Help me clear out winter clutter

April 3, 2013

The sunshine’s warmer, the sky’s bluer and tiny green buds have begun to appear.

We’ve been dug in all winter in most parts of the country, even here in northern California, where it doesn’t snow but does get rather chilly. So it’s exciting to see the first signs of spring. For me, clearing out the winter clutter comes to mind: ordering closets, organizing my office and maybe even finally cleaning out the storage unit in Pacific Grove, and sorting through remnants of my life there.

I’m going to start in the house first, which can seem overwhelming. Over the past few years, we’ve merged two lives, three homes and three geographies, and while M. is almost spartan in his needs, I am most definitely not. I’m Queen of Paper, have clothes I haven’t worn in six years and despite my Kindle, have begun to collect books again. The closets in the house are a bit small, too.

What’s a girl to do?

I’m starting with my closet and donating the career wear I thought I might have the odd use for. It’s been years and i haven’t worn any of it. It’s taking up space in the small guest room closet. It’s going–let someone else get some use out of it.

I’m moving on to my office, which seems to only be truly functional for a few weeks a year. With my additional closet space, I’ll be able to store some things out of sight, after organizing. And of course, I need to be more rigorous about what I keep and what I discard.

We’re not going to hit up the storage unit at the coast until summer. I’ve been putting it off simply because I know my husband and how much shi t he’s going to give me when he sees it. Especially because helpers moved stuff into it years ago when I wasn’t there and it’s a big fat mess. Most of it’s probably going straight to the dump, but that means hiring a laborer with a truck. The lock has probably rusted on in the sea air, so I’ve got to get a locksmith, too. It’s pretty complicated, which is why I’ve been avoiding it. But M. promises he will keep his mouth shut and his eyes straight ahead in their sockets.

That’s what he says, anyway.

So, since my brain simply does not organize naturally, I’m asking for organizing tips. I know some of you out there are aces at it. What do you advise?

And thank you in advance.

9 comments on “Help me clear out winter clutter
  1. This is (almost) making me want to start my own spring cleaning…must go drink more coffee until it passes.


  2. Helen says:

    Take everything out of the closet.
    Clean the floors/walls of closet.
    Give items the “used in a year” test with the caveat that it might be a special-occasion only use.
    Make piles of “donate,” “sell,” “trash” and get the trash out as soon as you fill a bag.
    Consider who will have to clean up this mess if you don’t and put notes on sentimental items so that person will know what it meant to you.
    Considering hiring a haul-it guy for the storage unit; if you can’t use it today, sell, donate or trash it.

  3. Lois Alter Mark says:

    Start with your sock drawer! Seriously, this always works for me. You’ve inspired me to start my spring cleaning too. Thank you!

  4. Ellen Dolgen says:

    you, i use the 2-year rule: If I haven’t worn it or thought of it in 2 years, it’s gone!

  5. Ellen Dolgen says:

    i use the 2-year-rule: if i haven’t used it, worn it or thought about it in 2 years, it’s gone. hHelen has some great ideas here!

  6. I can’t help you, but I will follow your comments for tips. I did finally buy sock drawer dividers to divide by color. I’m very proud of that one move.

  7. I’m so revived by the fact that I am not the only one challenged by this! And Yes, Helen, you are a friggin rock star, in more ways than one! (Helen is a longtime friend IRL who is my role model for many things, and now, this is another of them!)

  8. Two years! I confess I have clothes in my closet that are more than 20 years old. And I never wear them. I am way overdue for purging.

  9. Maryl says:

    My older clothes provide memories for me. So I have a hard time giving them away. Also, as mentioned in my most recent blog post, clothes do come back in style and be recycled and restyled. So you see I’m no help. Hire a closet organizer. 🙂

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