Every time February or March rolls around, I get an overwhelming desire to purge anything and everything I no longer use or need and start fresh. Maybe it’s the fact that spring has just arrived and cleaning out your cobwebs is standard, or maybe it’s because I’m an OCD neat freak, but either way, I want it all gone. I want a clean, organized closet, spotless carpets, and a pantry full of only the items I actually want to eat (cc: chocolate). But I don’t stop there. I also want an email account full of only important messages, organized folders on my Mac, and to drop my emotional baggage at the door. I want to feel clean, physically and emotionally. I want to start my life over just like the leaves on the trees do each year.
So every February or March, I follow these feelings, and I make list upon list of what needs to be done. I figure I’m not the only one who feels this way, so I thought I’d share some of the ways I spring clean my life.
- Dig through the closets. I read a lot about the closet capsule whenever I get a chance, and I think it’s really onto something. Last year I really went through my closet and drawers, donating or selling or tossing anything I hadn’t worn in awhile. Even after getting rid of over 100 items, it wasn’t enough. This weekend, I’m doing it again, and I’m not holding back. I want less than fifty items of clothing total (not including shoes). I don’t wear half the things I own anyway, so what’s the point in letting them collect dust?
- Ravage the pantry. Of course, we’ve already done this once this year. (Apparently I’m always spring cleaning.) That being said, it’s amazing how quickly items pile up over and over again. One thing that has really helped us has been making a list of everything—and I mean everything—that we have in our fridge or cabinets and marking it off as we use it. Our cabinets are pretty deep and it’s not always easy to see what’s in the back, so if I write it down, I know it’s there, and I don’t buy items we already have at the grocery store simply because I couldn’t see them.
- Clean the carpets, the cabinets, the baseboards, and basically anything else in—or out of—sight. This is pretty self-explanatory. I wipe everything down, deep clean anything that can be deep cleaned, and I dust basically my entire life. Because allergies. I also get rid of or organize old cosmetic products or anything related to that.
- Go through anything technology-related with a fine-tooth comb. I go through the “All Mail” section of all of my eight emails address (yes, it’s that bad, and no, I’m not crazy—most of them are for different companies I contract with) and delete anything that’s over a year old and not important. I also keep about a zillion folders for each account because I’m one of those type-As who needs less than ten emails in my inbox or I go mad. I also go through social media and delete embarrassing status updates, unfriend people I no longer need or want to keep in touch with, and get rid of old pictures that I don’t want on my account. It may sound bizarre, but it feels like a huge weight has been lifted when I do this.
- Straighten out our finances. We keep a pretty close eye on money, but it’s always good to do a little housekeeping, re-budget according to how our life has changed in the past year, and fix any issues or mistakes we’ve made. Because we’re human, and everybody makes mistakes. Now is the time to solve any problems.
- Do things I love and have been putting off. If there’s a yoga class I’ve been dying to go to but simply haven’t made the time, I make it, and I go. Do I mean to take morning walks with Isla but I keep putting them off? I do that, too. I try new recipes, visit new places, and make time for anything I’ve been missing in my life.
How do you start over?