Those that know me will likely laugh at the fact that I am writing an article about cleaning. Here it is October and I am just starting my “Spring” clean and purge *facepalm*. I gave up on all of the house things during summer because it was just too hot to function in Nova Scotia during the heat wave after heat wave. Yes, that’s right. I am so behind the game, but I might as well start now before the snow falls.
Keeping a clean house has never been my strong suit. Some people are gifted at keeping the house spotless, I am gifted at making messes. This is likely due to the fact that I have too many things. I have a really hard time getting rid of things. Combine that with a partner who may be even more of a pack rat and here we are drowning in our own house.
Recently, I have been doing a lot of reading and researching into minimalism and I really wish I could be just like that. In reality, I don’t think I could ever pare down to the point of being able to call myself a minimalist, but I am getting better and parting with things. Here are some tips I use to help manage my cluttered space.
Purge with emotions in check
My old method of purging involved considering the feelings and emotions of every person that ever gave us anything. It was exhausting to try to get rid of things and even more exhausting to find space to store all the things. I really thought people would care if we donated the 0-3 month baby onesie that no longer fit the kids. As far as baby items go, I saved sentimental things like going home outfits and my favorite things. The rest I have passed on to friends or sold and added the funds to the kids piggy banks. When you purge without emotions running the show, you have better results.
Use the changing of seasons
So, as Summer ends and you start to pack away your warm weather clothes, use this time to get rid of clothes. Something you didn’t wear once all summer? Donate! As you are digging out your cool weather clothes, consider each item and if it still fits your personal style. Doing this at every major season change has helped me keep my dresser under control. Also use this method to purge other seasonal items like outdoor toys and beach supplies.
Take advantage of community giveaways
Once you have your bags or boxes of items, the easiest way to get rid of them is through community giveaways like “Halifax Curbside Giveaway Weekend“. Twice a year (Spring and Fall), Halifax puts on its Curbside Giveaway Weekend, where all you need to do is take your things to the road in front of your house and put a sign next to them that says FREE. There is also the option to tag your house and list items for giveaway on the city’s interactive map. I have had success in the past getting rid of unwanted items, as well as finding a few treasures for our home.
Find a local not-for-profit or shelter to donate to
Curbside Giveaway Weekend is over and you still have some items left. My next step is to assess what is left and reach out to local shelters. Many places take clothing, baby items and household items to pass on to people in need or sell in their thrift shops. Here are a few of my favorite places to donate to in Halifax:
Fairview Family Center – Center participants are often newcomers to Canada and looking for baby items and clothing.
Chebucto Family Center – They are great at passing on clothing and children’s items to people in need. They also house a day-home agency, so they are always looking for items to pass on to day-homes.
Bryony House – As a shelter for women and children escaping abuse, they accept donations of clothing, household items, school supplies and personal items. They often post a list of what they are most in need of any given month.
Think twice before buying new things
This one I find so important for this time of year with the holidays creeping up. I am very frugal and have a hard time passing up a good deal. As I work at purging unwanted items, I have gotten better at considering if we really NEED the item vs. my inability to pass up a sale. One thing I find myself doing is deciding to go back to a store a few days later if I really want something. Often times I don’t end up going back, but if I do and the item is gone I guess I wasn’t meant to have it.