Pandemic Purging

’Tis the Season for Spring Cleaning

Credit: Courtesy of Unsplash

Springtime is here! Springtime brings an explosion of flowers blooming and new growth and is a potent reminder that spring is the perfect time to refresh, rejuvenate … and PURGE. Deep cleaning the house, clearing out drawers, closets and spaces, and removing the excess stuff can feel very satisfying. It’s the ultimate time to follow natures lead and eliminate the old, get rid of the unused, unwanted, no-longer-care-about-this-crap-anymore type of things in your life. AKA: Spring Cleaning! After being cooped up for the last year, I think most people have an entirely different view of their things, their homes, and their lives. Robin Williams once said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” So let’s talk about how to purge. Skip ahead to the bottom to find local resources where you can drop items off once said purge is complete.

Four Purging Ideas and Thoughts

(1) Have a goal and plan. A SMART goal is one that is measurable and specific, so a good purge goal looks like: Get the garage workbench totally decluttered and cleaned out by May 1. An unsmart goal looks like this: Let’s clean out the garage. See the difference? Now that you have the goal, you can create a plan — this keeps you on track and helps avoid unnecessary bunny trails that can quickly derail you from your goal. A functional plan includes details and time, such as spend two hours every Saturday on garage purging and cleaning and mark this on the calendar to hold you accountable.

(2) Decide what “good enough” looks like. Purging, organizing, and spring cleaning can be endless, and for those with perfectionist-type personalities, “done” can feel like it never comes. This is embedded in your goal you set — decide from the get-go what clean enough, purged enough, or good enough looks like and stick with it. Follow the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule says that 20 percent of your effort produces 80 percent of your results, and this can be easily applied to cleaning your home. If you decide that 80 percent clean will be good enough, you can save a whole lot of time and effort by just stopping there and moving along. 

(3) Add in rewards and prizes. When crossing it off or checking the box doesn’t feel like quite enough of a zing, then consider rewards and motivation in whatever tickles your fancy. Ice cream date? Glass of wine? Massage when it’s all done? Having something special to look forward to post-purging is always a good idea, so be creative, write it down, and hold yourself accountable to it!

(4) Find a final resting place for your items. Very often we do a half-purge and then let items sit by the door that were intended to exit, and since we haven’t found the right time or place to haul them away, there they sit. And sit. And sit. When things sit around, we become desensitized to them, and they plunge real low on the priority list and sometimes, they even make their way back into the mix because we haven’t allowed the time or found the right spot to donate. Let me take that one for you… if you live in Santa Barbara, below is a list of the main donation spots for you. Yes, there are more, but these are the ones that are taking donations and have an easy drop-off system. Some even come to you and pick up! 

Local Resources for Donation

Alpha Thrift Stores:


Assistance League of Santa Barbara:

Catholic Charities:

Destined for Grace Thrift Store:

E-waste and larger household waste: 

Sara Caputo transforms how individuals, teams, and small businesses navigate workflow and increase workplace efficiency. Her work has been featured in Working Women, Success, and Forbes, as well as other national and regional publications. She can be reached at

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