Everyday Inspirations


~ how to ~


I'm getting ready to move, so I spent yesterday cleaning and organizing. I firmly believe in the power of a big clean-up at least once a year. It's astounding how much you can accumulate over just a few months. Organizing belongings greatly improves your state of mind (and the space in your closets and drawers). Once you train yourself to remove unnecessary clutter from your life, I guarantee you'll be happier. You'll enjoy what's really important to you (and will no longer have to maneuver around stuff that isn't).

Trust me. This is coming from a former pack rat (just ask my mom). Here are a few tips that help me:
  • Begin with an organized state of mind. I don't know how you clean, but I tend to make a mess in the process. I keep that fact in mind so that I don't feel discouraged when I'm surrounded by piles. I designate certain areas of the room to bring order to the chaos. One pile is recycling, another is for donations, and one is for documents that need to be shredded. I always have a trash can handy and empty it as I go.
  • Don't clean in silence. I don't like organizing in silence. It's too easy to get bored. I put on a DVD or my iPod for background noise. Listening to something other than my own protests ("But I've had that since 1995!") makes me much more efficient.
  • Say goodbye to static crap. You know that t-shirt you never wear but that sits in your drawer because represents an event in your life (for me, it was the "I Skiied the Bird on July Fourth" tee from 2005 and a U2 tee from a 2001 concert)? Or that card your friend wrote for your birthday back in high school that you feel guilty about tossing (even though all it says is, "You're the best. I love you!")? You also know that feeling that comes every time you encounter one of these items? That tight chest feeling of "OMG-I-totally-don't-want-this-but-I-feel-guilty-for-keeping it"? Time to say goodbye. You have the memories. You have the pictures. You have the yearbook entry that says the same exact thing. Give your mind a break and let that stuff go. 
  • Donate items to a good cause. You have the power to make someone's life better. Yeah, that sweater is still nice, but you don't wear it. Someone else can put it to good use. Set aside your old clothes to give away (toss anything that's torn, stained, or full of holes). I loaded my car with piles of clothes, a couple of stuffed animals, and books for the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters (find donation bins on their web site). Think of it as a deposit to your karmic bank account.
  • Go to battle with the bathroom. Ah, the bathroom. My former nemesis. Those cupboards could be a scary place. Girls understand. We know what it's like to receive bottle after bottle of lotion around the holidays, the thrill of purchasing yet another tube of lip gloss, the necessity of owning all those hair products. For some reason (at least for me) this stuff is the hardest to deal with. It seems to multiply on its own. For years I would be picky about what I tossed ("My coworker gave me that!" or "I know I don't use it, but it does smell nice"). Yesterday I gave no such excuses. Out went the old lotions I never use, the headache medicine that expired in... 2007? Are you kidding me? Now I love my bathroom. It's clean and glorious.
  • Make some cash. You will probably find stuff that you don't want but that isn't appropriate to give away, such as nice jewelry or clothes you haven't worn. May as well make some extra cash. My personal favorites are KSL (local) and eBay.

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