition. Windows can be thrown open, insulating drapes taken down – and the home receives a burst of life and light that is unavailable during the winter months.
In addition to cleaning carpets, sprucing up outdoor spaces and deep cleaning neglected nooks and crannies – make it a point this year to really cleanse your home of unwanted and unneeded clutter. The more you eliminate items you don’t use, need or love – the more clear and spacious your home (and your life!) will feel.
The following questions are designed to help you decide what can stay – and what needs to go – as you move room-to-room and closet-to-closet:
Do I love it? If you absolutely love it, keep it. End of story. If you end up keeping everything, it might be a sign you’re a hoarder at heart, in which case I recommend enlisting the help of a friend, or a professional interior designer, to give you a more objective view point.
When was the last time I used it? If the answer is more than one year ago, it’s time to toss it out. Anything that can be lived without for a year can be lived without forever. If it’s a clothing item, odds are it is outdated and/or doesn’t fit you well anyway – so make room for something that is more stylish and flattering.
How often do I use it? If it’s a big ticket item that takes up quite a bit of space, and you find you don’t use it often, it probably be worth donating or selling. In most cases, you’ll be able to borrow it or rent it if you need it in the future.
Does it have sentimental value? This is one of the biggest reasons people hang on to items they don’t love. Either someone you love made it or gave it to you, or it reminds you of a different time in your life (i.e. a past version of yourself). If it’s a family heirloom, consider giving it to another member in the family who will love it. If you have more than one family heirloom that nobody wants, keep your favorite to pass on and give yourself permission to donate or sell it to someone who will love and use it.
In other cases, consider making a digital scrapbook – take a picture, archive it, and then pass the item on to the right recipient, be it someone you know or a local non-profit.
Do I have more than one of these? How many of any one thing do you really need? In most cases, one is enough of anything. If you have more that one, and you aren’t using them, get rid of the extra(s). If they are worthy of becoming a collection, work on displaying them to their best advantage.
Is it replaceable? If you are hedging on an item and it’s replaceable, eliminate it. You can always buy, rent or find an affordable used version if you decide you made a mistake. If it isn’t replaceable, and you don’t love it, hang on a bit longer and see if you use it in the next calendar year. If possible, tape a post-it or some identifiable tag that can be removed when you use it. Then next year, you can confidently get rid of any item that still bears the “I wasn’t used in a year” tag. Otherwise, make a calendar note to check on specific items next year. If you realized you still haven’t used it in that time, it can safely exit your home.
By the time you’ve run through this list, your home will be noticeably lighter. When all is said and done, your home will start the spring and summer seasons feeling more clear, vibrant and functional.