If you read my blog (thanks, my two faithful blog readers!) then you know that, like everyone else, I'm a busy person. I don't have much spare time, and when I do have it I'd much rather be curled up with a book than cleaning my apartment. At the same time, I hate having a messy apartment. Shane says it looks "lived in", but it's really just messy. (There's a lot of evidence that men don't see the small things, like the carpet stains and the dust, so I try to be a little understanding when he asks, "What mess?".) In my efforts to de-clutter, clean, and organize I prioritize doing it quickly. Because of this, it's actually been a long process because I focus on one thing for a few minutes at a time. By the time I have more time to focus on cleaning/organizing, some regular maintenance thing (like vacuuming) needs to be done again. In addition, somehow we always seem to aquire more stuff. Getting wedding presents did not help with that in the least, but they are each treasured and most of them were in the category of "more than wants, less than needs". (We didn't need a saucier, but now that we have one we us it all the time.)
Anyway, I've been slowly filling bags with stuff to give away (like the underskirt for my wedding dress-I didn't end up wearing it that day, so what on earth would I do with it now?) and slowly taking them to the homeless shelter or Value Village, depending on the item. The super cute jacket which was given to me years ago, but which I never wear anymore? Gone! New, clean socks which a friend bought and left at our place (he stayed with us over the wedding weekend) because he never wore them? Gone!
We've even gotten rid of all of our "duplicate" items. A lot of the stuff we got for our wedding filled gaps in what we wanted but didn't have, but some of it replaced old stuff that was still serviceable. We didn't need our old, chipped collection of dishes (we had 2 1/2 different sets!) or the accompanying mugs. Our knives (gleaned from Value Village and incredibly dull) were replaced and needing a new home, and we had several pots/bowls that also needed to go, and a couple of pots which were now just taking up space. I put up a notice on Facebook and within 10 minutes we had a friend reply that her ex-girlfriend (yes, you read that right) needed pretty much everything for her new place. Score! We got rid of our excess and helped someone in need at the same time. That is guaranteed to put a smile on my face!
I think we've finally cleared out most of the extra Stuff. Now we just need to deal with the clutter. Boxes (and accompanying packing material--ick) and things like that need to go to the recycling center on campus or to my office, since we mail a lot of books, a few more loads to Value Village, and Shane's going to try to sell a couple of things on Craigslist. (Like our TV, which we never watch.) We have some stuff leftover from decorating the wedding (candles, a wreath-thingy) that I'm not sure what to do with yet. But I'm feeling pretty good about the progress we've made. Hooray for simplifying!
I found this article recently about testing different methods of spring cleaning for a busy lifestyle. It might be worth trying to figure out what style suits you best. Are you a room by room cleaner/organizer? Or a speed cleaner?