The term “spring cleaning” always makes me think about the weather changing from the cold, winterish, chilly days to the warmer spring weather—something about the windows getting opened, the house getting filled with fresh air—means it’s time to clean out your closets, drawers, etc.
Well, spring does not officially start until next week on Thursday, March 19. (Did you know that the date of spring changes based on the vernal equinox, which can be March 19, 20 or 21? This year it’s March 19.) But, in my humble opinion, it’s not too soon to start organizing yourself to do some “spring” cleaning. And, yes, I think you need to do spring cleaning in an organized fashion.
Last week, I actually sold my residence of more than 17 years and moved. When Mayra, CEO of the moving company, came to give me a quote a few weeks ago (it was awesome to learn that I was dealing with a woman-owned business!), she said in her bold, direct fashion: You need to purge your stuff. Go through your clothes, your kitchen, your books. You have way too much stuff!
Mayra was right, of course. Even though I had purged my stuff about four-and-a-half years ago (you can read my blog about how I was inspired by reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – the book changed my life!) I apparently had accumulated a few too many more things. 🙂
So, I just resurrected my inner Marie Kondo, and started going through each part of my house:
The kitchen—I went through my pantry and looked at code dates and tossed things out of code. I then took all my snack items to work (which removed temptation for me in my new home!). I had stopped purchasing anything nonperishable about a month ago to minimize the amount of food I would have to pack.
My closet—I didn’t do a complete Marie Kondo (also referred to as the konmarie method) and take everything out of my closets and drawers and ask myself if each piece made me happy before deciding to keep or donate. What I did ask myself as I went through every piece of hanging clothing and everything in my drawers: “When was the last time I wore this? Do I feel good in it?” That helped me give away at least 50–60 pieces of hanging clothing and four or five bags of clothes and shoes. Oh yeah—then I went to my hall closet and found another 10 coats and jackets I could donate to a shelter. Sometimes we forget that we have clothes in many places around our house.
My office— Everyone has a junk drawer, right? You know, the drawer you just throw random stuff into? Well, I feel like my desk was completely made up of “junk drawers.” I had old tax paperwork, useless receipts, plus office supplies galore. Just to shock myself into doing something radical, I actually DID dump the contents of all of the drawers onto the middle of my home office. It really forced me to purge heavily.
I remember a consultant many years ago telling me that it was hard to stay focused on your work if your work area that you looked at was a mess. At work I have taken that very seriously and work hard to leave my desk perfectly neat and straightened when I leave work each evening. That way when I come to work in the morning, I have a clean slate. Well at home, I had trinkets everywhere! Thank goodness I was moving, so I had to decide—keep or toss. (Or re-gift! I know it’s difficult when a close friend or child gives you a gift or photo. You feel obligated to keep it in sight.)
I always say “thank you” when someone gives me one of those gifts. But if it’s not something I really want, like or can use—chances are I put it directly in my “donation pile” at home. You know … I am sharing the wealth.
So, think about it. Look at your work area right now while you are reading this. Is your desk cluttered with mail, papers, trinkets and statues? Do you coincidentally find it hard to concentrate and get things done? Think: Clear space, clear mind. Seriously, it is amazing how much more productive you feel when your work area has been decluttered.
As I write this, and am looking at my desk at work, I realize that I have some work to do! A few too many photos, statues, and gobs of unnecessary paper and notebooks. Seriously, I need to take my own advice!
I guess it really IS time to get ready for spring cleaning!