Spring cleaning guide for beginners

The balcony turned into a storage unit for sports equipment bought in a sudden fit-ambition. The basement, which can only be entered sideways and to find anything, you need a treasure map. Boxes full of unidentified content, all we know about is that it’s heavy. And those wretched upper shelves of the cabinets, bravely accepting anything that got in the way in the lower ones. Sounds familiar?

Each year, with the first warm days, comes time for spring cleaning. Spring is a good time to do a little “clean your conscience” (pun intended) and considers which of the things lying around the house we really need.

According to the motto of Japanese housekeeping guru Marie Kondo: “When you put your house in order, you can start really living.”  Often the burning need to put our homes and lives in order falls on us completely out of the blue.  Then, as soon as possible, we want to get rid of unnecessary things and enjoy the mythical ORDER, so we start chaotically cleaning our apartments.

As a result of this spring-mass mobilisation, housing estate garbage cans turn into extraordinary Museums of Unwanted Objects.  According to the survey carried out by trojmiasto.pl, as much as 23% of us throw unnecessary things into the garbage. And yet, what is trash to one person, may turn out to be a real treasure to another! That is why Gdańsk City Hall is conducting a campaign with the slogan “You don’t need it?  Don’t throw it away, pass it on!”, which promotes alternative methods of disposing of unwanted items.  As Director of the Department of Public Utilities, Piotr Kryszewski, says “Buy – use – throw away is the worst path we can take when faced with the challenges of the 21st century.”

Gdańsk Communal Services has come up with an initiative that will help change the approach of Gdańsk residents and make their lives easier at the same time. Since the 1st of January this year, the company collects large electro-waste (min. 20 kg) directly from the residents. There is one condition – the equipment must be complete.  All you need to do is report the need for pickup by phone or email.  All contact details can be found at guk.gda.pl.

In addition, new containers for smaller electro-waste are regularly added throughout Pomerania. In Gdansk alone, as many as 70 of them will appear on the streets shortly. There are many ways to make room in your house without filling up your dumpster.  As it turns out, Pomerania residents are extremely creative in this regard!

Facebook groups

The first method is ideal for those who like doing things without breaking a sweat. You don’t even have to get up off the couch to get rid of unnecessary stuff through Facebook’s local zero-waste groups. Well, unless the coach is the thing you want to give away. Numerous groups of this type are active in Pomerania:

It is worth checking if there is a group dedicated to this type of exchange in your area. By sharing unnecessary items with people who live nearby, you don’t have to worry about shipping items.  In fact, most of the time you don’t even have to disassemble and take out the things you want to get rid of by yourself. The recipient takes charge of the collection and transportation. This way is not only is more eco-friendly but also more convenient than throwing stuff in the trash.

Do some charity

Another great way to get rid of unwanted items is to donate them to a Charity Shop that will sell them, and spend the money on charitable activities. By donating items to the Charity Shop, you will gain extra space in your home. You will also help those in need. However, while donating, you have to be very careful not to buy unnecessary things in return!

 You can find the following charity shops in Tricity:

  •   LukLuk – Aleja Niepodległości 754 A, Sopot
  •   Z dobrej ręki – Wolności 11, Gdańsk
  •   Punkt Charytatywny Dary – de Gaulle’a 13, Gdańsk
  •   Burasek –  Abrahama 6, Gdynia
  •   Z głębokiej szuflady – Świętojańska 36, Gdynia

While on the subject of helping by giving back, do you find yourself shopping too much for holidays or social gatherings and then throwing the food away? What to do with the food supplies lingering in the pantry, kitchen cabinets or refrigerator? Pomerania found a way to deal with that issue! Excess food can be placed in one of the Community Refrigerators.

You can leave there both products necessary for the preparation of meals, as well as ready meals. Food has to be packed and labelled: there should be information about the package content, date of preparation and/or expiration. Detailed rules for the use of refrigerators are described in the regulations posted on them. Social Fridges can be found in Gdańsk at the following address:

  •   ul. Opata Jacka Rybińskiego 10
  •   ul. Myśliwska 25
  •   ul. Hynka 73
  •   ul. Mickiewicza 11

And also in Gdynia at:

· płk. Dąbka 207

Golden rules of cleaning

Once we know where to donate the things we no longer need, we are left with one more difficult question: how to choose them?  How do we decide whether we should keep the item or should it disappear from our house?

This is where the aforementioned Marie Kondo, a world authority on housekeeping, comes to the rescue. In her best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” Kondo formulated few golden rules:

  1. Clean it once and clean it well. Divide your planned cleanup into steps, and then carry them out methodically. 
  2. While ordering your stuff, group them by category not by location. So organize together clothes, books, flowers and not – living room, bathroom, kitchen etc.
  3. Treat your belongings with respect. Don’t pile them up, don’t let them get crumpled or stained, quickly repair or throw out what’s damaged.
  4. Get rid of things that don’t bring you joy.  The main reason for keeping an item in your home should be its functionality, sentimental or decorative value.  Items that do not meet any of these criteria should simply be disposed of. 
  5. Clean your house by yourself and alone. This way, the decision of whether to leave something or throw it away will be an expression of your will, not someone else’s. 
  6. Designate a place for each thing. A logically organized space is a prerequisite for keeping your home in order.
  7. Throw away first, then organise what is left.

Now that you know the theory of cleaning and ways  of getting rid of things so they can still serve someone, the only thing left to do is to take advantage of the burst of energy caused by the spring sun and get down to work!

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