Spring is coming, and we got a taste of it over the weekend. My windows were open and I enjoyed the nice breeze replacing the stale air that you get in the house with it all closed up. With spring comes spring cleaning, at least in my house. Time to clean closets out, declutter, and get the house ready to enjoy the warmer weather.

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It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, especially as you are looking at everything in the house and wondering how you are going to clean it. This goes double if you still have small children in the house.  I have a few tips for you, ideas that have worked well in my household.

  1. Tackle one room at a time. Don't get caught up in running between rooms, have an empty laundry basket, or box, handy for those items that need to be relocated to a different room.
  2. Get your children to help. As you are working in their room/s to clean stuff out, have them decide what to keep or get rid of. Put toys in two different boxes, one to keep, one to donate. Do the same with clothing/bedding, etc.
  3. Don't forget the closets. My children loved to just stuff things in their closets, and then forget about it. I have heard a good rule to follow is, if you haven't worn it/used it for a year, you don't need it and discard it. This does not apply to sentimental or seasonal items.
  4. Buy large garbage bags. Preferably the unscented ones. These are great to put your donations into.
  5. Separate your items. You should have 3 separate piles of stuff, keep, donate, and trash.

I have started my deep cleaning, which was partly due to the warm weather over the weekend, and my obsession with watching "Hoarders" on Hulu. It's a good feeling to get closets and cupboards cleaned out. But, now that you have your donation bags/boxes/totes, what are you going to do with that stuff? Yes, I have ideas for that as well:

  • If the items are higher value, you can always sell them online/social media groups, etc.
  • If you have enough things, or have a group of friends and family who are trying to get rid of stuff, try a garage or rummage sale. Of course, you still need to store the stuff until then.
  • Donations. There are several groups that take gently used, or new, bedding, toweling, clothing, etc. Here in Owatonna there is Community Pathways, the Salvation Army. If you have extra new and unused hygeine items, try the Hospitality House, Rachel's Light, Transitional Housing, even the social workers at the schools. They will almost always know of someone who either needs those items, or give you contact information on where you can take them
  • I have also seen different groups on my personal Facebook page who have rummage sales with donated items to benefit many of the groups listed above and more.

Keep this is mind when you are debating on whether to donate or discard; if it is in poor condition, has holes, stains, tears, etc, discard it. I always think, if I had no money to purchase this item, would I want to receive this item for free? Also, double check with the different agencies for their drop-off times for donations, as well as what they are currently accepting. Please don't just dump your unwanted stuff at their back door and go.

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