Are you a Spring Cleaner? I’m not always on top of it myself, but this year I did it WITH my kids, and guess what… we did it QUICKLY! I just finished pulling clothes out of the closets to donate, and I thought it may be fun to share a few ideas with you guys. I imagine most of you do your Spring Cleaning when the kids are out. I’ve been hoping for that scenario at my house… but, I’ve accepted that I need to Spring clean with the kids at home. So why not experiment with a lesson in giving back?
Simple idea: Use decision "hacks" to make donations easy
I’ve broken this post into 3 sections: Ways to Donate Clothes VERY Easily (if we’re going to do this, we need it to be easy right?), Processes for Deciding What to Donate, and Donating Clothes with Your Kids.
Ways to Donate Clothes VERY Easily:
- If you don’t know this already, many organizations WILL COME TO YOUR HOUSE to pick up boxes of clothing after you Spring Clean. Donation Town is an awesome resource for finding an organization in your area
- If you live in a location where organizations won’t come to your house, there are often DROPBOXES IN CHURCH OR LARGE DEPARTMENT STORE PARKING LOTS. Keep an eye out next time you’re driving; you’ll probably be surprised to see boxes or trailers where you never looked before.
Processes for Deciding What to Donate:
The TURN AROUND THE HANGER idea — a friend introduced this to me for my own closet a few years ago, and it’s truly brilliant.
- Start by turning each hanger in your closet backwards on the rod
- When you wear an item, hang it back into the closet as normal
- After a few weeks, you can easily see what you wear, and what you don’t.
- Take out the clothes that haven’t been worn, and sift through those. Perhaps they all go… perhaps a few do… and the others go back into the closet for another round facing backward.
- You’ll be shocked at how many things aren’t actually worn over 2-3 rounds of this process
- After a few rounds, you can think about how happy those items will make someone else and pop them into your donation box. ;-)
QUICK PILE SORT — Create Yes, maybe, & no piles so that you can quickly move through the pieces without thinking too much
- Make space for 3 distinct piles near your closet – yes, maybe & no
- Take each item and quickly toss it into one of the three piles
- The “maybe” pile takes a lot of the stress out of the process because you don’t have to think hard (especially if you have mom brain!). I personally have a hard time parting with things, so I spent hours cleaning the closet before this process. The “maybe” pile captures the bulk of my items after the first sort.
- Once you’ve gone through everything, shift the “no” pile to the donation box, the “yes” pile back into the closet, and the “maybe” pile is front and center
- Process repeats…
- After 2-3 more rounds I’ve typically eliminated my “maybe’ pile because I’ve had the chance to think about the same item 3-4 times without dwelling on it each time.
- The “no’s” find a happy place in the donation box, and the “yes’s” find a happy place back in the closet.
THE STAGING AREA — this was a huge Spring Cleaning help for me because of my difficulty parting with things. I’m not much of a “committer” ;-) Anyone else like that? So the staging area removes that last barrier that I had toward Spring cleaning.
- Find a small area where you can stack the boxes. For me, this is the corner of my bedroom.
- Once my donation boxes are filled, I place them into that “staging area” for 1-2 weeks.
- For me, it doesn’t really matter how long I hold them… it’s more about the fact that I’m giving myself the grace to dive back in if I really miss something. This grace period gets me over the hump of putting them into the “no” pile in the first place. Rarely do I go back into the box, and after a week, I’ve forgotten what’s there anyway.
- Off goes the box to its new home!
Donating Clothes with Your Kids:
I’ve found this to be a bit of a give and take process. Because my kids are inevitably in the room when I Spring Clean their clothes, we have to decide together. Here are a couple of quick tactics that help us:
- We talk a lot about THE LITTLE BOYS AND GIRLS WHO WILL GET THESE CLOTHES and share ideas for how they may wear them. Examples include imagining the children happy in the outfit at the park, or showing their friends at school, etc. We picture how they will feel just as special as my kids did when they first wore the outfit.
- We talk about how NEW CLOTHES CANNOT FIND A SPOT IN THE CLOSET IF WE DON’T REMOVE OLD CLOTHES to make room for them. With Spring cleaning this year, we used the process as a chance to spend a Christmas gift card (birthday gift cards work too) to buy something new.
- The GOOD OLE’ “MAYBE” PILE! This is where I place the clothes that I know should go, but they’re not quite ready to part with yet. We set them in a “maybe” pile, and for the coming days, they need to pick something from that pile to wear every day. On the first day that they choose to veer off of the pile, we donate the remaining items in our box.
I’d love to hear your experience with these ideas, especially if it works for your kids. AND… if you have any additional tactics that work, please comment below and share them!