Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My version of spring cleaning: Spring Organizing

It happens to me every year. Just as the weather begins to turn and we’re surprised with a long stretch of warm, sunny weather –- the kind that pops up in the spring in Seattle before summer officially starts on July 5 –- that I start to feel the organizing itch. Maybe it’s the desire to lighten up my space, make it more streamlined and ready for the long summer days ahead. I mean, who wants to think hard about where to file your July paperwork when the sun and barbecue beckon?

Here are some of my favorite things to do to clear out the cobwebs from a winter of being inside. Try a few of these, and I guarantee that you will feel lighter. And as a reward for all of your hard work, perhaps a mojito on the back deck?

  • Take a serious look at your closet. Now is the time to look critically at what you’ve just been wearing (or not wearing) all winter, and what you anticipate wearing for summer. Make some space in your closet for tank tops and capris, and move the big sweaters to the back corner. After you’ve done that, consider one of these ways to unburden yourself of unwanted clothes.

  • Sort through your stack of manuals and warranties for electronics, household appliances, etc. See the manual for the toaster oven you sold at a garage sale ten years ago? Pitch it and all others for products you no longer own.

  • Take a walk through your files and recycle or shred paperwork you no longer need to keep. Make space in your filing cabinet and you’ll find it’s easier to put new documents in on a regular basis, thus staying more organized.

  • Go through that unruly pile of photos and organize it into labeled photo boxes, arrange in albums, or categorize your electronic photos if the unruly pile is a virtual one. One tip: If you are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number, try to pick out a few representative photos from a particular trip or occasion and don’t feel guilty about disposing of the rest. Consider sending the extras out to family or friends you know would enjoy the photos –- what a fun surprise for them to receive!

  • Give your stack of magazines a critical once-over. Sure, there are some magazines -– perhaps relevant to your profession –- that you want to hang on to for years to come. Most of us, though, turn down a page thinking that we’ll come back to reference a particular something but then don’t ever return. The solution is to go through your magazines and tear out anything interesting and toss the rest. Make some files into which you can drop the things you’ve torn out. A few to start with might be design ideas, recipes, product suggestions, how to’s, and gift ideas. For those of you who really get into this idea, sub-categorize further: gift ideas for kids, parents, sister, brother, hostess gifts.

  • As you dive into the summer gardening season, look at which tools you’re actually using. Maybe you don’t really need five rakes that all perform exactly the same task? Now is the time to give those extra tools to your daughter who has just bought her first house (and acquired her first garden!) or donate to something like the P-Patch Community Gardening Program that could put your unneeded tools to especially good use. They can be reached at 206.684.0264 and are pleased as punch to receive gardening tools in good working condition.
  • 1 comment:

    1. I feel lighter just reading this. Thanks for the inspiration!