Spring has finally arrived! I know we could see a few more cold days in Iowa but I’m confident we’re on the up and up in regards to nicer weather. Because the winter was so long and I was held captive to my house many a cold afternoon, I was able to really clean and de-clutter not just my house but in many ways, my life. One of my favorite reasons for de-cluttering, downsizing, whatever you may call it, is that I know the items I’m giving away will benefit someone else who could use or appreciate them more than me.
First things first, clothes – whenever I travel out of the country and pack three outfits to wear over the course of 10 days I always ask myself, “why do I own so many clothes?” I probably own fewer items of clothing and shoes than your average gal (or at least compared to the closets of my closest friends) but I still have too much. I find that I attach sentimental value to clothing and therefore can’t always get rid of it. Here are my “rules” regarding whether or not to donate clothing or shoes:
- If it fits but doesn’t fit as well as it once did or should, out it goes.
- If it has a stain, tear, snag, or missing button I’m too lazy to reattached, sayonara sister.
- If it gets worn less than twice a season or if I didn’t wear it at all in the last year, goodbye.
- If it stains my skin, furniture, and other clothes, adios. Yes, I bought these two great shirts this winter but they won’t stop bleeding! When I wear the blue one I end up with blue skin and the red one makes it look like I have a rash. After four or five washes, they’re still bleeding so out they go!
- If I’m keeping it for emotional or sentimental reasons I really need to grow and let go. This is by far the most difficult one for me.
I found a great place to take my clothing! The Career Closet, located in the YMCA of Des Moines, accepts seasonal clothing for women in need of interview or career clothing. I dropped my items (clothes and shoes) off at Plymouth Church in Des Moines where it gets sorted and then taken to the YMCA.
I have a lot of books that are taking up space and I either don’t plan on reading them or don’t believe I’ll ever want to read or reference them again. I like sharing books with friends but most of my friends who appreciate books are able to purchase them or have a large collection and don’t need more. One group of people who can’t purchase books are the incarcerated. I got this idea after reading Orange is the New Black. The author, Piper Kermin, spent time in a federal prison and talked about the need for books. Just because someone is incarcerated doesn’t mean they shouldn’t continue to grow in their intellectual development. I made a contact with the Polk County jail and they take softcover books. I’ll be heading to jail later this week to drop them off!
We had a lot of electronics that needed to be recycled. I stumbled upon Midwest Electronic Recovery in Clive and they took an old TV, speakers, printers, and other random electronic devices. Do not throw things like this awayas they can be recycled! I almost took my beloved CD player there but had a mini emotional breakdown and decided to keep it. Yes, I violated one of my rules but the CD player is still functional and I don’t have much from my childhood/adolescence and this was a big part of my formative years. For good times sake I played my very first CD before putting her back in the closet. I challenge you to do a little spring cleaning around your living space! You’ll probably find it to be very rewarding both for yourself and others who could put your forgotten items to better use!