After a long, hard winter of being cooped up inside, the warmer months of spring encourage you to open your windows and let the sun shine into your apartment. If all that bright sunlight reveals a space filled with too much clutter, then it’s a perfect time for a whole-home refresh! To make the most of your Spring Cleaning effort, take a few minutes to create a strategy of what to keep, what to donate, and what to toss in the trash. These guidelines will help you get started.
What to Keep
The two most important questions to ask regarding the items you are considering for the “keep” category are: Do you love it? And/or do you use it on a consistent basis? Both questions are important! There are some items that have no intrinsic value, but you love them all the same. Mementos from your past, a favorite outfit that you’re saving for a special event, or decor that perhaps doesn't fit your current living situation, but you know will be perfect in your next home. If any item that you want to keep ticks those boxes for you, absolutely keep it! Also, don't get rid of anything that you use on a regular basis, even if it is slightly worn. There's no point in discarding something that you will simply have to replace before the season is out.
What typically merits keeping?
- Clothes for the next season (that you have worn in the past year) and/or that still fit and look good on you
- Any items you use on a regular basis—from kitchen gadgets to furniture items and beyond
- Sports equipment you actually use
- High value items you’ll want to keep “forever”
- Holiday decorations or season-specific décor
What to Donate
Donating can be a bit of a landmine. You want to do the right thing and donate items that still have use, but you don’t want to offload items that someone else will simply have to throw away. How to choose? The key question is: does this have any value left for someone else? If the item is in good condition, or is high quality, or is in particularly high demand, like winter jackets, definitely consider donating. Here’s a full list of items to consider:
- Clothing that is still in good condition and of higher quality (not “fast fashion”)
- Shoes, sneakers, boots
- Winter coats, scarves, hats, gloves
- Small appliances that still work – especially if you have the original boxes
- Sports equipment in good condition
- Toys in good condition
- Books, costume jewelry, dishes, art, or decorative items – again, in good condition!
- Furniture items that are sturdy and well made
What to Discard
This last category will probably be your largest, and that's okay! Even if you have to fill up your apartment complex’s dumpster a few weeks in a row, or line up bags at the curb, it’s far better for you to get these items out of your apartment than to leave them cluttering up your space. If you’re stumped on what merits a short trip to the trash can, here are some ideas:
- Clothing too threadbare to donate
- Anything missing parts or pieces
- Broken or outdated electronics (no one needs them for spare parts, truly!)
- Broken-down furniture
- Anything that makes you sad or reminds you of unhappy times
It can be difficult to make decisions in the moment, especially if you find the Spring Cleaning process has been taxing for you physically (or even emotionally!). By establishing a plan up front and tackling one room a time, you’ll be on your way to a brighter, more open apartment—and a whole new start on your year. Happy cleaning!