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How to get started on spring cleaning (and the sell, donate or recycle debate)

Green and yellow orchids at the Brattle Square Florist. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Green and yellow orchids at the Brattle Square Florist. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR's Saturday morning newsletter, The Weekender. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here

Spring is finally here.

This lovely period before the flowers begin to bloom and aggravate my allergies is one of my favorite parts of the year. I love the crisp, refreshing morning air and how the sun warms everything up as the hours pass on. The brighter days revitalize me, and the later sunsets bring golden hour to my apartment just in time for dinner. It’s no surprise that some cultures celebrate their new year in the spring; it really feels like life is beginning again during this season.

For many of us, springtime is for cleaning. Hate it or love it, the cleaning’s got to get done — but where to start? NPR’s Life Kit has a spring cleaning collection of eight episodes to help organize your approach.

A spring clean doesn’t look the same for all of us: Maybe you’re the type that always makes sure to dust and mop. In that case, Life Kit suggests shifting your attention to those hidden messes: Your fridge, your garage or those pesky kitchen cabinets. Taking on these “bite-size” tasks — or simply targeting one space that could use a little TLC — is a great way to kick off a bigger clean.

I try to deep clean once a month, so my version of “spring cleaning” often involves clearing out my closet (a terrifying ordeal for someone with as many clothes as I have). After emptying my wardrobe, I find sorting the items I don’t want into different piles to sell, donate and take for textile recycling helps with the “Wait, should I donate this?” debate I tend to get into when I come across an item that might be too worn or too expensive to give away.

Textile recycling is my favorite option of the three: Many of us have items that just aren’t qualified to donate to secondhand shops. Collect those unrepairable single socks, fabric scraps and eternally stained clothes and bring them to a Bay State Textiles drop box at a school or university near you. The pieces will then either be donated, turned into textiles for cleaning rags or shipped to fiber mills and recycled to make all-new clothes. Not only are you keeping clothes out of the landfill, you’ll be lightening the load in your closet. What better way to ring in springtime than doing a little favor for the planet?

P.S. — Warmer (but not that much warmer) weather has me itching to go outdoors and experience the world. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to get out of the house and appreciate the arts in Boston. The WBUR arts and culture desk’s 2023 spring arts guides provide all you need to make the most of the season — everything from new arts exhibits to concerts to invigorating spring books.

Sign up for the WBUR Weekender


Hanna Ali Associate Producer
Hanna Ali is an associate producer for newsletters at WBUR.



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