Whenever the seasons change, it seems everyone gets the urge to purge. Something about fresh air and bright sunshine always brings to light the clutter in our lives, be it literal or metaphorical. I am a firm believer in the theory that your personal spaces (i.e. home, cars, desk, etc.) completely reflect what is going on inside your head, and by clearing out unnecessary tangible distractions, the intangible obstacles in our mind are easier to untangle.
One of the more obvious places to begin your purge is in the closet. In addition to de-cluttering, cleaning out your wardrobe can have the added bonus of bringing in a little extra cash through consignment or yard sales, or presenting the opportunity to help someone less fortunate through donation. Begin your cleanse by designating 3 piles- keep, donate/resell, trash. Then just start digging. My personal philosophy is if you haven’t worn it or looked at it in 6 months, let it go. A 6-month time frame is enough to have experienced all weather conditions. Don’t hang on to stuff that doesn’t fit or you’re “saving for a special occasion.” From personal experience, by the time you lose the weight or that special moment comes along, the clothes will probably be out of style. Allow yourself one piece of “motivation” clothing if you must. For me it’s an old pair of holy, ripped up jeans from high school. I keep them in the bottom of a big wardrobe and try them on once a year to gauge where I’m at weight-wise. If they button, I’m happy. If they don’t, I cry. And if they’re loose, I typically celebrate by eating until they barely fit again. When you get your clothes separated and the stuff that is leaving is bagged and out of the way, begin systematically hanging and folding in a fashion that is easily viewed and accessible. For example, I have all my “dressy” tops (aka anything that isn’t a t-shirt) hanging at eye level. My short dresses are on another pole at eye level and my pants are all hanging below, folded on a hanger and everything is grouped by color. This way when I go looking for something, I know exactly where to look, saving time when getting out the door in a hurry. Things like t-shirts, gym clothes and loungewear are neatly folded and sorted according to color in a large wardrobe while socks, undergarments and swimsuits live in various cubby bins. And for the love of god, don’t hoard socks and underwear. These are cheap and easily replaceable items. If they’re stained or ripped, toss them and treat yourself to something new. After everything is put away, spritz your entire closet with Gain scented Febreeze, stand back and admire your handiwork.
Another idea is to focus your efforts on all those little projects around the house that you’ve been putting off. If you’re like me and can’t open your kitchen cabinets without the risk of blacking an eye from falling pots and pans, it might be a good idea to spend an hour or two using the same methods from closet cleaning to attack your cookware. Honestly, how many cookie sheets does one person need? Two seems like plenty. All those random gadgets you’ve collected over the years as wedding and Christmas gifts can probably go too. I’ve used my hand-crank popcorn maker one time in 5 years and the electric skillet living on the top shelf of my pantry has never left the box. At this point, unless my life takes a drastic turn, these items can head straight to Goodwill or be posted for a loving home on Facebook Marketplace. Organizing and filing documents can be another mundane project for a rainy April afternoon, as well as attacking your baseboards or ceiling fans.
Once you’ve cleaned every nook and cranny inside your home, make your way outside with a trash bag and go to work on your car. I spend a lot of time behind the wheel, so my car has the tendency to accumulate tons of trash and clutter. Between coffee/food, hauling dogs and cleaning equipment as well as my mat and towels from 4x weekly hot yoga classes, my vehicle honestly gets a little gross. I can’t imagine what it would look like if I had kids! Once you’ve cleared out all the old Starbucks cups and gathered the loose change, give it a great vacuum and use a wet towel to wipe dust off your dash. Hit the windows with foamy window glass cleaner and swipe everything with an orange scented shine agent. Or you could take a shortcut and let a pro detail it for around $100-$150. Either way you choose to go, make sure you don’t forget to hit the exterior, and a smart idea is to pick up a few cheap things from the dollar store to keep your car neat and organized. A small jar can be used for storing loose change and it’s always a great idea to keep a few grocery bags tucked away for garbage. A really neat idea is to hang a small shoe organizer on the back of your seats to easily store things like snacks, pens or any other odds and ends that would ordinarily be floating around your car.
These are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling on an orderly and less stressful existence. Anytime you can take a step back and breathe a little easier I consider it a win. Hopefully these little clean-ups will spill over into other areas of life! Happy purging!