Have you been wondering where a favorite photo or pair of shoes went? Inspired by the warmer weather to hit the house, from top to bottom, and rid yourself of excess “stuff”?
It’s so easy to turn the annual “spring cleaning” chore into a profitable project. Instead of fearing the task, turn it into a fun challenge, like a treasure hunt. You’ll accomplish more than one goal: cleaning out your home spaces and rediscovering misplaced personal items as well as stray change (or bills, if you are lucky). As you sort through closets and rearrange your furniture, don’t be surprised at all that will turn up. No matter that you may not have missed most of it, simply cleaning out and reorganizing will make you feel so much better.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with the thought of getting lost in your personal collections of everything from clothing to photographs, office files to music CDs. Just take a moment, and consider the following suggestions that should encourage you to turn your spring cleaning chore into a spring cleaning treasure hunt. For instance . . .
Deal with the clutter.
You might be tempted to just hit the garage, basement, or attic. However, some of the worst offenders – in terms of clutter accumulation – can be drawers, cupboards, baskets, and boxes where things tend to go, hoping to be dealt with at another time. From the get-go, set yourself up with an organized and efficient process by creating receptacles clearly marked “KEEP,” “CHARITY,” “SELL” and “TOSS.” In the spirit of recycling, your trash may be someone else’s treasure, so organize a tag sale when you’ve completed your project, or sell items online, or make a contribution to the Salvation Army or Goodwill store. You’ll be very surprised at what other people consider valuable!
Examine the storage unit.
Like many people, you may have boxes and boxes of personal stuff that have traveled with you over the years, or simply been shoved into a corner and long forgotten. Re-examine those containers and, using the sorting system described above, make those tough decisions and move on. If you haven’t seen it in years, is it really that important? Only you can answer, and only you are in a position to enjoy the things or move on from them. You will end up saving valuable storage space, eliminating fire hazards, and getting rid of storage fees (if that is the case). What’s more, you can have fun redecorating, or indulging in some long forgotten activity, novel, or piece of music that you’ve just now rediscovered.
Confront the closet.
Time to check, from top to bottom, the condition and contents of your clothes closets. Have you switched over from chilly to warm weather attire? Do you still wear all those shoes, hats, scarves, jeans, shirts, etc. that could be of great value to someone in need? Think “CHARITY” box, and feel better about doing some good. Be sure to check pockets, purses, luggage, and anything else that might be holding change, bills, important business cards, jewelry, or who-knows-what that you haven’t thought about in months and months. This is a great time to send items to the cleaners, and assess any repairs or tailoring that needs doing.
The family photos.
Though we are clearly in the digital age, you might have boxes, envelopes, or even shopping bags full of prints, negatives, and slides from days gone by. Now is the time to be ruthless; sort through them all and decide what is absolutely essential to keep and what can be tossed. Are you really going to put that entire collection into photo albums? Why not select a few choice images and have them nicely enlarged and/or framed to preserve and enjoy for the future. Or, gather up photos of the same person and give them away as a gift, a “blast from the past” of sorts. Make those dusty, overflowing collections disappear, and experience again some very special moments and people.
Music to your ears.
Most people have a variety of items in their music collection – CDs, of course, but also tape cassettes, and perhaps a few vinyl albums as well. Are they carefully stored in their respective cases? Have they been organized, dusted, and reviewed for scratches or other problems? Are they all in one location, so you even know what you own? Discover what’s missing, cull out your least favorites, and turn to a used music store to make a little extra dough. You may be sitting on some valuable collector’s item, especially when it comes to LPs.
Can you spare a dime?
Do you have jars, bowls, and other places in your home where spare change accumulates? What about loose coins that have escaped under cushions and pillows, or in the bottom of drawers, or have collected in the laundry room and other such corners? Did you know that in the United States, there’s more than $10 billion in scattered change around the homes of our citizens, just waiting to be put to some good use. Here’s an idea: collect it all up, cash it in, and buy yourself a reward for all the rigorous spring cleaning you’ve just accomplished.
Do well by your home, your family, your community, and yourself by rethinking the classic spring cleaning ritual as not a “chore,” but a productive challenge that will bring satisfaction, discovery, and probably some monetary reward. Who knows what the outcome may be!