Photo by Julie Vazquez
This month topic for the Green Mom’s carnival is Spring cleaning over at Jenn of Tiny Choices. With Spring right around the corner, here is your time to fall in love with your home again by removing the clutter that hides its inner beauty. The thought of removing all the mounds of papers, straightening up that spare bedroom which has become the junk room, or getting rid of what you haven’t used in decade can be a daunting task. So, tackle just a few rooms or areas that you know will not put you on overload. Here are some of my suggestions of the areas of your home that probably are the worse offenders: your closet, pantry, and bathrooms.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
Our closets are full of decade old clothes that we swear will come back in style. For years, I have held onto a Betsy Johnson off the shoulder dress with a ruffles around the middle. Remember Flash Dance? Jennifer Beals? Well, I would be her sister in this outfit. I love this outfit since it is black and hides my baby hips in a slimming fashion. (What girl would not love that?) Guess, what? Do you think this outfit will ever come back in style? Probably in some fashion but with a different twist or fabric.
Unless you are really handy with a needle and thread, so to speak, to remake the dress by either cutting off its top or make a Lyra skirt out of it, then this dress needs to go to a thrift shop where someone who is young enough can buy it who can carry off this retro look. (Wait, are Lycra skirts still in?)
So, tell me. What outfits do you have hiding in your closets? Joan Collins padded shoulders? Really, really short skirts that looked great on you five to ten years ago, or perhaps really slim pants that you have not worn in two years?
The worse part is having clothes that you have not worn in a couple of years since you gained weight. I am grappling with this problem too since I started Green Talk . Yes, I have gained weight since I am no longer as active because I sit at my desk for hours at a time. So, either I have to work harder this Spring to lose weight or resign myself to my new size. Are any of you battling with this as well?
So, what should you do with all of those old clothes?
- Consign your clothes if they are not too outdated.
- Give your old suits to Dress for Success to help promotes the economic independence of disadvantage women. Check with your nearest affiliate to inquire about their policies in accepting clothing.
- Swap, barter, and sell your clothes. See a dozen resources here. (Note, although the linked article is about getting rid of unwanted gifts, the resources still apply.)
- Remake your clothes if you are handy such as cutting off too short pants to make shorts or Capris. Perhaps, you can make a quilt or pillow case out of old shirts. The Repurposed Home uses old wool sweaters and ties to make pillows. Be creative!
In the past, I have written about cleaning your pantry. Last time I did this, I found multiple empty boxes, stale food, and food that we would never eat. On top of it, I found multiple cans of the same food because my pantry was so full, I kept buying the same thing over and over again. What a waste of money. Whatever you don’t think you will eat or your children have turned their nose up at it, donate it to a food pantry.
Go through your freezer and see if you have any food item that has been frozen for over a year. If you can compost it, do; otherwise, throw it out. It probably has freezer burn on it. While you are at it, clean the freezer and as well as its coils so that it becomes more energy efficient.
While you are in the kitchen, check for leaks under the cabinet and observe whether your faucet drips. Sometimes we get immune to the sounds of a dripping facet. You could be literally throwing your money away from one little drip not to mention that it could be rotting your cabinets.
Toys and Kids’ Clothing
I dread giving away my children’s old clothing and toys. I feel like I am letting go of their past. I neatly pack away each size in containers and store them. Who am I kidding as I approach 50? The likelihood of me having another child is next to zero. (Not that I would have another one anyways.) I have saved special outfits in another container for my future grandchildren, but it is silly that I hold on to clothes that another child could use. The same goes with toys.
Is there any special toys or clothes that you have held onto?
With such places like Freecycle, Swap Mama, Craig List, and consignment shops, there really isn’t any need to hold onto items that just take up room. Day care facilities, after-school programs, and schools will gladly take your old games and toys.
Go through your cabinets and check for outdated medicine. Carry a wastebasket with you, so you can take it downstairs and recycle what you can. See here for proper disposal of expired medicine to thwart any chance of drug abuse. Never throw outdated medicine down the toilet or sink. Chemicals can be released into our drinking water and be harmful to fish.
Consider reusing pill containers to collect coins, buttons, or other small items.
Although I have barely scratched the surface of Spring Cleaning, add your own two cents.
- What other areas in your home do you find the hardest to Spring Clean?
- Do you have a favorite way to dispose of your unwanted, once loved treasures?
- Do you have a favorite system to remove those mounds of paper?
- Do you have any great re-use ideas to re-purpose items no longer working or past their prime?