Declutter, Delete, De-Stress: Spring Clean Your Way to Serenity
Springtime is all about renewal. It's a time to shed the dormant routines and inertia that Old Man Winter encourages, and dust off the possibilities that longer days and warmer weather hold.
Women who are weighted down by disorder and mess find it hard to spring into their potential. Too much stuff, too much maintenance and too many distractions equate to too much stress. As the saying goes, we can't receive anything in our lives if our arms are full.
By cleaning our homes, tidying up our workspaces, and decluttering our lives we can clear a path for renewal, personal re-growth and contentment.
Here are 10 tips to help you shed unwanted possessions, clean out old stuff, and in the process, free yourself up to experience the new opportunities of spring. Tackling just one out of the 10 ideas can make a big difference in how you feel. It may even inspire you to keep moving down the list for an even greater sense of accomplishment.
1. Clear out the closet. We hold on to those "skinny" jeans hoping to wear them again one day. Or we wear the same two pairs of black pants over and over again, despite having eight other pairs of black pants hanging in our closets. Editing your wardrobe and clearing out the closet is often the toughest chore, but it's also the most liberating.
Give away any clothes that no longer fit, are out of date and out of style, or are torn and stained. Reorganize what's left either by color, by type (all the tops together for instance) or by purpose (casual, business, dressy). Having a simpler closet puts your mind at ease and makes for greater stress-free mornings.
2. Organize drawers and cabinets. There's the cupboard with too many plastic storage containers and not enough matching lids. And the drawer stuffed with free fragrance and cosmetic samples you've barely touched. No need to work through them all at once. Declutter one drawer a day or clean out one cupboard a week and you'll feel immensely productive and positive.
3. Purge the pantry and frig. Check the labels on every condiment, can and container, and dispose of foods that are beyond their expiration dates. If something is nearing its expiration and you know you won't eat it, donate it to your local food bank. Remember to recycle all containers.
4. Dispose of old drugs. Whether prescription or over-the-counter, many expired and unused medications can be tossed into the trash, but you should take a few precautions before doing so. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers some guidelines for safe disposal. Be aware that there are environmental concerns with flushing drugs down the drain. Also know that some communities and pharmacies have drug take-back programs. Check your local resources for more information on a program in your area.
5. Give books the boot. Clear out your bookcases and sell old books online or donate them to a local charity. If your library raises funds through book fairs consider donating your books in support of its next event.
6. Toss out yesterday's news. Magazines and newspapers have a way of multiplying. Recycle them along with other papers that have a tendency to accumulate—old church bulletins, take-out menus, flyers, junk mail, bill stuffers, event schedules and calendars, and retail store receipts.
7. Clean up your calendar. Are you overextended? Too many activities and commitments can drain your energy and your enthusiasm. Learn to say no, diplomatically and politely. That way, you'll have more time to spend on those activities that give you the most enjoyment with the people who give you the greatest pleasure.
8. Dust off your desk. You may first have to find it buried beneath all those piles of "important" papers. Recycle papers you no longer need and file the rest. Try banishing all those many sticky notes and use a journal to record your to-dos and reminders. Better yet, use an electronic calendar or PDA for those lists. Once you've plowed through the piles and organized your files, you'll have fewer distractions allowing you to be more focused on the job at hand.
9. Cast off old makeup. What's at the bottom of your makeup bag? Beauty experts recommend throwing out any makeup you haven't used in a year; mascara should be tossed out at three to six months. Why? Besides the clutter, bacteria lurk there. It's also a good idea to wash your makeup brushes regularly with mild shampoo.
10. Freshen up your look. Celebrate your spring-cleaning accomplishments! Face spring with a new look to go with your renewed outlook. Get a new and different haircut, try styling it in another way, or change the color of your hair. A little salon pampering is guaranteed to create a sunnier disposition and put a spring in your step.
In all, a good spring-cleaning will make you feel lighter physically and emotionally, infusing you with energy. You're sure to be refreshed, renewed and much more relaxed in your environment and in your life.