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ImageThe New Year is a perfect time to take stock of all of the items we just received from the holidays and those we already had on hand. I bet if you look around in the room you’re in right now, you will be able to find a few items just begging you to retire them to a yard sale, donation pile or the trash bin. I know I can.

Over time, we all collect and save items that strike an emotional chord in us. Whether it’s the catalogs that come in the mail that we think we’ll get around to browsing or the old lamp from Grandma Jessie we just can’t imagine living without. Everyone has something they can part with. Most likely, what you don’t need anymore, someone else can use.

If the thought of this task seems overwhelming, try breaking it up into a few days or put it on a room a week plan. This way you will all get a thorough cleaning done but you won’t exhaust yourself by trying to tackle that 1800 square foot home all at once. Try to plan your cleaning spree a day or two before trash collection day so you don’t have to go a whole week with full trash bins.

Are you planning to move into a new home or selling one that you have? Now is a great time to pare down your accumulations and make your move less stressful. You’ll save money on buying moving boxes as well as time packing them. Plus, if you hold a yard/garage sale now, you’ll gain some unexpected funds for your move.

Remember when you’re looking for ways to deplete the stockpiles to check the storage closets, junk drawers, attics, basements, garage or anywhere else that “junk” tends to go. Many of us have footstools or ottomans that are disguised storage spaces – make sure you check them as well.

I like to go from room to room, checking everywhere, tiding up, and putting things out of place back where they belong. I’ll also take this opportunity to knock down the cobwebs, dust and vacuum or sweep. I start from the top of the room and work to the bottom to make the clean-up easier. This way everything falls to the floor and you’ll have the final sweep or vacuum to clear it all away.

Rule of thumb: If you haven’t used something in the last year, most likely you can live without it. There are only a handful of items that I could think of that would not fit this rule. Examples are:  an emergency preparedness kit, or a generator for power outages. However, this would be a good time to check these items and make sure they are up to date, maintained and ready for use at a moment’s notice.

While you’re in this spring cleaning frenzy, remember to clean out your refrigerator too! After all, the holidays are over and the left overs are not near as tantalizing. Plus, it has been well over a week now since the Christmas ham or roast was cooked and it does not last forever. Wipe down the inside of the fridge, shelves and door while you clean and it will sparkle as good as new when you’re done.

When you’re finished, look over all the items you’ve gathered that you need to get rid of and can live without. Separate the items into those that are sellable, items for donation and trash. If you don’t have enough items for a sale, donating is a great way to go and you can use it for a tax write-off.

Lori Hartjoy: I am the owner of Blue Mountain Rentals. I bring over 20 years of clerical experience to my clients. My background includes processing employment, tenant screening, background checks and working as a property manager and payroll clerk. The information contained on this blog and from any communication related to the Blue Mountain Rentals website is provided for informational purposes only. All information you choose to use is at “your own risk”. Please visit http://www.bluemtnrentals.com for more information on how I can provide a win-win situation for your housing needs.

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