Tag Archives: spring clean

#40Before40: Challenge #39

15 Dec

For my penultimate challenge, I have set myself one of the hardest challenges. The challenge is to downsize; to get rid of anything that I don’t want or need. There is no caveat on how I get rid of things. I can give them away from free, donate them, sell them, recycle them or just bin them. However, I want to avoid the latter, especially if the item is still useable.

This challenge is one of the hardest for me because I have to be honest with myself about getting rid of things. It is easy just to think that I need or will want something in the future and end up keeping it when I know deep down that I have no intention of using it at all.

We will possibly be moved in the middle of next year so it seems like a good opportunity to downsize because we don’t have to move things that we don’t want. A lot of the sorting out into the “keep” or “bin” piles will probably happen in the packing for the move but I have already made a start.

I have taken two big bags of clothes to be recycled already. This is the tip of the iceberg. There are also old electronics sat in the cellar waiting to be taken to the recycling. I also have bags of books in the cellar that I have already ready. I can take these to a book shop to be resold. I don’t get any money for dropping them off but at least they will be out of my way and someone else can get pleasure from reading them. My problem is that, once I go there to drop the books off, I have a bit of a browse and I end up coming out with 3 new books to read. I have a lot of books to read that are currently sat in the cellar. Although I am coming round to the opinion that even if I gave up work for 12 months, I still wouldn’t be able to get through all the books that I have that I haven’t read. I tend to read about 40 books per year. I need to up this considerably if I want to avoid the situation of getting rid of books that I haven’t yet read. This situation would actually make me really sad.

I have also been making a conscious effort to use cosmetics products that I have and are either half-used or haven’t even been opened. I have made some space in the cupboard in the bathroom but it is a small drop in the ocean. It is amazing how many face creams and things that I have considering I never actually use them. I guess cosmetic companies do have great marketing. If I have bought these things that I have no interest in then they are doing something right.

The clearing out will continue. It is far from over but at least it is in progress.

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Spring Clean

2 Apr

Over the past few weeks I have been making a conscious effort to have a tidy up and a spring clean and get rid of things that I don’t want, don’t use or don’t need.

Since I have lived in Switzerland (18 months already!) I have moved 3 times and it has made me realise how much stuff I have that I never use. Living in Switzerland has been a different experience to living at home in the UK. As there is a big expats community here, people seem to be more transient and move around more than they do at home. In fact I think that this is probably true for some Swiss people as well. It therefore makes sense to be more mobile and ready to move on because you never know when you might be forced to move on again. And to be more mobile you need to have less (material) things weighing you down.

I often do a spring clean but when I have tried this year I realised that I might not have done such a good job. The first drawer of clothes that I open is full of clothes that 6 months ago didn’t fit me but I decided to keep them because “I will definitely lose weight”. 6 months on and I realise that nothing has changed; they still don’t fit and they have just been gathering dust and taking up space in my small room. They have now been given to charity.

One of my passions is reading. I can easily get lost in a book and read one in a few days if I really get taken in by the story. As a result, over the years, I have bought books and not have the time to read them so they gather dust and never get opened. I am now on a mission to read the books that I have before I buy anymore (I will not have to buy a book until 2016 at the earliest). Today I have started a Michael Crichton book that has been under my bed for months and months. 

I also found that I have more beauty products and creams and lotions than any woman could need in her life and I don’t really use them anyway. So I am gradually using these up or just throwing or giving them away. Because why should I keep something that is not going to be useful?

It can be hard getting rid of things that you have had for a long time. And you have to be brutally hard and honest with yourself about how much you want/need/can’t live without something.

I still have things that I need to sort through and it could take a while get through anything but I feel so much better that I have made some progress. I now just have to make sure that I don’t buy more things to replace the things I have agonised over throwing away.