The onset of springtime always makes me think of renewal, sunshine and fresh air, opening windows (soon enough) to clear out the static buildup of winter in the house. It always awakens my urge to clean, to organize, to renovate, to look at things in a new way.
And as I dig into Honey & Birdie’s bins of t-shirts and shorts, flip-flops and galoshes, rompers and sundresses to see what will fit this year, and as I purge the toy box again, it feels so freeing to move forward. As I set aside outgrown snowsuits and boots, warm sweaters and Christmas jammies, I let go of things no longer needed. It makes space for growth and acknowledges where we are, that is the true work of spring cleaning for me.
Now what to do with it all?
There’s the obvious answer, throw it out. And yes, inevitably we’ve collected or turned some things into trash. So the things that can’t be reused or repurposed, to the trash they go! But there’s an opportunity to be creative here, to “reduce, reuse, recycle” for real. Old clothes can become cleaning rags, old pieces of toys… art projects. The less waste, the better!
Now, for the things — and I mean, anything from kids clothes to my clothes to kitchenware to toys and sporting goods — that are in good condition, there are a lot of options to consider.
DONATION: We’re fortunate to have a lot of wonderful organizations locally that will take donations. If you want to drop them off yourself, there’s the Salvation Army in Pittsfield (you can even schedule a free pickup HERE), several Goodwill locations across the county, the Community Health Programs offices (The Family Center in Great Barrington is our personal favorite), and plenty of drop-off bins around the area.
One service I’ve personally enjoyed taking advantage of is Hartsprings Foundation. You can sign up on the phone or over the internet and they’ll come to your house and get your stuff. Their proceeds go to funding the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.
All of these organizations can give you a tax write-off form, too!
FRIENDS & FAMILY: We’re lucky to have lots of little cousins coming our way in the future. Passing on clothes and baby stuff is the most fun; I love seeing outfits my kids wore on their cousins and friends. And it’s effective and eco-friendly. If you’re interested in learning more about the impact the fashion and clothing industry has on the planet, you can check out the documentary “The True Cost” on Netflix or Amazon. It’s eye-opening, to say the least.
YARD SALES OR ONLINE TAG SALE SITES: Who doesn’t love a good yard sale, picking through someone’s goodies to find gems of our own? Yard sales can be a great way to get a few bucks for your no longer needed stuff of all kinds. There are also sn endless numbers of local tag sale sites or pages online where you can post items for sale.
CONSIGNMENT: Now, this is one of my favorite ways to get back some of what I’ve spent on my children’s stuff and to buy the next season’s worth of sizes and styles. There are a few local consignment shops that do a great job — Kidding Around Consignment in Pittsfield and Berkshire Baby in Great Barrington top my list.
If you’re like me, and you like the satisfaction of getting things done in one fell swoop, there are also several great consignment SALES in the area. These sales are over a weekend or several days. Basically, they are like a warehouse filled with second-hand stuff for sale. You can set your own prices and a percentage goes to the host organization. I’ve had wonderful experiences as a seller and buyer at O’Baby Consignment sales right over the border in Chatham, NY. Community Health Programs is also gearing up for their twice yearly Children’s Attic Consignment Sale May 6 and 7, and looking for consigners. More info can be found HERE.
Whatever you do with the things you don’t need, it’s as much about the process of making room in our lives for whatever comes next, freedom to change and grow, and space to breathe. For us, this year, it’s about simplifying and in that, sharing what we have with those around us. As we tend toward less waste and more mindful living, we can focus on reducing, reusing, and recycling in our homes and our hearts.