Spring Cleaning Tip: Declutter Like You're Moving Out

If you never got around to getting rid of 100 things in a weekend last month, maybe you're just starting your spring cleaning now. It can be a daunting task when you're taking stock of things that need to be organized, things that need to be given away, and things that nobody wants and should probably just go in the trash.

But where to start? Here's a tip: Pretend like you're moving out of your home.

The first four years that I lived in Los Angeles, I moved four different times. And each time, I always had at least a few Hefty bags full of items destined for the dumpster or Goodwill — clothes I outgrew (both in size and in style), pots and pans I no longer used, extra sheets and towels that just collected dust in the closet. These were items I didn't want to pack up, move across town, and unpack again.

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So, when it comes to deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, ask yourself: If you were making a major move this week, would you spend time or money to move that item?

And be hard on yourself here. Maybe you'd move your collection of New York Times bestsellers a few zipcodes away, but would you move it a few states away? That kind of question is easier to answer than trying to decide, "Do I really love it?" If you're willing to pay to ship it elsewhere, chances are, you can't truly part with it.

But if you realize you're just holding on to something because you can, maybe it's time to take a good look inside your garage and treat it like it's moving day. Hold a garage sale, post things to Craigslist, and you could make a few extra bucks off of stuff that's just taking up space in your home. Though you still might want to hang on to items you ordinarily wouldn't pay to ship later, it'll help you figure out where your priorities lie.

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