Spring cleaning

I recently spent a weekend cleaning out my grandparents’ home in preparation for their move to an assisted living facility.  Spending hours going through boxes containing more than 30 years of Hallmark cards, newspaper articles and letters will have an effect on you.

For some, this exercise would make them more likely to keep and store every keepsake.  But for me, it had the opposite result.  While it was lovely to see many of my grandparents’ long packed away mementos, it was the memories of the events associated with those items that were truly important.

This realization caused me to make a pledge to myself (and my future grandchildren) that I would not put my family in the same position of riffling through all of my relics 40 years from now.  This is easier said than done because I am one of those women who likes to keep things.  Between school art projects that my kids have created, special toys, favorite books, and clothes that “still fit” and I might “need again someday” - I have a basement full of stuff.  And that doesn’t include all of the extra stuff in my closets. While I am not close to being a candidate for a “Hoarders” type of intervention, I recognize that I keep way more stuff than I should.

De-cluttering our homes helps
to de-clutter our minds and souls as well.
While I was considering how I was going to accomplish this paring down of stuff, I came across the “100 Things De-cluttering Challenge,” and I was intrigued. Basically, the challenge is to set aside one Saturday morning every other month to get rid of 100 things in your home.  This can be anything from sorting through your desk and tossing 100 pieces of paper to donating 100 pieces of clothing.  As long as 100 things have left your home, your mission is accomplished.  

While I originally didn’t think I would be able to find 100 things that could leave our house, I was pleasantly surprised (and horrified) to find that I likely have 1,000 things that can easily be disposed.  My first “100 Things” attempt resulted in a huge garbage bag full of old papers to throw away and a big stack of clothing to be donated.

So my fellow Inspired Winers, I invite you to join me on my next spring cleaning “100 Things Challenge.”  Go through your unused items and, if possible, donate the gently used items to a charity that will use and appreciate them.  While clothing is the easiest to donate, you can also find animal shelters that will happily take your old towels, women and children’s shelters that will take toys that are in good condition, and nursing homes that would love your old DVD movies and board games.  You will benefit from having a less cluttered home, and the recipients will be blessed with something to enrich their lives.

You and your grandchildren will be glad you did!

Michelle Gauffreau is a customer service consultant for Broadcast1Source and  a founding member of Inspired Wining. She is also a wife, a mother of two and an active volunteer in her community.

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