So, spring cleaning, eh? Cleaning is not easy task for us partly because of the depression symptoms, when body or mind is sick, it’s tired. But how many of us loves cleaning anyway? For us the best way to tackle the task is to keep mind on the prize: serene, clean and uncluttered home.
Spring cleaning does include decluttering and organizing maybe even more than actual scrubbing and hoovering. We have made a habit of annually clean the closets and declutter our apartment. We seldom clean our cupboards very thoroughly for winter holidays but when there’s more light and days start to grow longer it’s nice to try and figure out cluttered spaces again. Our small home is just 58 square meters with a small attic closet. That space fills up pretty easily and I think at the moment we aren’t even keeping up with the filling speed.
Why our homes become crowded?
When we moved together we accumulated two persons worth of papers, fabric, and art and crafting items. Those kind of things take huge amount of space and energy to sort. They are heavy and collect dust and they need space for storing. Very troublesome. Now when we both have finished our studies we have made an effort to ditch almost everything “we might need this someday” -items. Because even if we might need it someday, it’s pretty sure we can find something similar then.
I read a blog post from The art of simple and their idea of thinking thrift stores as a storage unit is brilliant. You can always walk to the nearest second hand store to get those old magazines for scrap booking or old teacups for crafting. You don’t have to store everything at your house.
Also interesting idea was how they explained the reluctance of letting things go as a fear of what if‘s. It’s an interesting idea because humans are fearful of change and part of our nature is the ability to think future possibilities. Nowadays world is full of everything and we are better off than ever so there’s no rational reason to hoard things under our roofs and be unhappy because we live in a storage room. I think there must be a reason why organizing and de-cluttering are the trending words of the home keeping.
Maybe the reason is that our generation knows it better than most that rooms full of goods and gadgets don’t make us that much happier than our grandparents were. Sometimes it feels like the opposite, that the stuff actually holds us down.
Me and Janina have noticed how clean and serene space gives both of us better feeling. The conversation we return again and again is how much less personal belonging people used to have. One could back their whole life into a box. It’s not something I believe we’ll ever try to achieve but neither do we need all the stuff we have now.
Where we started?
We have our bathroom project going on. We received a note that the ceiling is going to be fixed after a two weeks or so, because it needs to dry and breath so there will be no mold problems in future. We can live with that but it means the organizing has to wait too. Janina went through our kitchen drawers few weeks back and I photographed at last some clothes we have been meaning to sell.
Also we’ve been wanting to get rid of stuff we don’t need any more or that got replaced as a wedding gift. For example we got several pairs of new towels. Why are we still hoarding the old ones we’ve been wanting to ditch for ages? At least few of those were a piece of cake and we cut them and re-purposed those as cleaning wipes as mentioned earlier in our bathroom organizing post.
Believe it or not, many places want your stuff
When we want to get rid of things there’s always thrift stores, second hand shops and garage sales but we wanted to list few not so traditional places we have used.
Schools and daycares
Many schools or daycares don’t have big budgets for craft supplies and take gladly fabrics, papers and art supplies. Also some clothes could be used as costumes at school plays. There’s different policies between schools but it doesn’t hurt to ask. We have delivered crafting materials and clothes for the Steiner school nearby.
Some stores accept clean, old clothes and offer coupons for them. We take our ratty t-shirts and unused scarfs etc. to our nearest H&M store and use the -15% coupons for our sock purchases.
Old cheap jewellery, vintage clothes that are not in a shape to sell and some knick knacks from home can be needed for plays. The smaller the company, more likely they want your stuff. Most of the small costume departments are always in need of shoes in every possible size and style. Also purses, hats and spectacles are something costume designers use a lot. Period style clothing, furniture and decoration is often wanted too, everything from old bicycles to your aunt’s wedding dress or your old fake dog martins. Honestly, sometimes they even want your used oven mittens.
Keeping it up!
Now you have started but how to keep going? The key is to find the rewarding moments and love the progress. Best moments are the ones when you return from your trip to thrift store or thrash can and there’s airy space waiting at home. It feels like you have gained something instead of getting rid off it. And in fact you have. You have just successfully reclaimed more space in your home that isn’t filled with useless stuff but is calling for living.
Our decorating motto is the thought of William Morris.
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
We think it perfectly states how you should have high standards for what you keep at your home. Your home should be the place where you only keep stuff you need for better living now, not for some imaginary life somewhere else. We try our best to follow these guide lines in every aspect of our home, from wardrobe to bathroom. We get distracted a lot but it’s a process.
It’s good to remember that’s there’s no hurry and every step taken is forward even when they are baby steps. We replace one thing at a time and every year our home is bit more what we want it to be. Spring cleaning works as a perfect de-cluttering opportunity for us and so far it has been extremely effective. Most of the times journey is the best part.
Do you have some killer hacks for spring cleaning or for sheltering your home from clutter? We are eager to take any advise.
Iida + Janina