Dear Crabby, What Do You Think About Spring Cleaning?

Dear Crabby,

Every year my husband and I get into a big fight about spring cleaning. He wants to throw everything out, and I want to look through it all to make sure we can’t still use it somehow. We both hate that time of year because we never agree on how to go about it. Have you come up with anything that worked for you and the missus?

Sincerely, Patty Packrat

Dear Ms. Packrat,

Ah yes, the sweet memories of spring cleanup are still fresh in my mind. It was much worse when the kids were little and we had stuff for all different ages packed away. The missus wanted to keep everything because it was sentimental and reminded her of those baby days. I, on the other hand, wanted to be able to walk through my basement and into my workroom without running into anything. My solution was to toss or donate anything we hadn’t used in the last year. Of course, her argument was “what if we have more children and need this stuff?” So after we finalized that possibility, I went back to my toss or donate mode. She still resisted and claimed everything as a “keepsake!”  Then one day she got wise and decided to hit me where it really mattered. I came home and she had all my baseball cards and all my Elvis records out on the table. When I asked what they were all doing out of my closet, she replied that since I was in a clean out mood, she was going to donate all that stuff to Goodwill. My heart sank! I grabbed all of my prize possessions and vowed to never threaten to toss her “keepsakes” again.  So, to answer your question, no, I never found an easy solution to the differing opinions to cleaning out old stuff. I have heard people suggest that you only clean out your own stuff. For example, if you go through your closet the week after Christmas every year and donate everything you have not worn in the last year, you will keep your closet nice and trim. Just make sure you stop short of your spouse’s side of the room! The other helpful tip is to throw out old shoes. Everybody seems to want to keep old shoes after they buy the new pair. I have forced myself to get rid of the old shoes just so a large collection doesn’t pile up. That being said, I do not even broach the shoe topic with my wife – and I highly recommend the same for every other male on the planet!  So good luck, and let me know what you come up with.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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