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April 2006: Weed Often – so you can enjoy the garden!

Spring has finally arrived and with it comes the spring cleaning ritual. Whether it’s tackling your garden, your garage or the inside of your home, this ritual is about shedding the old (dirt and clutter) and making room for the new in your life. Just like we shed our layers of clothing, we need to shed our clutter.

The problem is time! I hear it every day, “I just don’t have the time”. “If only, I had the time, I could….” I’m here to tell you that you cannot wait for time, you must take the time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and we must prioritize our time. Set a goal that every week you will tackle a different area of the house. One week it may be the basement and another week it may be the garage. Keep going until you get it done.

Don’t wait for a weekend with nothing planned to start organizing. For some of us, that weekend will never come. Take time everyday, and put a few things away and set up an ongoing charity box that can be added to daily. Once the box is full, give one of your local charities a call and they would be happy to pick it up from you. If you do this often enough like I do, they will be calling you on a regular basis to see if you have anything. I make it a practice to never say no. Even if I don’t have anything, I will by the time they come for pick up. This forces me to weed through my clothes often.

The trick is to get these things out of the house as quickly as possible. I know some of you and your children will be tempted to go through these boxes and decide that these things aren’t so bad after all and maybe you could squeeze into this dress. Don’t do it! Once the box is full, close it up and label it and put it in a corner or the garage until the truck arrives. I often take these boxes home with me when I am helping my clients organize their closets. This way the decision is final and they are not tempted to pick through the boxes. No, I never keep anything I bring home! I have enough stuff!

Decide now that the way you got into this mess in the first place is likely not weeding through your clothes ever and buying things on sale! I have seen more clothes with price tags still on them in my clients’ closets and they say, “But it was on sale”. A sale is not a bargain when you buy something you don’t need, you don’t wear or you already have ten of them. Buy outfits, don’t buy individual pieces! They rarely work out. (If you do, make sure you have the item with you or make sure at least you can return the blouse (not final sale) if it’s the wrong shade of pink to go with that lilac suit. I learned this early on in life, as my mother owned a dress shop. I would rarely buy just one item. I would buy a suit and have a few pieces (blouses, camisoles, tops) that I could mix and match. That way I didn’t have to agonize in the morning, “what am I going to wear?” I already knew what I could mix and match. My mother has long since sold her shop, but these good habits have stayed with me.

Take advantage of the nice weather and sweep out that garage and put some items out for junk day. I always recommend recycling, reusing and reducing but sometimes this is not an option and things need to go in the garbage. Get rid of things that are broken and cannot be repaired.

Now go get started and enjoy your garden! Maybe now you can take up that new hobby or start that business!