Everytime I opened the attic door, entered the basement, or went to the back of the garage I felt myself tensing up. After 5 years of marriage, Anna and I had accumulated stuff that was taking up precious space in our house and garage: clothes, kids’ toys, household goods. For too long we just added to the junk and kept stacking it, leaving it for another day. As the months and years passed, the junk pile got larger and larger. We always talked about spring cleaning those areas, but we never had the time to do so. This past weekend, we made the time. #Romance
Set a Date For Spring Cleaning Your Home
Up until this point, we had not taken any action to remedy our mess. Like anything you want to do in life, it takes action. Here’s what we did.
Anna and I sat down and selected a date to clean. If it’s not on our calendar ahead of time, it’s not going to happen.
After setting a date, we talked through our goals for the day: clean out the attic, organize the basement, and toss a few things from the garage to free up some space.
We set a time limit. We had five hours to accomplish our spring cleaning goals. This step ended up being more valuable than we had first realized. By setting a time limit, we made quick and decisive decisions on what was getting saved, recycled, tossed, or given away. Without this step, we probably would have hemmed and hawed over what we wanted to do and wasted the day, not getting much done.
Enlisting Help For The Kids
Once we had our date and plan of action, we had one more key piece of the puzzle to take care of, our kids. Anna and I are used to tackling tasks around the house around our kids’ schedules. Usually, dishes, eating, and even bedtimes are done in shifts. It is hard for us to devote large chunks of time to anything when we are at home with the kids.
Knowing this, we enlisted the help of my parents to watch the kids. For us it is a win-win-win: the kids love hanging out with Nana and Pops, my parents love hanging out with the kids, and this gives Anna and me the ability to tackle larger tasks without having to worry about the kids and their schedules during that time.
After our spring cleaning was done, we looked at each other and couldn’t believe what we accomplished in under 5 hours.
- Cleaned out the attic, basement storage area, and the back of the garage
- Dropped off a carload of clothes, toys, and baby accessories to Goodwill
- Recycled all of the cardboard boxes from the basement
- Disposed of broken items at our local transfer station
None of this would have been possible without the help from my parents to watch our kids. We forgot how much we can get done when we are focused, have a time limit, and have large blocks of time to devote to projects.
Mentally prepare to Clean, Toss, and Giveaway Items
I am a pack rat compared to Anna. I hate to get rid of items because I paid “good money” for items, and I still feel the pain of paying a lot of money for those items that I no longer use.
When we first got married, we had a similar cleaning experience. When combining all the junk that I had with all of Anna’s belongings, we realized that we needed to toss, recycle, or give away many things and start fresh. At that point, I still had items like my computer from college. It was an old Power Mac G4 Tower with a separate monitor. I hadn’t used the computer in years; it was too old to update and had no wifi. I kept it in storage because the thought of getting rid of a computer that I spent about $1,700 on in college pained me. Even though the computer was worthless to me, I still couldn’t let it go – until I got married.
Sometimes I need the
nudge push to realize that all this stuff is more painful to keep around the house than it is to recycle or give away. When I am mentally prepared to clean, something magical happens. I am able to clean, toss, and giveaway items while feeling mentally better in the process.
Anna gives away anything that she has not worn or used in a year. This concept is not new by any means, but it makes sense. If you haven’t worn or used an item in a year, chances are you will not use or wear it in the future. Instead of storing it in your house and have it take up space, get rid of it and save yourself from the misery that comes with storing more than you need.
When your house is clean and everything is in its place, it is amazing what that does for the mind, body, and soul. Anna and I feel so much better about the state of our house, and it has freed up mental space in our brains that has been building over the last 5 years. Hopefully, we can learn from this experience and not let things go back to the way they were. We plan to set a date at least once a year to keep the junk to a minimum.
Have you had the chance to clean and organize your home yet this year? Do you have any tips or tricks to keep your junk to a minimum? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.