To Throw Away Or Not To Throw Away: 4 Tips For Spring Cleaning
Updated: Jul 27
The months of April and May can be a time of relief as the weather breaks and the end of the school year is on the horizon. Consider using this time to get organized, so you can enjoy the summer weather and all the exciting activities that will come your way.
Spring cleaning can be tougher when you are in transition, especially during divorce. You may be managing multiple spaces in your home and work environments. You may not really be sure what items you need to hold onto versus those things that you should consider letting go. Conversely, you may be dealing with a general sense of overwhelm and paralysis.
The more you are able to stay organized and not let things pile up, the more flexibility you will have to handle new challenges, and joy, in your life. I encourage my clients who are struggling with getting organized to PACK it up!
Tip #1: Prepare a plan. Whether you are filing your documents from your divorce or cleaning your closets — you should make a plan in order to protect your goal of staying organized. The following three steps can help to jumpstart your plan: 1) Create the category of project you need to manage. Categories can include divorce papers, the garage, or kitchen cabinets. 2) Prioritize the spring cleaning project that you will tackle and, 3) Commit it to paper or your e-calendar. This means not only writing a plan of your goal, but also writing the steps it will take to accomplish the goal. Once you have these crucial steps in place, then block off that time on your calendar. Even if you only have 30 minute bursts of time, that is enough time to create folders for filing documents, to clean out one dresser, or to pack dishes in one box.
Tip #2: Ask for help. Can you call a relative, a retired assistant, a housekeeper, a dear friend who has excellent organizing skills, or a teenager? You are not alone in this journey, and part of your spring cleaning plan should include a list of people who you can call for support and assistance. Are your children old enough to get involved in cleaning their closets or with packing items? If they are feeling resentful about an impending move, it will be important to be empathetic and listen to their feelings. Involve them if you feel they can handle the emotions and the task is age appropriate. Consider a small task that you can assign to them so that they can make a contribution and have a sense of accomplishment. Building resilience is a skill that will serve your children well.
Tip #3: Consider your capacity, caring, and cost. Ask yourself the tough questions when deciding what to keep or discard. Does this item still have a place in your heart because of sentimental value? Do you have the capacity to accommodate this item in your files or home, and what is the true cost of keeping it? If you have to rent a storage pod, or take up space in your garage and have to park your car on the street, make sure that you factor that cost. As you sift through what to keep, donate, or throw away ask yourself; If you never used or saw that item again, how would you feel? Being able to evaluate these 3 C’s can help with the tough decisions around your wedding dishes or that box of toys and games you haven’t used in years.
Regarding the documents of divorce, you may not be sure what is important to keep on hand. Speak with your attorney and/or your accountant so they can give you guidance on the documents you will need to store, the best mediums for storage, and the associated costs.
Tip #4: Keep a positive attitude. It is important that you not view this project as a proof of what you are losing from your life. This cleaning and pruning process can be a time of renewal and making space for the new things that you are inviting into your life. Create a mantra or find a favorite quote that you can say to yourself while you are cleaning, and don’t forget to play your favorite music. It is also important that you celebrate your successes. After you have completed a major task, take a night for yourself to have some fun with friends. Treat yourself to a take-out meal if you are physically exhausted from a day of organizing. As you begin to cross those To-Do items off of your plan remember, “Transition is all about what best serves you — so out with the old and in with the new!”
If you are contemplating divorce, or struggling with a high-conflict divorce procedure, let Tamara Harris, CEO of Tamara Harris LLC, be your partner as you navigate through each stage of your journey. As an impartial, experienced professional, Tamara will work directly with you to give you the best tools and strategies to manage the specific challenges and uncertainties of divorce. Serving as your Divorce Coach and advocate, she will help you see clearly during this time where emotions can often impede and derail your divorce procedure. While each member of your high-conflict divorce team – lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and other experts – will be advising you, Tamara will help you to synthesize this information, think strategically about the options you have with clarity and purpose, and get your divorce across the finish line. Visit tamaraharris.com for more information, or contact Tamara Harris to discuss becoming a client. All inquires will be held in confidence.