As spring truly heats up down South (we are in a brief temp dip but soaring back to the 80s soon) and is still yearned for up North (I try really hard not to laugh at the snow in Ohio, really I do… but I moved for reasons… this is a big one!), many people begin to think about Spring Cleaning, and all that comes with it.
While I despise actual cleaning, unless the mood hits, I do love the ideas of purging, de-cluttering, and minimalism.
A clean house just feels nice. You don’t feel trapped or dirty, and it looks nice too. It can also be great for your finances.
Don’t believe me?
Ways Decluttering Can Be Financially Beneficial:
- You let go of the past, and accept the present – by tossing your ‘ideal skinny jeans’, or that glittery mini dress from your single days, you can let go of past expectations and focus on who and where you are now.
- Saves time – by narrowing down choices and better organizing them, you can more easily see what you have to work with. And by getting rid of things that don’t make you look and feel great, you know that basically any choice will work!
- Saves money – if you already have 4 plain white button down shirts both long and short sleeved, you don’t need to buy another. But that only works if you know you have them already!
- You make room for new – by purging your clutter, you create space, both literally and mentally.
- Could make you money – if you have nice enough items, that you have taken good care of, a little effort could turn into cash! Try taking things to a consignment store or reselling online.
- Bonus — not really for you, but by donating gently used items you may allow someone in a worse financial situation to buy these things at a markdown to be used again and give them a second life
I decided to tackle my personal things, focusing on clothing.
I do not honestly spend much on clothing for myself. I prefer Goodwill over department stores, and am blessed to have a mother and sister who willingly let me have first pick of their castoffs.
I have also hosted a few clothing swaps, and have benefited from several friends hand-me-downs over the years.
I would bet my 401K balance that I’ve spent less than $1000 on clothing for myself in the past 10 years. Probably less than $500.
But I still have so. much. clothing.
Mounds of free t-shirts from college days.
Hoodies and sweats also from those days.
Random items that have survived since high school.
Too tight sports bras ‘just in case’… all the other ones are dirty and it’s worth the discomfort to get a jog in right now?
A gifted sweater I ‘feel bad’ getting rid of.
Clothes I’ve outgrown physically or mentally but can’t let go of.
Bags or clothing with holes or stains but ‘still usable’.
I have so much clothing that I actually am using two closets!
The master bedroom has 2 small closets, of which hubs and I both get one. But mine overflows into the guest closet too.
I use that one as an ‘off-season’ wardrobe, with summer/short sleeved tops/dresses in one and sweaters/layers/sweater dresses in the other.
Oh, and we both have huge 8-drawer dressers.
And a coat closet downstairs too.
Do you see a problem here?
Honestly, I could probably get by with a wardrobe merely a fifth of its current size.
I need maybe 3-4 work pants, 10 or so tops, a few sweaters to layer. And then 2-3 pairs of jeans and casual pants, a couple shorts, ditto a few casual tops and layers.
Add in pajamas, bathing suit, socks and underwear. A few different weights of coat, for kind of brisk versus face hurting cold. And we are still talking maybe 100 pieces of clothing.
I ended up donating more than that number!
Back when we first moved in, I had culled my wardrobe after one year. I did the trick where you hang everything with the hangars facing one direction. Then when you wear it and put it back, you flip the hangar. After one year has passed, anything that is still facing the original direction has not been worn and you can get rid of it.
The things that had not been worn in a year were put into a box, and that box was put into the attic, waiting for a trip to Goodwill.
That box contained:
- 2 pairs of boots
- 1 pair of tennis shoes
- 2 pairs of flats
- 1 pair of sandals
- 5 skirts
- 3 sweaters
- 5 dresses mostly too tight or short
- 15 tops, mostly nicer work shirts
- 7 old tshirts
- 1 pair of pajamas no longer used
- 1 sweater with a hole
- 1 older jacket I no longer wear
This box had sat up in my attic for another 6 months, waiting for me to “get around to donating it”. One weekend I finally got fed up, and brought it down, along with a brand new empty box.
In this second round, I ended up with:
- 3 skirts, mostly too short
- 6 t-shirts, including “the bride” t-shirt from my wedding week
- 1 pair jeans w ripped belt loop
- 1 pair of jeans too tight
- 1 beach bag w stains
- 2 bags no longer in use
- 1 winter rain jacket
- 2 fleece zip ups
- 1 sports bra too tight
- 1 long sleeve shirt
- 4 short sleeve tops
- 2 pairs sweatpants
- 3 pairs shorts
- 11 pairs of scrubs
- 2 hoodies
- 2 dresses that just don’t hang right
- 3 string bikinis
- 3 old bras
- 1 belt
- 3 scarves
- 1 pair too small boots
This totals over 100 clothing items!
Things that I barely or never wear, had outgrown, or was stained or unable be used. Things that someone else may be able to give a second life to. Things I no longer wanted to store.
Oh, and I also finally got rid of at least a dozen pairs of socks and undies that had tears which were beyond the point of being able to mend them, or had been sitting by the dryer for over a year looking for their lost mate.
While I was on a roll, I also tackled the master and guest bathrooms.
Items that got the boot:
- 1 old gross brush
- 2 old hair sprays
- 2 old lotions
- broken curling iron
- nearly empty nasal saline spray
- tons of plastic medicine cups
- hydrogen peroxide (I had 3?!)
- 3 broken headbands
- 1 broken hair clip
- 2 bags our wedding rings came in
- old unused makeup
- dried out makeup wipes
- couple hair ties
- glasses & case – to donate
- to sell: micro pedi kit, 2 fancy razor heads, brand new perfume
Many of these items just went straight into the trash.
The old glasses and case I hope to find a charity to donate to, because they are high quality lenses and someone somewhere can probably use them.
A few items could actually bring in some cash, so I’m going to try to list them on Craigslist or Ebay.
I also have several sets of scrubs from back when I worked in a clinic. They are solid color pants and various patterned tops. Most are like new, and all are very comfortable, I almost want to keep them around for lounge wear.
But I would prefer they go to a nurse or student or tech who can use them, and I’d love to give them away rather than donate to Goodwill to have the person have to pay for them.
Though some people don’t like hand-me-downs or may feel guilty about accepting them, as someone who adores giving things to people, I cannot think of something that would make me happier than to help someone who needs these things that I no longer do.
I listed these separately online, and hopefully will get some interest.
Overall, my house now feels way less cluttered.
I can move things around in my closet, and not have to forcefully stuff things together to pull out one hangar.
I can see at a glance all the tops and skirts and blazers left. (I also color coordinate, but that’s a whole other topic…)
There is more room on the bathroom cabinet shelves, and I can see what’s all the way in the back.
Now, I do still have clothing in both the master and the guest room closet. Baby steps, people.
I definitely don’t think I will go so far as to count every single item I own with the hopes of getting under 100.
But a regular spring cleaning purge feels great!