I’m not quite sure if it’s human nature to replicate nature and try to refresh or it’s the way we were brought up. I can almost see my mom now, dusting throughout the house and humming: “Spring cleaning! Time for spring cleaning!”
One way or the other, at the beginning of spring and quarantines, I found myself trying to clean up. I started with “Mission: Impossible,” A.K.A. my closet… It seemed a little bit overwhelming, so I started Googling where to begin.
For lots of reasons, organization can be a difficult undertaking.
If you watched the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” you might remember how painful it was for many people to say goodbye to what others perceived as garbage. Some things have sentimental value and it’s okay to hold onto some of those things. Hopefully, the possession that has sentimental value for you isn’t a monster truck… especially if you live in a studio apartment without a parking space. Not sure how that would work, really. Smaller items can go in a treasure chest or small box in a closet, storage unit, or basement.
You might own some expensive pieces, either bought or inherited. You might never, ever wear those clothes. But when you recall the pain of paying for it, donating or throwing it away might seem like burning money. In this case, Marie-Anne Lecoeur, author of “The Tidy Closet: Tips From A French Woman – Easy Steps And Motivation To Declutter Your Closet And Organise Your Wardrobe,” suggests making a list.
Write off all these suspected high-value items and research their market value online. These days, it’s a lot easier to appraise something in a DIY sort of way than it used to be. If it turns out that the item is actually worth next to nothing, “donate or ditch!” But if it’s worth your time, maybe try to sell it online. There are so many options nowadays from Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, or even Instagram. You are only several clicks away from getting it done.
If you use the organization strategy of yes, no, and maybe piles, and you end up with a pretty high pile of “maybes” at the end, along with high feelings of uncertainty, come back to that pile in a few days. Divide it even further into “keep,” “dump,” and “idk” again. This exercise helped me several times when I was moving and didn’t want to drag my precious garbage along to a new place.
When decluttering your closet, you might want to incorporate another exercise. Marie Kondo taught us to thank every single item for their service, before recycling them. I think it is crucial, especially if you want to practice mindfulness and being more grateful in general. This tactic didn’t work out for my husband. When we were going through his old shirts, he took a look at one of them, said “ugh, I hate this shirt,” and threw it violently into the pile, because he’s super eccentric and loveable like that.
As for myself, during a recent spring cleaning session, I managed to accumulate two huge “thank you for your service” garbage bags… There was no sobbing at the dumpster or thrift store. Our goodbye was swift but effective. Now my place seems to have a much better energy, and I feel better, too.