Spring Cleaning: The Mindful Way

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February 19, 2020
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March 24, 2020

Amanda brought up some excellent ideas about how to get your spring cleaning done. And, practice a little mindfulness at the same time!

Spring is within reach finally! Warmer weather calls for more outdoor activities, sports, time spent in nature, and (everyone’s favorite) SPRING CLEANING! It’s overwhelming to even think about most of the time. If you are frazzled by the thought and don’t know where to start or (like me) start with one task and get side tracked by another then another and the first task doesn’t get done, then I have some mindful tips that I have been using myself recently and find very helpful.

  • Start by getting boxes or bags and label them: Donate/Sell, Garbage, Keep
  • Then pick a room. It’s best to do the one that bothers you the most or the one guests see the most
  • Start in one area of that room first: A closet, a toy box, a pile of blankets, dog toys, cords and wires, under the bed…
  • Go through one item at a time and ask yourself: Do I use this, Do I need to keep it, Can I use this somewhere else in the house, Does someone I know need it, can it be sold, should it be donated, why have I been holding on to this, is it important, was it a family heirloom…if going through your children’s things replace “I” with “they”
  • Take a moment to really think about these things before throwing it away or keeping every little thing
  • Dust, vacuum, or sweep the area when finished

These are some of the problems I have run into. I find a shirt that no longer fits but I want to keep it because it might fit after losing a few pounds. Keep some of those clothes but, unless you are actively doing something to lose weight, don’t keep a whole wardrobe. Someone else could be in need of those clothes.

I was recently going through the linen closet and found a box of feminine items I didn’t like. I was going to just throw them away and I thought “wait, there are women at shelters who could really use these”. There were some older towels with holes in the ends and I remembered seeing a Facebook post from the local dog shelter saying they were in need of old towels and rags. We have tons of blankets from over the years and I remembered last year there were cold shelters set up. I could donate to them.

Churches have rummage sales and kids clothes can be donated. There are many places that take non-perishable foods that have been sitting in the cupboard for awhile (just check the expiration date). Garage sales are a great way to make some money and then all the things left unsold can be donated. Don’t hold on to them for next year’s sale (there will be more to sell from the current year).

Don’t become a hoarder just because you think everything can be used for a later purpose or because you think everything has sentimental value. Sure, hold onto great grandma’s quilt even though you don’t use it. Instead, give away the fleece blanket no one uses anymore. Your kid won’t feel bad if you don’t keep every drawing they ever did from first grade. They probably won’t even notice it’s gone. I keep things like grade cards, awards, “about me” keepsakes, yearbooks, and school pictures. I used to be a hoarder and keep the paint streaks on a piece of paper from preschool. Then, realized I didn’t need to keep all that and it wouldn’t hurt my child’s feelings if it got thrown away without them knowing. They wouldn’t even remember it. 

The point is to be mindful when going through things. It can be overwhelming to think about a whole house and be motivated to start at all. Instead, focus on one room and one area at a time. Music helps motivation! If it’s going to be a long project, keep water near. Take breaks when needed, but go back and finish what you started. The dishes can wait until you are done.

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