Spring Cleaning Tips: How Much is Enough?

Written by Cheryl Miller

Ivory Linen with Coral Hem and Sheersby Cheryl Miller

Spring is a great time to ask this question – how much is enough? Do you know why it’s so windy in the spring? I think it’s windy so that leaves and other debris get blown away so there’s room for new growth. How about being the wind in your home this spring and clear out the excess?

Until a several years ago, I had no idea what was enough. I had 25 bath towels (just for me), 75 belts, and 20 screwdrivers. You get the picture. Oh and the vases. I haven’t counted them because I’m not giving them up.

What was the problem? Lack of awareness, plain and simple. What woke me up was a jammed up bathroom. I kept wanting to squeeze more into the already packed drawers and cabinet. Frustrated that my stuff wouldn’t fit, I took everything out. What a mountain of stuff there was. I was amazed that one small room could hold so much stuff.

Something inside of me said “Count the towels.” I did and was shocked that there were 25 bath towels . . . and I’m the only one using them. Who needs 25 bath towels? Well a spa maybe. But not me.

So I regained consciousness and thought about how many I actually might use. I work out a lot and take many of my showers at the gym. So I thought I could do just great (even with company) if I kept 10 bath towels. What to do with the leftovers? They are great towels…hum. Ah ha! I remembered the social service league. They price things really cheaply so that with very little can get what they need – free or low cost. What a great solution. I just loved dumping those excess towels into that bin! Somebody else needs them more than I do. In fact the towels on the bottom of the drawer probably hadn’t been used in 8 years. Disgusting over consumption and hoarding. I’m almost ashamed to tell you about it.

In a separate instance I decided to get rid of some belts. They were harmlessly, innocently hanging on a belt rack on the back side of a closet door. They weren’t in the way or taking up much room. So why mess with them? That voice said “count them” so I did. 75! Gosh who needs 75 belts? A belt store maybe. There were bright ones, studded ones, thin ones, fat ones, aqua ones, holy ones, leather ones, plastic ones, smooth ones, rough ones. It occurred to me that I didn’t even wear belts.

Ya know belts are sometimes in, sometimes out. But we tend to keep things knowing they’ll come back into style. But have you noticed that they come back in style with a slightly different twist so they will sell well? So why not just let them go peacefully?

So I saved 5 that I thought I might actually wear and gave the rest to . . . you guessed it . . . the social service league. When you find the right place to get rid of your excess, it feels just great, makes letting go easier, and reduces the embarrassment of over consumption.

Now to the vases. I haven’t counted my vases because I’ve decided that I love vases and I actually use them. So they’re safe for now. When I pick little bouquets from my yard, I need a wide variety of sizes and colors to choose from. It’s important to me. So I like having a lot of vases.

What’s the takeaway from this? Well, you CAN keep lots of everything. If you’re like me, you just don’t have room for all of it or the time to manage it. But you CAN keep lots of the ONE THING you really value. Figure out what that is, feel good about it, and release the rest. Counting them first helps. So here’s the action plan:

1.Decide if this “collection” is important to you. Really important to you.
2.Decide if you need that many (count them).
3.Determine how many you will actually use.
4.Think of a really cool place to unload them – a place you feel really good about donating them to. Or give them to your friends.
5.Next time you open the drawer, cabinet, or closet, smile big and enjoy the empty space! It looks so beautiful!

Take advantage of this great spring season to blow through your house and get rid of the unintentional collections that may be stopping up the energy in your cabinets, closets, and drawers.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Posh Living, LLC

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