Spring Cleaning

Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it — memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.
— Fantasy & sci-fi author Tad Williams

April has always been my favorite because it is my birthday month. Who doesn't like a little celebration in their lives? But with a positive, you can always find a negative or two. For instance, April equals taxes, rain and oftentimes snow, mud season and wait for it ... spring cleaning.

I am a big procrastinator when it comes to cleaning. Don't get me wrong, I am a pro when it comes to organization. It was also wishful thinking to think that a camper trailer doesn't need to go through spring cleaning. How hard can it be to go through 140-square-feet of space?

Last weekend, Greg and I headed to his mom's house to revisit the items we didn't take with us seven months ago when we moved into the camper trailer. Then we headed to our own abode to assess all our items.

Downsizing Tips

Having a tough time getting started? Yeah ... I feel your pain. But remember, "pain is gain!"

  • Sections are easier to manage at a time than rooms or large spaces. For example, start with your closet, the area around your bed or the kitchen.

  • Make two piles:

    • "Things You Use"

    • "Things You Lose" (otherwise known as "things you aren't using")

  • Organize the first pile ("Things You Use") into a hierarchy. The things you use the most often should be near the top or near the front.
  • Take a good, hard look at the second pile ("Things You Lose"). You haven't been using it so far. Look at each item and ask, 'Why haven't I used you yet?' If the answer is due to the weather or the seasons, then you may want to move it over to the other pile. If you know deep down, you don't use it fairly often, then it is so much better to part ways. Chances are you won't remember getting rid of it.
  • Repeat after me, 'Every item is replaceable!' Okay good! Now get rid of it!

Still need help? Read my longer post about downsizing. We tend to hold onto things we don't use for their sentimental value. But you might be able to give something you do use that same love if you were to let go of your old stuff.

If you still need a kick in the right direction, you can hear from Molly of Simplify Your Stuff at Tiny House Jamboree August 7-9 in Colorado Springs. The event is free, but you have to RSVP.

In my next post, I'm going to get after some of the products I use to make cleaning a little more natural and fun.


I wasn't looking forward to this; I'm not going to lie. I was in denial for the last month that I had excess things. Our two-bedroom apartment in Denver is decently sized, and we don't overuse the space we have, so I felt like this wasn't something I needed to be concerned about. Plus, I didn't think I shopped a lot or had too many things in the first place. Boy was I wrong.

Step 1

Try to go through your things one day and see if there's anything you don't like or don't use. For me, this yielded two bags worth of clothes and shoes. For you, it might yield just a few items. Start in an area of your house or apartment that you use the most often. For me, it was my bedroom. I have two huge closets that I have managed to fill with work clothes, athletic clothes, clothes for every season and shoes that I never wear. Take out that storage container of clothes that's dusty and take a good, hard look at it.

Step 2

Go through your stuff again. This time with a different eye. Try on some items that you haven't worn in a while. Is there a reason you haven't worn them? Are they too small? Do they go with anything else you own? When's the last time you've worn them? What image are you trying to portray with the items you own? For me, this was especially tough. I have to actually try things on in my closet? How time consuming! Just remember that you are freeing up space for the best items you own. Getting ready in the morning just got easier.

Step 3

What are you left with? Are there items you are attached to? Ask yourself what benefit those items have for you. Everyone's staple items will be different. There might be that sweatshirt that you've worn everyday this past winter. Yes, that means you should probably keep it. But if you didn't wear the eight other sweatshirts you own, why are you still holding on to them? If you're waiting for that one day where you're in that one situation to wear them, I hate to break it to you. Chances are that day won't come for a while and that item won't fit or be appealing then.

Step 4

When you downsize, you should start small and go through several evaluations. Give yourself a few days before each time you go through your things so that you can breathe and not be overwhelmed. Once you get the hang of it, it will be a faster process and you'll be able to toss out items simply because you can't answer some of your internal questions on why you still have those items.

Step 5

If you are moving into a smaller space, you'll know that you have to take less with you. You won't be able to bring that couch, table, dresser, TV stand or TV with you. I had to face some of my attachments and ask myself why it was so hard to part with them. All of our things are replaceable in some way. You may not get that same couch back, but chances are you're going to be able to find another one down the road that's similar. Don't panic. It might surprise you, but friends and family may take your items on loan if you ever need them back again.

Step 6

This step only applies if you have lots of time for the process, meaning you're not moving into a smaller space for some time. A good tip I once read said that you should move your hangers the opposite way for the things you wear each day, so that after a month, you can clearly see the items you don't wear. I didn't really have time for that, but I was able to move hangers of items I did wear closer together to be able to evaluate those items farther away. Ask yourself how many dishes or glasses you go through each week. If you're like me, you're probably cleaning the same ones each time, leaving a bunch of items that never get used. What's in your pantry that you've had since you first moved in?

Whether you've reduced your clutter by a little bit or by a whole lot, you're going to feel better. Guaranteed. Your items now have meaning and purpose. It will be easier to get rid of clutter going forward. Also, I have accepted that more space is better. You don't have to fill your closets and cabinets.

Who is this person that wears these things and uses these items on a daily basis? Are you portraying your true self or a version of yourself that you think everyone wants to see?