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It’s that time of year again, when the trees begin blooming, daffodils are pushing their way up through the ground, and windows are just about ready to be opened up to the glories of spring. With all that comes the wonder known as spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning is the time when I dig through my pantry and find mustard that expired in 2014. Hmm. I also go through my kids’ closets and pull out the clothes they outgrew in the past year or three.

That said, I’m actually a purger. I get great joy in donating a carload to a local thrift shop or throwing things away. My kids know that if they have toys with small parts, and those parts get left lying around, Mom will throw them away without warning.

My husband and daughter, however, are pack rats. My husband has toys that were his when he was 5. My daughter cries when I throw away half-deflated balloons. And with six people in the house, we have a lot of stuff.

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to happen in one day or a weekend. Plan ahead. Take 20 minutes at a time. Tackle the fridge, tossing expired sauces and that leftover stew the kids didn’t like. Next, hit up the pantry and do the same. Then move to the laundry room — a few minutes organizing and matching up those lonely socks can make a big difference. Little spurts through the day over the course of a week or two will result in a lot accomplished. Encourage your kids and spouse to do the same with their areas.

This really is one of my favorite times. I go through the toys and eliminate anything they haven’t touched in a while. If a stuffed animal was made by their great-grandmother, I put it in their memory box, but otherwise, off it goes. Books are gone through and the unread or outgrown ones go to a local Little Free Library.

Clothes are harder. I have three boys, so I end up hanging onto them for the next boy. I have boxes of size 7 clothes my 10-year-old has outgrown but are still too big for my 5-year-old. I do try, however, to toss anything that’s ragged or really stained. But for my daughter, anything she hasn’t worn or has outgrown goes into a large box and is handed down to my best friend who has three girls.

For myself and my husband, I try to clean out our closets, too. I put our clothes on hangers and hang them backwards to start. Once something is worn, I change the hanger around. After several months, I look and see what still has a backwards hanger — those are the pieces we never wear, and they go in the donate pile.

Whatever your spring cleaning looks like, don’t be afraid to purge! It’s not just cleansing for your house, but for your soul as well!

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