Spring seems like a natural time to clean. The sun comes out of hiding, the trees are green again, and the flowers start pushing their way out of the dirt. Sounds nice, right? But spring is still a few weeks off, and this year, I can’t wait until spring to start clearing out space and dusting corners.
My closets and drawers are bulging despite regular, almost obsessive bouts of purging. Hoarding has a hold on two generations of my family, and I refuse to fall prey to its grip, so I’m careful not to let the overabundance of objects persist for too long.
Downsizing from 2,400 square feet to two storage cubes worth of possessions for our cross-country move helped me put my belongings into perspective, but still I wage a war against an ever-growing pile of stuff. Just as I think I’ve got a grip on the clutter, the seasons change or my daughter moves up a size in clothing and shoes.
Growing up in a house overflowing with “treasures,” I used to say that I only wanted to have a sleeping mat, a lamp, and a bookshelf stocked with my favorite books. I’ve since eased up on my dreams of Spartan living, but I have to work to keep control over entropy. Clutter takes a toll on my psyche, one that I don’t even fully comprehend until it’s clean and gone.
One way I find balance is by sorting through possessions on a daily basis. When I’m folding clothes and I come across a pair of pants that has a hole in it, I ask myself, “Will my daughter actually wear those pants if I fix them or should I send them along to be recycled?” Also, if Karys tells me she doesn’t like or want to wear a certain dress, in the donation bag it goes.
Sometimes, when I have a bit more time to put things in order, I pull everything out of a closet, clean it, and only put back the things we are actually using. The rest stays in a box for a few days until I know for sure I haven’t overlooked something. I once made the mistake of sorting through my winter sweaters on a 90 degree summer day only to find the next winter that I had no sweaters to wear!
I also have to take caution with “what-if” thinking. What if I need 200 rubber bands? What if I need nine forks and I only have eight? What if I could cut those pants off to make shorts? It’s easy to get caught in the wave of what-ifs, but the truth is if I’m not going to use something and it’s just taking up space, I need to pass it along for the sake of my space and my sanity.
So, this year, I’m not waiting for spring cleaning. But, who am I kidding?! I’ll probably have to clean again this spring, too.