Spring Cleaning and Decluttering with Goodwill

by Cate on April 5, 2014

This sponsored post was made possible through the support of Goodwill. All opinions are my own.

I have a confession to make.

I kind of don’t believe in Spring cleaning.

Mostly because I do my Spring cleaning year ’round.

The Ex and I moved a few times during our eleven year marriage. Each time to a bigger home, as we added more bodies to our family (two kids … cats … dogs). More people and animals means more space.

Or so I thought.

I was wrong.

We really didn’t need more space. What we needed was less stuff.

When The Ex and I separated nearly five years ago, the kids and I moved again, into a smaller home (and, coincidentally, back to our second marital home), and since then, I have purged.

And purged.

And purged.

I tend to go on tears.

Attack a room at a time. Get rid of stuff. Reorganize. Downsize the furniture.

Then I allow the virtual dust to settle.

And go off in another area.

As a general rule, I think we (as a country) tend to collect more stuff than we could ever possibly need. We as a whole are a materialistic sort. And a few years back, I decided I wanted more memories and experience than actual things.

And every time I tackle another drawer or closet or nook or cranny, I keep focused on that.

And honestly, I’m just tired. I don’t need extra items in my home for me to maintain. It just weighs you down, both in the physical sense, and in the emotional sense.

I remember hearing Suze Orman during a live presentation years ago … cluttered home equals cluttered mind.

And who wants that?

I’m not completely innocent though. My desk, as ever, has seen better days. It’s a work in progress, but the problem exists mostly because there is no storage.

Christine Koh, co-author of Minimalist Parenting, shares 5 Ways to Declutter Your Life

It’s common to get bogged down with stuff but the good news is that small shifts in perspective and approach can help you declutter your life quickly. Here are 5 of my top decluttering recommendations:

  1. Think about your stuff differently. Shift your lens and view yourself as a curator rather than a consumer. Pause before you purchase and ask yourself, do I really want or need this? Does it bring me joy? Acquiring stuff is fine (I, personally, find great joy in statement necklaces!), but be mindful about acquisition to prevent unnecessary excess. On the flip side, it’s easier to declutter and let go of things when you think of yourself as a curator.

  2. Set reachable goals. A common decluttering trap that leads to overwhelm is setting goals that are too big. Instead of saying you’ll declutter the entire basement, start with a shelf. Or instead of emptying your entire closet onto your bedroom floor (hello, giant mess), start by editing down your pants collection, then shirts, dresses, etc.

  3. Have your supplies ready. Have three bags or boxes at the ready: one for trash, one for recyclables, and one for donation. With these three “stations” ready you’ll find that it’s easier to plow through and get into a rhythm of clearing out what’s in front of you.

  4. Use the fire litmus test. A good litmus test as you declutter is to ask yourself, “Would I bother replacing this if I lost it in a fire?” Usually, the answer is no. Get rid of it!

Keep reminding yourself of the power of less. The less you have, the less you need to take care of. The less you have, the easier it is to see your options. The less you have, the more your remaining objects will shine.

So now that we decide we have too much stuff, what do we do with it?

I get rid of unwanted items in a variety of ways, but the quickest and easiest is to make a stop at our local Goodwill.

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One quick stop at the curb, and I can unload a ridiculous amount of, ahem, treasures, and leave with a tax deduction slip firmly in my hand.

And besides that general feeling of ahhhhh, when you’ve decluttered, donating to Goodwill creates more jobs, and keeps items out of landfills.

So win/win.

I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I sometimes check out the shelves of Goodwill once in awhile too. Because, after all, it can sometimes be a food stylist’s dream. I have found some of the prettiest plates ever for my food photos … and usually under a buck a pop.

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Can’t blame a girl for not passing these up, right?

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Find your local Goodwill right here, and let’s do this minimalist thing together. As long as more is going out of our house than going in, we’re winning.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

debbie April 8, 2014 at 7:41 am

I love Goodwill. I tend to buy there more than I donate though!!!
debbie recently posted..Baked Rice and Beans

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Susan@LunaCafe April 8, 2014 at 10:31 am

Great post. I still have a garage full of kitchenware (all organized neatly is see-through plastic containers), and I still squeal with delight at every pretty plate I see, but I am a minimalist with every other room in the house beyond the kitchen. A girl has to have one vice. :-)
Susan@LunaCafe recently posted..Portland Farmers Market Opening Day 2014

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Meg April 8, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Great tips and thoughts on decluttering! I’m getting ready to move for the second time in six months (this time to our very own, real-deal single-family home! woo!), so I’ve been thinking lots about possessions and what we truly “need.” The answer? Probably not all that much. But as we prepare to start a family and triple our space, I want to be mindful about what I’m bringing into the house and how we’re enjoying it. I purge pretty often, and I almost always donate everything to Goodwill. I’ll have another load to take over there pretty soon, I’m sure!
Meg recently posted..A springtime stroll

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