The snow has dissipated, the days are longer, and the temperature is slowly rising. Now it’s time to clear out all the stuff you no longer need, use, or want. Spring is a time to start anew, which includes spring cleaning. It is amazing how much better you will feel, physically and emotionally, when your home environment is freshly de-cluttered. Start with the room you spend the most time in– living room, kitchen, wherever has the most piles of paper and junk. Then move onto closets and cabinets – discarding of toiletries and clothes can make all the difference. Here are a couple questions to ask yourself . . When was the last time I used this? Do I need it? Is it functional for my life at this time? If not, get rid of it. Please don’t keep something for sentimental value if it’s not being used and taking up space – you will always have the memory of whatever or whoever gave it to you. Take it one step further and donate it – there is someone out there who will benefit from your household goods, that person is just no longer you. There are plenty of organizations who will pick up your household goods – for example, Good Will http://www.goodwill.org/ or Vietnam Veterans http://www.vva.org/ and they will leave you with a good feeling and a tax deduction form. There is always the option of holding a yard sale to see if you can make money from your treasures – the trick is to make sure you still proceed to donate everything left over and make sure nothing ends up back in your house. It is often helpful to have a friend or family member who doesn’t live with you to go through the process of de-cluttering – someone who knows you well but can provide an unbiased perspective. Mark Twain said it best, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” So make sure to set realistic goals for yourself and don’t take on too much, or your de-cluttering may backfire and you will end up more stressed than when you started. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and stay positive – you will be able to enjoy springtime that much more when you’re done cleaning and de-cluttering.