Its almost SPRING! Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Everything is refreshed and brought back to life. Many people like to mirror this in their homes by what we call spring cleaning. I actually really enjoy some aspects of spring cleaning. The actual work isn’t that fun, but the after-effects of having a spotless clutter-free home can’t be beat! I love it when everything is organized. When my closet, drawers, cabinets, refrigerator, filing cabinet, etc. are all free of old clutter and ONLY contain things I need or use, its such a peaceful and content feeling. Its more pleasant to look at, makes it easier to find what I need, and requires less maintenance. Did you know that according to the National Soap and Detergent Association (that’s a real thing, apparently), getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40% of housework in the average home? (source) I definitely believe it!
Minimalism is something that really intrigues me. Ryan and I live in a fifth wheel camper, which is extremely minimal, but its not by choice- its to save money for a house. Still- we will probably never live in a big fancy house, and I don’t even desire such things. Can having less (or having just what you need and not much else) really make you happier? In some cases I think it can!
One evening when Ryan and I were out to eat, we ran into an older couple that Ryan used to wait tables for often. They engaged us in small talk and asked what we’re doing, how’s married life, and the typical questions. When we told them that we were living in our camper right now, they told us about how they lived in a really small apartment when they were first married, and how those were some of the best years of their lives. They laughed, telling us about how the two of them are always in different rooms of their big house nowadays, so they don’t even see each other as much. They were smiling and laughing about it, but it really struck me and made me feel a little sad. The major overall theme of my blog is to embrace a simpler (slightly old-fashioned) way of life because I truly believe it leads to such a strong feeling of contentment. Plus- having less “stuff” often results in less stress, and less time spent cleaning. Who wouldn’t like that?
Sorry for the rabbit trail- Lets get back on track! This year I really wanted to clear out a bunch of junk I’ve been holding on to, and make it so that my eyes are happy when I open a drawer or cabinet….instead of taking one look and being instantly annoyed at all of the crap I’d have to sort through to find what I wanted. 😉 Since we live in such a small space, clutter builds up faster and is all the more obvious. We simply don’t have room to keep stuff we don’t use or need. These statistics about how much stuff Americans have is mind-blowing. Read it if you have a moment. Its really eye-opening!
Okay, so here’s what I’ve done and plan to do within the month to make my eyes happy and my life so much easier!
1. Clothes clothes everywhere- I read a tip once that said “If you haven’t worn it in the past year, or it doesn’t make you feel happy to wear, get rid of it.” Easier said than done, right? I’m really bad about holding on to clothes for way too long just-in-case I need it. I especially had an over abundance of t-shirts. Some of them I’ve had since mid high school. Maybe I got it from an event, or as a souvenir from a vacation, so they all had memories attached. This made them harder to get rid of. I buckled down and got rid of a ton of them. Dresses are bad for me too- I tend to keep every dress I ever bought just-in-case the perfect occasion arises to wear something. When I went through my closet, I only kept what made me feel cute and was reasonably comfortable.
Extra Socks, Undergarments, and Accessories- Are there any other ladies out there who keep every sock, undergarment, and accessory that they’ve ever bought in the past 10 years? I’m exaggerating a little bit, but that statement isn’t too far off. Throw out, sell, or donate this extra stuff. It’s so refreshing to open my drawer and only have the handful of pieces I normally wear anyway and not have to sift through 50 pairs of socks and underwear.
Expired/Old Condiments- I’m bad about keeping condiments or salad dressing bottles way after they’ve expired. We basically use ketchup, and hot sauce on a regular basis and everything else is just for every once in a blue moon…ranch, mayo, 10 different varieties of spicy mustard, 10 different flavors of jam…I’m kind of exaggerating.. But its definitely important to go through and toss stuff now and then. It often gets overlooked.
Anything in the junk drawer- How often do you really use stuff in your junk drawer? Usually they’re full of stuff you don’t have a place for or really need, but you don’t want to get rid of them. All that’s left of my junk drawer are a few things I actually use- A sharpie for labeling freezer bags, toothpicks for checking doneness of baked goods, a plastic baggie full of clothespins and chip clips I actually use (I threw some of the big gaudy ones out), and extra spices that didn’t fit in my spice drawer. Its so organized! Everything else found a rightful home or got donated/trashed.
Clean out that silverware drawer!– I don’t mean getting rid of extra utensils, but if you have a surplus, definitely do. What I mean by this is, take everything out of the silverware holder and look at how dirty and gross it is. And that’s where you put your clean silverware. How does it even get dirty if its only used for clean stuff? Its a mystery. But it always seems to get gross, so give it a good washing. I always tend to notice when it looks dirty but rarely clean it often enough. Also organize the drawer so the things you use most often are easily found.
Cabinets- That half-full box of stale graham crackers leftover from having s’mores over the summer? It’s probably time to toss it. (I’m talking to myself here.) Go through and be realistic about whether you will ever actually use that weird ingredient again, or eat those protein bars that you thought were disgusting.. I hate wasting or throwing out food more than most, but there comes a time you just gotta do it. Another tip to make your cabinets or pantry SO cute is to start storing all of your dry goods in glass jars. Seriously so adorable. It is so much prettier than looking at pile of plastic baggies or cardboard boxes with logos on them leaning and falling all over the place. Foods that are perfect for a glass jar include flour, sugars, oats, rice, coffee, nuts, cornmeal, baking powder, cocoa, I could go on and on. Its so nice to open a cabinet and see a well organized space full of cute jars. It makes me so happy.
Clean out your filing cabinet- I know it can be a bit scary to throw away things you think you might need, but there’s really no point in saving years worth of credit card bills and pay stubs. Keep a few recent ones then toss them. Check out this list of documents to keep forever, and documents you should just keep briefly then toss. Its really helpful! I plan on going through mine in the next week or so and can’t wait to lighten it up a bit.
Flowers!– Put out flowers. This is a personal love of mine, but fresh flowers, or any flowers, will really brighten up a room and make it feel fresher and more vibrant. Buying fresh flowers to always have out isn’t economical but every once in awhile it can be a nice treat. If you have a garden or live near wildflowers or flowering trees, you can collect stems and make your own bouquets for free! Fake flowers or dried flowers can be nice too if they don’t look tacky. 😉 I keep my dried wedding bouquet of wildflowers in a cute vase for rustic charm, and I have a few stems of fake flowers that look almost real that I got from Joanne’s or Michael’s. Seeing flowers inside makes me smile.
What are your tips for refreshing and organizing your space for spring?? Let me know in the comments!