Declutter Your Home for Spring
Springtime goes hand-in-hand with spring cleaning because it’s the perfect time for a fresh start; a ‘reawakening’ of your home after a long dreary winter. Spring is also a great time to get on top of that clutter or "STUFF" that has accumulated over those dark months. For many of us, the concept of cleaning, decluttering and organizing can be overwhelming, but let me tell you, the benefits are so worth it! Did you know, access clutter causes access stress?
When you think of clutter, I bet you picture a messy home - I know I do. But clutter isn't always stuff that is out in the open. It's the stuff that is is crammed in your cabinets, in your junk drawers and shoved away. We have stuff around our homes because we haven’t decided where to put them, and we have clutter in our lives because we haven’t taken control and decided what is and isn’t important to us. When we don’t make decisions – we end up with access STUFF in our lives.
The relationship between a clean house and health is one that should be important to everyone. Cleaning and organizing even for just 20 minutes a day goes a long way to help us feel better about ourselves. I personally LOVE to throw things away. I don't get overly attached to objects, but I do like to shop and so I often accumulate more than I need and end up with duplicate items.... so that is one thing I have learned to be more intentional about in my personal decluttering journey.
My thought process for having and maintaining an organized stress free home is this 1. get rid of access stuff so you can 2. organize the things you need and 3. have a clean slate to maintain. So let us dive deeper into the 3 categories of how to eliminate clutter in your home!
The easiest way to eliminate clutter:
Let Go - let go of anything that you don’t use / love
Designate a Place for Everything- find a home for all of The rest
Keep Tidy - make a habit of regular tidying
1. LET GO
If you want to feel free of clutter for good, the first step is to let go!
In Marie Kondo's book “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” she encourages people to focus on what they want to keep instead of what they want to get rid of. She has one very clear criteria – “Does it spark joy?” Her recommendation is that the things we keep we should enjoy, they are things that should make us happy, and thus, the only things that stay in our house (for the most part) are the things that “spark joy.”
As difficult as it is to give up sentimentAl items, you shouldn't allow them to clutter your home and become a stressor in your life. So how does one learn how to let go?
Determine What’s Worth Keeping
Ask yourself: What about this item am I really sentimental about? Most likely it’s not the object itself but its association with a person, place, or time. Know that getting rid of that object doesn't mean you are eliminating a memory. However, if you truly love the object itself, then it’s not clutter and likely worth keeping.
Don’t Let Gifts Become Burdens
Many people hold on to gifts because they imagine the giver will expect to see them displayed or used when they visit. In reality, the giver might not actually expect that. And even if they do, that expectation isn’t fair. A gift is yours to do with as you please. So if you want to give it away to avoid it cluttering your space, that's your prerogative.
Don't let guilt run the show
People often keep items because they feel guilty about letting it go. Guilt is an entirely unhelpful emotion when it comes to decluttering. Try not to give into those feelings of guilt when evaluating sentimental clutter. Instead, objectively evaluate whether something is worth it to you to keep.
Pass On Heirlooms
If you received a family heirloom, don't feel obligated to keep it if you don't like it. Your clutter might be a relative's treasure. So before you get rid of an unwanted inherited object or stash it in storage, ask around to find out whether someone else in the family would love to have it.
The Categories for Conquering Clutter
Find four boxes and label them with these categories:
Trash: This box includes any items that you do not need or want, but is not worth donating or selling. Damaged and broken items should be included in the trash if they are not worth someone buying it ands repairing it.
Give away/sell: Here is your chance to be generous. Think about the uses someone else might get out of the items vs. the use it gets in your home buried in cabinets or closets. Also, consider the financial benefits of selling your stuff at a garage sale.
Storage: Put items in this box that you cannot part with but do not need on a regular basis. Make an inventory of the items as you box them. Group similar items together. Remember, one good way to clean out closets is to store out of season clothing.
Put away: This should be your smallest category. These are items that you use on a regular basis. Monitor yourself by determining if you have a place for each item. If the items in this box will not fit into your home without cluttering an area up, reassess if you really need them. If you do need these essentials, try to come up with a storage solution that fits into your home.
2. EVERYTHING HAS A HOME
When everything you own has a “home,” there’s never a question about where you put it. If an item is forever “homeless,” consider if you need it in your life.
Keep things you use more often: front and center
Keep like with like
Keep things you use less often: high up, low down and behind other things
Use small boxes to maximize storage in drawers and on shelves
Make things easy to put away
Label where everything goes
Horizontal surfaces. Some people really like the rule of 3 - no more than three items per surface.
Vertical surfaces - use Command hooks, slim spice shelves and peg boards on vertical surfaces to maximize storage space
Add bookshelves inside of closets and storage areas to maximize space
3. ALWAYS BE TIDYING
Put items away after you use th‘em
Clean up a little bit every day
Make your bed when you get up
Empty your sink and dishwasher every morning
Don’t leave trash around
Clear out clutter regularly
Set a timer
When you only have a limited amount of time to get stuff done, set a timer and prioritize the rooms in your house. Dedicate a set period to each area, maybe 10 mins for the living room, 15 mins for the kitchen, 5 mins for the hallway and so on. I love listening to an audiobook or podcast while I tidy, but perhaps you prefer music!
Come up with an order to tidy in
This will totally help to keep you focused and build momentum to get the job done!
1 – Make bed
2 – Clothes
3 – Toys
4 – Dishes
5 – Rubbish / recycling
6 – Anything that has a logical, labelled home
7 – Anything without a home goes into the dump drawer
8 – Straighten up
I hope these strategies help on your decluttering journey! The relationship between a clean house and health is so important and every little step towards achieving this goal can help. Feel free to reach out when considering your next home design plans!