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Spring Cleaning Up


Last night I went for a walk in my neighborhood and passed a young woman standing on the corner of West End Avenue and 71st Street. She was standing behind a card table covered with personal belongings. Was she moving and waiting for a ride? As I got closer I saw a piece of paper with the words “Yard Sale” taped to the front of the table, flapping in the wind. I got about a half a block past when I turned around and went back.

“Have you been selling stuff?” I asked her.

“Yes. I’ve been here every night after work for the last three nights from six to seven. It’s stuff I don’t need anymore.”

And have people been buying stuff?

“Oh, yes. Every night. Most of it.”

I looked over her wares. A few pairs of shoes, a foam roller for exercising, and some stationary. While the New Yorker in me knew it was only a matter of time until someone approached her asking for a permit, I had to give her credit. She was not only spring cleaning, she was cleaning up.


Even after my huge spring cleaning a month ago, I’ve been slowly and continuously saying “Buh Bye” to more. Some when my mom visited a few weeks ago, and then when my sister came. Just when I thought I got rid of everything, a fresh pair of eyes asking, “Do you really need this?” was all the push I needed to get rid of more. As a professional organizer, I’m the one usually doing the pushing, but being on the other end of the push was great.

While many of you have (hopefully) by this time done a bit of spring cleaning, do you think it’s possible to get rid of more? In my quest to try another 30-day challenge, I propose this one: Get rid of one thing every day for 30 days. Okay, I can hear you moaning. Just hear me out. The items can be clothes (a sock with a hole or missing a partner), a blouse that hasn’t been in fashion since 1984, a Tupperware without a top, a worn out spatula, your “I Love Lucy” video collection, a paperclip, anything. One thing for 30 days. Think you can do it?

The stuff you get rid of you can donate, re-gift, sell, recycle, whatever you want, but it must leave your home. Keep a list, track your progress. At the end of the thirty days, let me know how you’ve done.

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