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Spring Cleaning: Give it away, give it away now

I know it.  I can see it.
It’s Spring in East Texas.

How can I tell?
1. I’m inspired to clean out everything in my house.
2. There’s radioactive neon green pollen/slime dust everywhere.
Welcome to ET, folks.

Typically, I would say that the new spring weather inspires me to do projects and clean out closets, but around here we really didn’t have a winter (it’s been 75 degrees since October), so… I don’t know why I’ve stalled this long.  In any case, it’s CLEAN OUT TIME.

I know there are 100 methods on how to clean out, declutter, and everything short of getting rid of your children to simplify your life, (I mean, that would REALLY simplify, wouldn’t it?) so there’s nothing new under the sun here.  But here are a few things that I do regularly in our household to keep the crazy clutter under control. (Let me first post this “I’m a real person and our house is never perfect” pic of our ever-messy kitchen counter… if anyone has tips on controlling that, let me know, ’cause FAIL.)

cleaning

Trash
Am I the only one that rejoices when a toy gets broken, or it’s missing a piece? Or when clothes get so worn they have multiple holes in them?  Because, BAM.  Trash.  Oh it makes me so happy. The main question that I ask when I pick up an item and I consider it for the trash, is “Do I want to manage this thing anymore?”  Do I want to store it, dust it, clean it, find a place for it, drop it off somewhere, deliver it to someone, pack it and move it, should we move houses or cities?  If the answer to any of these is “no”… TRASH.

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Goodwill/Donations
Some items are still good and you don’t want to trash them, but you don’t want to manage them anymore either.  Donate!  Here’s the key that has helped me in this area: Designate a special basket/bin for donation items. If you don’t have a specific place to put donation items, they’ll just linger on your floor or in your closet without a “home,” and you’ll have to keep managing them.  I have a large canvas bin on the shelf in my closet; when I come across a donate-able item, I throw it in the bin.  When it’s full, I know it’s time to make a run to the donation center.  Sidenote: I seem to accumulate reusable grocery bags from who-knows-where, so to further help with my clutter issue, I use those for my donation items.  I empty the bin from my closet into the reusable bags, stick them in the car, and the next time I’m driving by the donation center, I’m ready to drop them off.  

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Share with a Friend
This is the category that is hardest for me. I have a great baby stroller with carseat that I can’t use anymore.  I know a friend who is becoming a grandma and could use it when her daughter comes into town with her new baby.  The trouble is, if I don’t do it right away, it just sits and sits and sits, and then newborn-baby-person is 2 years old and they don’t need it anymore.  I love to be generous with things that are still in really great shape, but the truth is, that person is usually not sitting around thinking “I wonder where I could get a used stroller.”  In this day of text-and-move-on, I can send a quick text, “Hey friend!  Would you have need of a baby stroller so your daughter doesn’t have to lug one through the airport?”  A quick answer back, and I know if I should save the stroller for them, or move on with my life. 🙂  Which would lead to…

Consignment Sales/Shops
If my items have made it through the first 3 categories above, and I still don’t need to keep them, there are tons of options in East Texas for consignment, especially with baby and kid items.  Some shops will buy your things from you on the spot and then sell them.  Some will allow you to put your items in their shop or sale, but you only get paid for the things that sell.  Personally, I have participated in a consignment sale that happens twice a year.  I hang, tag & price, and deliver my items to the large venue, and 30% of my selling cost goes to the consignment business.  I use the same system for consignment as I do for donations – I have half of a hallway closet devoted to future consignment items.

For large items (high chairs, changing tables, toys) and large quantities of kid clothing, consignment has really been worth it for me.  I purchase a lot of our kids’ clothing, books and toys there because I know they have quality control, and I know I’m getting really good items.  In the end, what I sell usually balances out what I buy, so I’m basically trading out wardrobes for the cost of the time it takes to prepare my items to sell. And the other awesome part is, whatever I don’t sell, the consignment sale donates to ministries and organizations that benefit from the items, so I save myself a trip to Goodwill. 2 for 1!

In all of this, I know one thing: I have too much stuff.  Kids grow fast, and outgrow faster, so the things we needed (or wanted) 6 months ago, we don’t anymore.  The other thing I know is this: it’s easy for things to creep INTO my house.  I have to be intentional about making sure the same amount of things go OUT of my house. I don’t want to manage them, I don’t have time to manage them, so out they go!

Jump on the Spring cleaning bandwagon with me!  It feels so good.

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What methods do you use to keep your home clutter free?  How do you keep your home clean on a day to day basis?  Share your tips and tricks!

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