There’s something about beautiful weather that makes me want to clean. Regardless of its origins, spring cleaning has become a ritual in our house and probably yours. But last weekend, as I was tossing out my second bag of trash from the basement playroom, I realized there were other aspects of my life that could use a little “spring cleaning.” So I made a list of a few outside-the-box items that desperately needed some tending to:

1. The Medicine Cabinet

Unsure of what to do with old prescriptions, I’ve taken to stashing them in our bathroom closet—which now resembles a pharmaceutical landfill. I’ve read that dumping meds in the toilet or down the sink risks polluting are water, and I’ve never been comfortable with just tossing old pills and liquids in the trash. So what to do? The DEA hosts “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” in the spring and the fall; unfortunately, the spring one was April 26. Fortunately, Walgreens offers a mail-in drug take-back program yearlong.


2. The Linen Closet

When I graduated from high school, my mother gave me monogram towels. I won’t argue the bizarreness of getting 18-year-old towels instead of, say, a computer, but this was 20 years ago. Amazingly, I still have them—although, they’re a little worse for the wear.  Ok, a lot worse for the wear. Sentimentality aside, I realized it’s time to get rid of towels that are shredded or riddled with holes and turn them into rags. It’s also time to do a survey of my bed sheets and blankets. My new rule is going to be anything from the Bush administration on back needs to go in the trash or be put to good use.


3. The Tupperware

I suspect I’m not the only person with a drawer full of mismatched Tupperware bottoms and lids, or containers stained orange or warped by the microwave. Instead of sorting through them to find matching sets, I threw them all out. Every. Single. Piece. It was liberating. Then I went to Ikea and bought a new set.


4. The Sock Drawer

Much like my Tupperware containers, I have a basket of single socks forever in want of a mate. The loneliest of lonely hearts clubs, this collection of singletons dates back to before I had kids—the population exploded once my three little ones came along. I think it’s time I accept that they’re matches are never coming back, and toss the partnerless in the trash or put them to better use.


5. The Computer

At present, I have 8,382 emails in my Gmail inbox. I have 2,456 in my barely used Hotmail account. And 4,903 in my work email inbox. Hello, my name is Anne, and I’m a digital hoarder. The sad thing is, it’s not just my inbox that’s clogged. I have an overflowing “Downloads,” tons of useless images into iPhoto thanks to imports from “the Cloud,” and my Documents folder has become a waste bin for files I don’t want cluttering my desktop. (I also can’t remember the last time I “emptied the trash.”) Part of my digital hoarding is a time-management issue—I need to dedicate a day to get it all in order. The other issue is how easily distracted I become when I’m on the computer. Fortunately, during one of my aimless adventures on the Internet, I discovered this useful blog post on cleaning up your Mac as well as your PC.


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