Our Rural Roots

Tips to a (Temporarily) Tidy Life

Blogger Tiffany Dowell Lashmet says while she likes to declutter, she hates being wasteful. So, if something has more life left, she likes to donate. (LifestyleVisuals, Getty Images)

We've just entered spring, which means green grass, baby animals and one of my favorite times of the year -- spring cleaning. I wait for the first sunny day and open the windows, crank up the '90s country music and get to work trying to tidy up my life.

One of my favorite podcasters describes one decluttering approach as "big black trash bag energy." Pitching everything into a trash bag to get it out of the house may be efficient, but just the thought of it makes me sweat. I prefer to take the time to really think about what items I should keep and those with which I can part.

Instead, I go room by room and think about every item by asking a few hard questions. When was the last time I used/wore this item? Do I have multiples? Is the item broken or missing parts or pieces?

That lone yellow flannel chore glove with a hole in the thumb -- gone. Do I really need those well-worn barn boots that I've already replaced? Why am I keeping that lanyard and name tag from a farm meeting held three years ago?

If I decide an item can go, it heads to a "giveaway" pile or a "trash" pile. While I like to declutter, I hate being wasteful. So, if something has more life left, I like to donate. I have had luck making donations to homeless resource centers, women's shelters, the Salvation Army and local families who may be in need. One key here is to get the "giveaway" pile out of the house as soon as possible so those items do not make their way back into the house.

Decluttering my space is freeing and good for the soul. I embrace the concept of "progress not perfection," but even small progress helps my mood and outlook on a new season. Now comes the real chore -- tackling the barn.


Tiffany Dowell Lashmet juggles cleaning with family, farming, fairs, writing and a career in ag law from the Texas Panhandle. Follow her blog at https://alwaysafarmkid.com/…, on Instagram alwaysafarmkid and follow her on platform X @TiffDowell