It’s official: spring has sprung! As we start to rise from winter hibernation, it’s time to tidy things up and embrace the start of a new season. During a long, cold winter, it’s easy to collect clutter and feel unmotivated to finish the school year strong. While cleaning may sound like a drag, it doesn’t necessarily have to be! Open up the windows, blast some music, have a pint of ice cream waiting as a reward, and get your KonMari on.
We’ve come up with a list of suggestions to help you chase away the winter blues and put a little spring back into your step.
Find your textbooks a new home
If you didn’t rent or borrow your textbooks, you may be left with a stack of them by the end of the school year. Unless you plan on using them in the future, you should consider letting them go. If you’ve purchased textbooks before, then you know that it can cost a small fortune. While it’s unlikely to get all of the money you spent on books back, there are opportunities to get a little something back in your pocket and ultimately get rid of the textbooks once and for all.
Websites like Bookscouter, TextbookRush, and Campus Books offer to buy your used textbooks and usually handle shipping. If you realize that your textbooks are not worth much and you come to the point where you just want them out of your sight, you can always donate them to nonprofits or local libraries. It’s also worthwhile to check out any social-media pages related to your school or community that may possess an interest in collecting books at the end of the school year. Other students may be taking summer courses or already preparing for next year; don’t be afraid to reach out to fellow students to see if they want to buy textbooks from you.
Whatever you do, don’t throw your books away or throw them into a bonfire. There’s no need to set books ablaze (no matter how horrible CHEM 203 was) when there a plenty of people and places who will happily adopt them. Above all, if you are sick of dealing with the textbook shuffle every year, try looking into ebooks for future classes.
Sort your school supplies
Flash back to the beginning of the school year when school shopping served as your retail therapy to the end of summer sadness. You convinced yourself that it was absolutely crucial to buy every highlighter color in the rainbow, an excessive amount of sticky notes, and a plethora mechanical pencils. Approaching the end of the year, you realize you’ve barely touched these things and are left with a pile of unused office supplies that have become way too comfortable in your junk drawers. Now, most of these things are useful and may be used in the future, but determine what those things are exactly. If you know that you will never use that three-hole-punch ever again, pass it along to someone who will.
Ask your roommates, classmates, or teachers if they need or want anything. Then, extend your offer to people around campus or, again, those non-profit organizations. After-school programs, preschools, and even summer camps are prime candidates to hand off your school supplies, because they usually go through that stuff very quickly.
Recycle old paperwork
Don’t be a hoarder. If you know that you will never read or need old papers ever again—just toss them. There’s no use of holding on to things for nostalgia’s sake. In reality, they are just contributing to the clutter. Ask around if anyone you know may want your materials for their own use, like if they’re going to take that class (no cheating, though!). However, if your notes are illegible and sloppy, it may be best to just feed them to the recycling bin.
You could also check out the arts department to see if they need any scrap paper for random projects. Who knows? You may just stumble across a student looking for scrap paper to use in an end-of-the-year project.
Clean up your space
Now may be a good time to ask yourself, “When was the last time I thoroughly cleaned my room?” I’m talking about a solid vacuum and dusting session. If you’re prone to allergies or asthma attacks when spring rolls around, don’t assume pollen is the only culprit. Pet dander and dust are powerful triggers for asthma and can negatively affect your longterm health if you don’t take the right precautions.
Cleaning your physical space will also help cleanse your headspace as well. Organizing your space grants you more room to breathe and encourages productivity. Take the time to place things in storage rather than just throwing them in the back of your closet. Taking that extra step to make your space functional will ultimately save you time and energy in the long run.
Clean out your closet
We all have that one piece of clothing we’ve been holding on to forever—you’re convinced you’ll wear it next season this time, or The Great Gatsby-themed brunch that’ll totally, definitely happen (no and no). If this sounds familiar, it’s time to just let it all go. If your clothes are in good condition, there may be a chance to sell them for some cash. Stores like Plato’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange will often buy back clothes and give you cash or store credit depending on what they accept. Online shops such as Poshmark and eBay are also options to sell clothes. However, it is important to note that just like textbooks, you probably won’t get back the money you initially spent on the item—because that’s just the way the Gatsby-scone crumbles.
You always have the option to donate clothes to Goodwill or a local help center. Again, search for opportunities around campus for end-of-the-year clothing drives or student-run flea markets or fundraisers that could present an easy drop-off opportunity for your items. If all else fails, ask your friends if they want to dig through your giveaway pile before dropping it in a local donation box.
Share your food
Perhaps you had a Martha Stewart moment and bought an ambitious amount of canned goods to try a new recipe, but never found time to actually execute it. Now, you’re left with an array of untouched food crowding your shelves or slowly expiring in your freezer. Getting rid of old food is vital for a successful clean-up.
First, determine what food has expired and trash it. If you have an abundance of nonperishable food items, look for public drop-off locations where you can take your goods. Food banks are an ideal resource because they collect and store foods that are then distributed to local food pantries, charities, and meal programs. You can find a local warehouse at Feeding America’s website, which includes a directory of food-bank networks. Check out local churches, schools, and shelters that may be conducting food drives that would happily welcome your donations.
If you realize that you have a bunch of food that is perishable and is about to go to waste, consider hosting a potluck for your friends or roommates. They probably need to get rid of their food just as much as you do and voilà, you’re on your way to a fun, social gathering.
Cleanse your mind and spirit
While we’ve been emphasizing physical cleaning efforts, it’s also important to note that spring cleaning should be extended to the mind, body, and spirit. We are essentially caterpillars turning into butterflies waking up from a long winter’s nap. The winter months can be a trying time and the transition into spring calls for some self-care and reflection.
Find some quiet time to meditate, journal, or just check-in with yourself to determine how you feel and what you would like to accomplish this season. Consider taking some time to treat yourself to a new haircut or a new book. With warmer weather and longer days, spring is a great time to adopt some new hobbies or interests. The goal is to purge yourself of the emotional and physical plagues you may be carrying from the winter and embrace the optimism of a new chapter.
With exams right around the corner, spring cleaning is a great way to get organized and create a productive space before finals week. If it all feels too overwhelming, try starting with some smaller tasks and tackle the bigger projects once you feel motivated. If you don’t think you’ll ever feel motivated enough, try recruiting your friends or roommates to join the clean-up effort. Overall, we hope that our spring-cleaning suggestions will help you to feel fresh and inspired as you wrap up the semester.
(All images via Unsplash.com)