Do: Spring Clean

I am terrible at throwing things out (something that E has also admitted to on this blog)

And for someone who likes things to be neat and tidy… I don’t seem to be naturally neat and tidy

I keep things that might come in useful one day, I tear interesting articles/recipes/photos out of newspapers, I hoard childhood possessions – and I just shove them into cupboards willy-nilly

(There was an embarrassing moment at Christmas when my landlord opened a head-height cupboard… and an avalanche of wrapping paper, magazines, ribbon and balls of wool escaped…)

And it doesn’t help that a few weeks ago my dad kindly dropped off several boxes and bags of stuff that I’d been conveniently keeping in my old bedroom

So, I’m using this bank holiday to do something useful and at least make a small dent in organising my life!

Starting with…

Yes, the ultimate aim was to get a degree

And yes, most of my  scribbled notes don’t make sense to me several years on

BUT! All those hours making pages of notes, spending my student loan photocopying huge chunks of short loan textbooks, attaching ring binder protectors to each sheet of paper (that lasted about a week)

Nevertheless, this evening I’ve reduced my folders of uni work significantly and resisted falling into just reading it all (something which won’t be so easy when it comes to my “memory boxes”)

I’ve kept a select amount of stuff I’m certain I’d like to read back over – and got rid of anything I didn’t understand/find interesting the first time round!


And tomorrow… I tackle the rest of the spare room!

(Wish me luck… eek)

Have you got any Spring cleaning tips? Is it wrong to be so emotional about objects?

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94 thoughts on “Do: Spring Clean

  1. PJ Girl says:

    Just think how great it will be when it’s sorted! I hate it when things go to waste so I always ask myself if the object will be used or loved in the next year, and if not, who could benefit from this? My magazine piles and scrapbook collection has been drastically reduced since joining Pinterest… and it feels good to be organised (especially as I fight an untidy nature too!).
    Make room for the most special childhood objects if you can – these have helped shape who you are today in some small way :-)
    Everything else can be recycled, re-used or sent to the charity shops. Good Luck!

  2. makedospend says:

    Thanks for the words of encouragement!

    Pinterest is great – but can’t completely break the newspaper tearing habit (I even do it at work!). I’ve decided it’s all about folders… which I can decorate with off-cuts of other paper I can’t bear to throw out.

    I’ve reached a midway point – and have taken a break – I was reaching the point of despair. Starting to see the light now!

  3. I’m with PJ Girl and makedospend on this. Sorting and chucking brings greater value to your material objects. You may not decide to chuck as much as you thought, but you will have assessed their value to you, whether it’s emotional rather than physical need or not. I love sorting – I don’t do much chucking. ;)

  4. anitachowdry says:

    I can sympathise with the notes and papers issue, and the childhood stuff , and the projects intended. Mess can slow you down, but.. all this stuff is your history, manifestations of your aspirations, your creativity and the evolution of your ideas… it’s precious!

    It is good to edit a little from time to time, if only because it reminds you of things that are important to you, and maybe to inspire you to pick up on a project or train of thought that has been on the back burner for a while. You can even make serendipitous discoveries that turn out to be particularly pertinent to what you are doing now!

    I don’t hold with all these fashionable self-styled gurus who tell you to get rid of it all – is it really a good idea to prune down a lifetime of experience to a state of sanitised, sterile minimalism?

    • makedospend says:

      I don’t think I could ever be truly minimalist! It’s definitely nice to have a bit of space to breathe – but I also love surrounding myself with happy memories

  5. Kim says:

    I totally have “just in case” syndrome. You just never know when you really will use your college notes from that GE anthropology class. =)

    The problem for me when I do a massive cleaning is I run across things that I have completely forgotten about. So instead of thinking to myself “gee, if I haven’t looked for this in two years. I probably don’t need it,” I go “Ooooo, I forgot about that. I can totally use this. I’m keeping it!” Oh well, some day I’ll learn.

    Good luck!

    • makedospend says:

      Haha, “just in case” syndrome sums it up perfectly!

    • Tanya says:

      That is so me too!! I just moved in with my sister, I have boxes and boxes of stuff in her garage and in all the closets. I am keeping this stuff, “just in case”… I so need to get rid of everything. I want one of those bedrooms that look like a retreat, with nothing out of place. Maybe one day….

  6. cakerypapery says:

    I tried to tackle the “get rid of grad school notes” concept about a month or so back…all I ended up with was a box of full binders too heavy to carry up into my attic!

    Good luck to you in cleaning up the uni work!

  7. I, too, have a “spare room.” It’s where everything that I don’t use on a daily basis goes to die.

    And I’m tackling it…today. Because our garage sale is…Saturday! Yay!!! (and also, boo!!!)

    Fun post.


  8. dagadooga says:

    I always think it is great to have a proper clear out every wee while – I can kind of understand the whole hoarding thing (my boyfriend is a major hoarder!) but I am more of a minimalist so I never have the emotional attachment program. I think it always helps to go systematically through clothes, make-up, hair things, accessories, magazines, books, blah, blah, blah – and to be honest I always end up throwing tons away! Because at the end of the day if you haven’t used it in a year/ if its broken/ if its useless why keep it? Even clothes, a lot of people keep stuff thinking I’ll slim back into it or whatever, but usually by the time you’ve done it you don’t want the item anymore!

    Be ruthless! Chuck it all!

  9. Wow, I love your outgoing personality! As a graduate of 2 degree’s in fashion, I can sympathise with all those note book doodles and draft notes. The dissertation, I wrote close to 12,000 words. I can also sympathise with the excess clutter. The exact clutter others think is meaningless, but you think it is completely relevant and then we all end up having huge debates about it. Interesting artefacts definitely win the game! I am proud to also be following your blog, and cannot wait to hear many of your other fascinating stories.

    • makedospend says:

      Hello – thankyou for your lovely comment – it’s great to have you on board!

      I think throwing out creative work is much harder than maths equations (sorry if I’ve offended any scientific types!) – and 12,000 words is definitely an achievement to hold onto!

      – B

      • You are welcome! I am proud to become your follower! Haha, yes, I refuse to throw out anything that has a meaning, a definition and some kind of potential. It always has potential! It’s creative and therefore I always see that something could be achieved by using it. Thank you, 12,000 is quite a lot of words… I wrote about fashion identities. On my blog I posted a few recommendations regarding creative/fashion/art/design exhibitions. Check it out and see. ;)

  10. 1stpeaksteve says:

    I am in a less than ideal situation…

    I am not the best at throwing out unwanted items and I inherited a home from a parent who was a real pack rat.

    For me, it has been a matter of just taking short periods of time and sorting. Every pickup day for the garbage, I try to toss out at least one bag. It’s been helping.

  11. I know how you feel! We’e going to go from a big house to a small one in the next year or so, and we have 40 years of “Stuff” to cull through. I’ll digitally archive what I can, but I think we’ll be renting a dumpster! One room at a time is definitely the way to go! Good luck – and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  12. Uni work is the absolute hardest to get rid of…SO MANY hours of hard work, sweat, and tears poured into those pages. I’ve compensated by narrowing it down to a “portfolio” of my best papers, and that seems to have worked just fine.

    • makedospend says:

      Yes, a select portfolio is a very good idea – I need to be much more ruthless!

      Thanks for sharing – B

  13. My only advice is to do a bit at a time. I have a similar problem. I take a long time to sort things out because, like you, if it’s letters, notes, brochures; anything with words I will stop to read before throwing out… becasue you never know…

    Well, good luck :-)

  14. I think you and I might be the same person. Evil twins? (Don’t worry, I’m the evil one) Good luck with the Spring cleaning, I know every time I try, I get halfway (at which point everything has been taken out of its hiding place and put into piles of keep, throw away, and undecided), then discover something from my childhood that distracts me, and I never get any further, everything just gets backed away again itno its boxes… maybe next year?

    • makedospend says:

      Haha, couldn’t be both be nice twins?

      I’m determined to get it finished… as tempting is it is to just shut the door and pretend I can’t find the key

      – B

  15. It’s alot easier to do in small chunks. I try to reorganize my junk areas and throw out unnecessary papers, do my filing and random giving clothes/unwanted items to good will once a month…it’s a good feeling getting rid of the clutter.

  16. I like to pull pages out of magazines and newspapers as well. My neighbor giving me gift subscriptions to just about every magazine is not helping! ;-) I take the magazines to work on a regular basis (piles of them at a time) with me and leave them there.

  17. Ha, I just took a break from Spring Cleaning to look at today’s freshly pressed!
    It’s hard to throw memory stuff away. My mom is too good at it, and I wish I had more things from my childhood and younger years. I don’t think I’m a hoarder, but I can never get rid of books or notebooks, no matter how irrelevant to my life.

    • makedospend says:

      I’m not going to tell you off for procrastinating on our blog! (Just a bit of research can’t hurt, can it?)

      – B

  18. nirupamaprv says:

    Excellent. All the very best and success.
    As somebody herself fighting the battle of clutter, I totally understand. But the joy of seeing a neat corner [I tackle it one tiny space at a time :) ] or room; where a heap of unorganized, guilt-inducing mess existed previously is reward enough for all the efforts.
    Keep it up.

  19. theliftblog says:

    Great post! I struggle with keeping and getting rid of things (I have over 50 pairs of socks…) When I tidy, I look at a few things:
    1) Have I used it in the last year? If not, can I donate it or shred it for my compost?
    2) Do I require it for my career? If I do, then I file it and keep it.
    3) On a scale of one to ten, how much does it mean to me? If it is going to be kept as a memory, it goes in my memory box. If not, can it be shredded or donated?

    • makedospend says:

      I have about 20 pairs of odd socks! I’ll be extremely impressed if you’re are still with their original partners!

      I like your 3 point plan. Very sensible.

      – B

  20. I guess it helps to envision how nice your place will look once all of the clutter is out!

  21. Thanks for the reminder that I need to continue with my Spring Cleaning. I hate visual clutter, yet I’ve created it. I do my best to try to declutter at least 15 minutes every day. Okay, sometimes it’s every other day. I feel most satisfied when at least one room in the house is clean and clutter free. It inspires me to tackle the rest of the house, one pile of clutter at a time, one room at a time. One day I’ll get there.

    • makedospend says:

      It’s SO nice to come back to a tidy house… but for some reason, it never stays like that for long…

  22. nostoryboard says:

    I have the same problem. Right now, my desk is covered in books and papers, but today I’m trying to get rid of my dirty laundry. If you ever need help cleaning, just watch an episode of “Hoarders.” I always look for something to throw out after watching it.

  23. nazarioartpainting says:

    Nice post. I enjoyed read today your blog

  24. triptracker says:

    wow sounds like me. I just finally threw away (I mean recycled) all the photocopied books i created my first year teaching. There was so much dust in them it was unbelievable. I have a hard time letting things go too.

  25. Okay: I’m procrastinating myself, peeking at freshly pressed posts, when I see your “Do: Spring Clean”. I’m admiring of your photograph, shamed by my own sloth. Above all, though, I’m inspired by your initiative. I’m off to do a bit of organizing myself, Thanks!

  26. intuitiveone says:

    i say throw it out. clutter carries an energy that weighs you down.
    congratulations on FP

  27. I’m also one of those people who like things to be neat and tidy but don’t seem to be naturally neat and tidy. :)

  28. My fav tip – turn paper you “think you might need someday” into computer files. Scan them (or even just take digital pics) and file them away ! (Make sure you back up…)
    Good luck !

  29. itssrijana says:

    i also am very emotional i hate to throw out stuff i dont need now but maybe will need it later:) so i keep such stuffs in boxes labeling them under my wardrobe my room requires constant rearranging though its so small12/6

  30. I started out college as a Pre-Med Biology major, mostly at the urging of my parents not necessarily because I wanted to. I was miserable, but I kept notes from my Bio classes as a reminder to make my own decisions.

    • makedospend says:

      That’s interesting that you keep them to remind you of a sad time in your life. But I can definitely understand why. My friend quit her course and instantly destroyed all her work – different methods work for different people I guess!

  31. ninagrandiose says:

    I really hate this subject. I cringed reading your blog. How can you have just one memory box? The longer one lives, the more memories one has. I admit that I have a problem but it does seem to me that those who advocate getting rid of everything lack a sentimental side. Mine is out of control but can a life that has been passionately lived be limited to one box of momentos?

    • makedospend says:

      “… can a life that has been passionately live be limited to one box of mementos?”

      What a lovely way to put it!

      – B

  32. This post is so timely for me! I moved across the country ten years ago and left most of my memory boxes, photos and school papers in a big storage closet at my parents’ house. I just spent the last two weeks there, going through treasures from middle school through college. My recycling filled the back of the van, and I amassed a huge thrift store pile, but my “keep” pile was still bigger than I wanted. I can always pare down later, but this way I’m not second guessing or regretting my choices. Now I have to work on the clutter in my own house…

    • makedospend says:

      I think doing these things in stages is a good idea. Every time I come back to my school work or wardrobe, I can find something else that I don’t mind letting go of quite so much as last time.

      • So true! Some of the things coming out to Oregon will (I hope!) get weeded out in a future session. But it feels good to have gotten some papers out of my life and into the recycling bin.

  33. I just attempted to some spring cleaning for my spare bedroom also. I started by going through all my nursing school notes (I graduated in 2010 btw). I tried to get rid of as much as possible, but I just couldn’t bear to part with such useful information. lol Hopefully, I’ll get better with my hoarding tendencies. Good luck to you.

  34. Meghna N says:

    It is the same story with me! Even I find it hard to throw away notes that I made long back, thinking I might need them some day. I think how hard I worked on them and that is what makes me keep them for the future. But (fortunately) from the past few instances I have decided to keep only those things which I DID use in the recent past and throw away all the other.
    So, its not at all wrong to be emotional about such things and my tip for you would be this: See if you used that particular object in the past few months. If you did, you might need it again, if not, throw it away. At least that is what I do; it makes things simpler.
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Good Luck! :)

    – Meghna N

  35. Jbot says:

    One thing that I’ve found is that cleaning can also be conducive to a clearer mind. When everything I have is cluttered, strewn about, and unorganized, my mind reflects the same. Likewise when it’s all finally in order, for that one brief moment.

  36. mybrat2012 says:

    Out with the Old and In with the New!! i just recently went through my house like a couple after a divorce! literally just cleaned out

  37. Jo says:

    I’m heading to my attic posthaste to throw out my college notebooks. (Once upon I time I thought I might be a professor in my subject and so was going to use them for lesson planning.) I graduated in 1976. I know, time to take them from the archives and toss them in the trash. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  38. Molly Fuzat says:

    I have total separation anxiety getting rid of stuff too – clothes, old desk supplies, total junk, anything! But I recently moved and went CRAZY with the standard – toss, donate, keep piles and feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders! Although I still have a ton of stuff in my old bedroom at my parents I am avoiding tackling for now…. Best of luck :)

    • makedospend says:

      Moving is definitely a good time to have a real clear out (if you leave yourself enough time!)

      It’s that sense of starting a new chapter, it somehow makes it easier to part with things

      (Also – I get a sense of guilt when I realise how much STUFF I actually own!)

  39. wittymistee says:

    I am so guilty with the same issue. Had a lot of papers and collected magazines over the years. I am slowly letting them go and some were recycled into colorful beads and decorative boxes.

  40. amymccreath says:

    You’ve inspired me. I’ll start with the attic….

  41. jensine says:

    Two years ago I moved into a much smaller place so I had to do a mega spring-clean so my tip is get rid of all the extra stuff … if you haven’t needed it for a year get rid of it. Now I am not talking about those special items just those other things we seem to gather. And flea markets are great, you sell things to others who will ove what you are giving away, doesn’t feel to bad then and you make a little extar cash. just remember to keep the prices low.

    • makedospend says:

      Flea markets (or car boot sales for us Brits!) are definitely a great way to help tidy out, while making a little bit of money

      Unfortunately most of the stuff I should probably clear out… I’m not sure anyone else would want it!

      Thanks for your comment! B

  42. bjones1031 says:

    I feel your pain. On time I tried to clean my office and only succeeded in sorting, pencils, pens and highlighters. I love the neat and tidy, but the process of getting rid of ‘my’ ‘things’ can be sooooo hard.

  43. Paula's Paradise says:

    Great post and I SO hear you … I notice that the memories and emotional attachments are mostly what I’m wanting to “save” by holding onto certain things like my kiddo’s large classroom art posters from elementary school or fashions from special moments … I’m finding a good camera and a scanner to be a real friend in documenting these things that I don’t have space for any more and still want to keep in some way. Okay, back to some spring sorting … I still have a ways to go! Thanks and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • makedospend says:

      Thankyou Paula!

      I can understand finding it hard to part with your children’s artwork – but scanning it is a good space saving tip (although a jpeg won’t be worth as much when they become famous artists in the future!)


  44. drakamatsu says:

    Our Caribbean home was devastated by a hurricane (Georges) followed by a tornado as the eye passed over. The tornado dropped a cement block through the roof causing (1) water to run in from the top; and (2) the windows to implode with water blown in from the sides. Contents of a lifetime became a soggy, dirty mess, as fungus and mold set in. Now, THAT’S a guaranteed method of total cleaning!

    • makedospend says:

      Gosh – what a terrible thing to have happened

      I guess it really makes you appreciate what is really valuable to you

      Thankyou for commenting :)

  45. get a clipboard w paper and pen ……walk through each room and make a list of what you would get rid of if you were moving to a house half the size of ur current home…then one item at a time over the course of a month…..toss it.

  46. Jean says:

    Uh, honestly you will only read .05% of those student notes. I pitched out a few files I hoarded ….30 yrs. after I finished university. I was pathetic. The thing is that new knowledge related to one’s job is being created. I know, I know you want to go back to fundamentals in case you are asked/ need grounding. If you apply the fundamentals learned in the world of work life, it will become part of your work/career DNA. Trust me.

    • makedospend says:

      I think you’re right Jean – I just worry that I seem to have forgotten SO much!

      But I guess not knowing how to translate Old English texts isn’t going to hold me back too much in life (unless I suddenly change jobs and become a medieval professor!)

      Thanks for your comment! – B

  47. Nastasja says:

    I swear I will throw everything away as soon as I finish my university. Too much, way too much stuff!

  48. joiedevivre74 says:

    Reblogged this on This beautiful life.

  49. makedospend says:

    Hello everyone!

    Thankyou so much for all your comments. There’s some really handy tips there. I’m so glad to hear it’s not just me who struggles to throw things out and keep their life in order. And I’m also happy that I’ve inspired some other people to try a spot of spring cleaning too!

    I’ve still not completely dominated the spare room entirely, but you’ve all given me renewed energy to get it finished!

    B x

  50. ohmenopause says:

    My advice darlings. When you don´t feel like doing the cleaning, force yourself. I force myself everytime.

  51. Thanks for the inspiration!

  52. Amanda Fried says:

    I find it therapeutic to sort things, throw out things, and get organized. The end result is a great, clean workspace!

  53. 4myskin says:

    Ugh…I’ve kept most of my college notes too. How can you throw those away?!

  54. Em says:

    I have the same problem, I hate throwing things out… in fact sometimes my husband calls me a hoarder, but I don’t think it has gotten to that stage yet.

    Since I have moved house twice in the last couple of years, I do have to admit that getting rid of stuff that I don’t need, while painfu, has been quite liberating, but I have to be in the right mood otherwise it’s just all tears.

    I tackled my spare room last year in order to make it a study for myself and actually wrote a blog about it here:

    Good luck with your spring cleaning, I hope it’s not too hard and that you don’t get distracted like I would, reminiscing on all the memories each random item holds :)

  55. Congrats on that step & good luck on the rest! This is a task that is always on my to do list and yet I never seem to get to it. I am have things from high school, college and boxes of who knows what from when we moved over 2 years ago. Being an accountant, just make sure you designate a central spot or folder or something for all of your tax information for the year. You may make donations through out the year and not every organization sends a year end statement so make sure you keep all of those deductible items through out the year so you can get back as much money as possible! Good luck & thank you for inspiring me! I think I’ll do some spring cleaning this weekend!

    • makedospend says:


      I have to admit I’m pretty bad at filing important documents properly… I found P60s hidden in the weirdest places…

      I will invest in a sturdy folder!

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