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Spring Cleaning for A Cause

Glad To Give

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Most of my friends/family/staff/mailman know that there are two “Emilys” – The one that hoards and the one that purges (click through to see such purging). Trust me, you WANT to be friends with “Purging Emily.” “Purging Emily” gives away anything to anyone, within a short physical distance to her/me – including the guy that was repairing our roof, the FedEx dude, and everyone who works for me.

So this year for my spring cleaning I partnered with Glad, and their #GladToGive campaign for my purging habit, because all of my lightly used goods go to charity – and the most convenient part? They come pick it up from you. And you want to know the BEST part? It all goes to Habitat for Humanity, OR if you have a charity in your community that you want to donate to, you simply go on the site www.gladtogive.com and put in the organization’s name and they can add it. It’s a WIN WIN WIN.

Talk about winning, enter the sweepstakes while you are at it. Take a photo of what you are donating, and share it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #gladtogive AND #sweepstakes. You could win a copy of my book, a gift card to Target, and a lot of Glad product. OK. Tips. You want tips, I got tips.

Now that you know what to do with your items and how to give them to a good cause, here is how you determine what to donate versus what to keep.

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I’ve said this a million times but in case you missed those posts – everything in your house needs to be one of three things: sentimental, functional, or beautiful. If you have a small house or not a lot of storage then try to have everything be 2 of those things. This means that random canister in your kitchen that doesn’t have a lid and is just kinda plastic and cheap? That has to go. You have to ask yourself WHY about everything you own and much like that Japanese book “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” that even my cats have read, everything you own should spark a bit of joy.

Speaking of books, lets start with books:

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1. BOOKS: Throw away any books that you a.) won’t read/look at again, b.) won’t share with a friend, and c.) holds no sentimental value. While the “Hunger Games” series brought me joy the first time, there will not be a second, so it is time to let someone else enjoy those by donating. Toss it in the bag.

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2. TEXTILES: For textiles get rid of any pillow inserts that you wouldn’t give to a guest, any mismatched towels, and keep one backup of set of sheets per bed but get rid of the rest. If it has been in your linen closet unused for a year it is time for it to go unless it is something sentimental that you are keeping to pass along to someone special.

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I have hoarded these vintage plaid blankets for years – saving them for the perfect Instagrammable picnic. But the fact is they are itchy and not that cute (and they certainly aren’t sentimental) so therefore, OUT.

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3. HOME DECOR- Accessories and tabletop Goods: Same rules apply – if you don’t use it, it doesn’t hold any meaning for you, and it’s not beautiful, then chuck that cheesecake pan and that jello mold.

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Quick tips – individual mugs are never fun to see in your cabinets (which is hilarious for ME to say because I have one particular mug that is MINE, I love, and I would be so incredibly grateful for anyone that could lead me to the plain version of them so I could buy 12 of them for our cupboards. The lip is so perfectly thin yet durable, it holds so much, and keeps it hot).

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Duplicates are also, obviously not necessary. Most of you might not have doubles of things like I do (leftover from shoots normally), but if you do, donate them. I had 5 of those candle pillars in the middle so I decided to keep three and donate two.

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4. TECH: We all have too much tech which we don’t play with or listen to anymore. Free that tech and let someone else enjoy it while it is still relevant. You won’t use it, you don’t even know where the chords are. Donate it and make it somebody else’s project.

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5. TOYS: Here are my rules for toys: Anything that needs multiple parts to play with, and you only have some of the parts should be gone. Anything that takes up a lot of space or something your child has a very similar version of should be gone. Anything unsentimental and bulky should be gone. Keep only what they love, or what you love. It’s that simple.

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Charlie loves none of those things above (the books/truck are duplicates) and neither do I. Time to move on (and out). There are plenty of children that will get use out of these toys and give them much more love than you do when they sit in your cupboard. Speaking of, my new credenza has worked wonders in helping to keep me organized and to keep the clutter at bay. I didn’t have room for a unit that had doors that opened so this one has been just the right fit. (pun intended)

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6. CLOTHES: These pretty little guys are one of the hardest things for most people to part with, and yet the most liberating. We often find ourselves holding on to them for YEARS thinking they will either come back into style, we will either fit in them again, or we will have just the right occasion for that perfect peacoat.

Here are some quick clothing tips:

1. Keep anything high quality/designer but slightly out of style – they will come back at some point so it might be worth the hoard. If its cheap and dated, then feel free to donate – it probably wont hold up too well even if it does come back into style.

2. Keep some skinny clothes, but chuck the fantasy ones.  I like how im assuming all of you have piles of skinny jeans. Be realistic. I’ll keep some that are a bit snug but the fantasy clothes from when I was a size 2 are less likely to happen or worst case scenario it does happen and I have to buy a new wardrobe. How terrible.  Glad Donate Charity Emily Henderson Spring Cleaning 20

3. I constantly find myself buying the same staple pieces over and over which leads to my closet being filled with 10 identical chambray shirts, a plethora of plaid, and a enough navy lady blazers to clothe an entire news channel. Rather than going through your clothes one by one in the closet pull out all similar items and start placing them in piles. This will help you sift through what needs to go and what can stay.

4. Here are a few tips: chuck any clothes that are damaged, have stains, don’t fit (or will never fit), or that you haven’t worn in a year make them all good candidates for the donate pile.

5. Donate the clothes you never opt for. I have 14 chambray shirts. I love a good chambray shirt. There are 3 that I never ever opt for.

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7. KIDS CLOTHES: It’s the same rules, just for your kids clothes. The main exception to this is, if you have hand me downs that will work for your next kid and you know that they will wear them or they are sentimental and have been passed down then you can keep them. But also if you got something at a shower that you don’t think is your child’s style (read: your style) don’t just hang on to it, let someone else enjoy it.     Glad Donate Charity Emily Henderson Spring Cleaning 21

She’s all “keep, keep, donate, keep”. She was a big fan of keeping the onesies, but not such a big fan of the vintage shoes I had been hoarding for her tiny little feet to grow into.

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8. Keep anything that has heirloom potential. If you have some kids clothes that are really special or exceptionally high quality, or maybe you get a big smile on your face every time you see it, keep them. I received a few gifts (that cashmere onesie from Marie Chantal) and have purchased some things that despite her growing out of I’m not ready to let go of.

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Those teeny tiny white leather shoes are quite possibly the least comfortable and probably damaging shoes ever. No child will ever wear them. But I can’t let go. Keep the special pieces and pass them on to your children’s, children. They’ll be like ‘Crazy NANA Em gave me some garbage because she is a hoarder’.

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Purging is hard and stressful (I know), but knowing that what you are giving up and donating it all to a good cause makes it a tad bit easier. Thanks to Glad for providing such a seamless and selfless way for us to donate. Less work for you, more good for others. Don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes while you are at it. Take a photo of what you are donating, and share it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #GladToGive AND #Sweepstakes. You could win a copy of my book, a gift card to Target, and a lot of Glad product.

Now get out there and purge… hoarding has never been a good look for anyone or their houses.

***Photography by Tessa Neustadt, Hair and Makeup by Danielle Walch

*This post was in partnership with Glad for their GladToGive campaign but all words, ideas and opinions are my own. 

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  1. Perfect timing. I have been internally debating for weeks whether to have a garage sale or donate all our non-joy-sparking castoffs (many, many bags full…sigh). This just made my decision for me. Thanks, Emily — you rock!

  2. I spy with my little eye… a new headboard!!

    1. I was so excited to see the headboard too!!!

  3. Remind me to fly down to LA and search frantically to find Emily’s discarded books and items 😉

    This was a good reminder that I need to go through my closet and get rid of most of it. True in the near future I should be able to fit into all my clothes but some how I don’t think all the clothes from 7 years ago will still be age appropriate. Might as well donate them to someone who will appreciate them.

  4. If only I lived in LA, I would be happy to take all those household items off your hands. I can only dream of what your local Goodwill looks like.

  5. I miss the flea

    1. I’m going to do it again. I SWEAR. We have a ton of stuff shot that need to be uploaded, etc. Hopefully by monday!

      1. I’m so happy. I love your flea!

  6. I wish you could have an intern list these items for us to buy in the flea/eBay and then donate the money to a charity. They’d be beloved and I’m sure you would really maximize your contribution to Habitat.

    1. I’m pretty sure that very little of the stuff she donated is vintage or worth very much, so I don’t think it makes sense for her to sell it on the curated flea if the only thing going for it is “once belonged to Emily Henderson.”

  7. I went nuts MarieKondoing (her name should become a verb like google at some point) and inadvertently through out all my winter ski stuff — oops. That’s the only problem with purging, you can forget it’s a drought and get rid of stuff you’ll need later…

    Damn you have PERFECT legs, imho.

  8. Are you donating that adorable piano??? All, just keep in mind when sifting through toys that stuffed animals are unacceptable at a lot of charities for donation due to germs, bed bugs, etc that could travel with them.
    I don’t think your Charlie’s stuffies have bedbugs, Em, for the record.

    1. Ha. Nope. I got that at the flea market and while its painful on my ears I LOVE how it looks.

    2. Some do, some don’t. With the same logic, they shouldn’t accept any bedding or clothing, yet they do. Many stuffed animals can be sanitized… BTW, anyone know what that thrift store smell is – do they wash the clothes, or is is some kind of spray they use?

  9. I’m kind of freaking out that you put all of those shoes on the bed. I hope they wrote never worn outside the house! Other than that, it’s a great post.

    1. Ha. Yea, that is kinda disgusting. Don’t worry, I’ve NEVER worn them outside the house. xx

    2. Also, those pics of Elliot are adorable!

  10. I’ve been pairing a lot and am living fairly minimal (without being strict or having bare shelves) but I have been stuck feeling like I want to purge more but didn’t know how anymore. Thank you for reminding me of the sentimental-functional-beautiful-strategy it will definitely give me a new starting point.

    The only thing I disagree about are the mugs. I say: keep what you love (and use) and single ones are great so you don’t get bored by the same types of mugs (which I do). I might also think so though, because what I love falls within a quite strict colour palette (white and white-blue) so it still looks similar enough (to me).

    1. With ya on the mugs! Our mugs tell stories, and early morning groggy time is the best time to remember them. And during coffee time with guests, they provide a great springboard for conversation. :-). Great post! I love love love purging!

  11. I don’t know about all that purging stuff, but if I was you, I’d be like — LOOK AT MY LEGS! *sigh* I really should wear heels one day.

  12. I need to do this over the weekend…badly. We are busting at the seems in this little apartment of ours.

  13. Can I have your hand-me-downs?!!

  14. I love that you turned the knoll tulip coffee table into a kids table. Now, you have to get charlie a don draper hat. 🙂 And that photo of your upholstered bed totally looks like you’re sleeping in the ocean. The unique choices you make really show your personality… Your house is so beautiful and fun to look at it. Thanks Emily!

  15. …but you gave away the FP record player?? AWW! I have one and I don’t even have kids.

  16. the shoes you’re wearing in this shoot– where are those gorgeous black pumps from??

  17. This article comes just in time for my spring cleaning and it will make it much easier. Thanks Emily!
    http://www.dorisleslieblau.com/blog/

  18. Emily, where do I enter the contest,and when does it end?

  19. That headboard is the best thing Ive seen, EVER. I try to do this every six months, I live in manhattan + three kids, shiz is getting tight!!!! Rather than MOVE, I need to edit. It sucks, but whatever! I love that Glad is doing this! So great!!!

    OK, so I need to know who makes that fabric! Been loving ur blog!

  20. The best thing on this post has to be that that cute little face with the big blue eyes giving us her best gummy smile. Absolutely adorable and priceless.

  21. But, but, I *might* use it someday. I could……with it.

  22. Oh man! I have been looking everywhere for that noisy colourful plastic xylophone in your toy throw out pile. A friend lent that exact same one to us for a bit & my baby LOVED it! It was my go to toy to pull out whenever I needed 10 minutes to do something. I hope it’s next baby owner loves it as much as mine did

  23. Love your black wooden bench in the entryway. Can you please give me some information and where I might be able to purchase.

    Many thanks.

  24. I’m sure everyone you know is sending this to you…but it’s too funny not to share 🙂

    http://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up-for-new-parents

    kb

  25. Really, you’re getting rid of Goodnight Moon? 🙂 I love that one!

  26. Great tips, thank you!

  27. Hey Emily. Your blog is awesome.

  28. Your legs are killer

  29. Talk about winning, enter the sweepstakes while you are at it. Take a photo of what you are donating, and share it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #gladtogive AND #sweepstakes. You could win a copy of my book, a gift card to Target, and a lot of Glad product. OK. Tips. You want tips, I got tips.