Have you tackled your spring cleaning yet? While most of us think of spring cleaning as doing the more deep cleaning that isn’t normally done during a routine housework, like cleaning the windows and baseboards, there is another important part: decluttering. After all, when your home is cluttered, your mind gets cluttered, and it’s hard to get even basic cleaning done when you feel mentally drained or overwhelmed. And think of all the time you lose just looking for items that got buried under papers or placed in the wrong pile of mail. While decluttering should be done regularly, for some families, it gets put on the back burner as more urgent things take precedence in our day-to-day lives. Here are some tips to get started on your decluttering endeavors.
- Have 4 boxes or garbage bags, and one laundry basket. One box/bag is for items you want to donate, one is for selling, one is for garbage, and the other for recycling. The laundry basket is for collecting misplaced items that you want to keep. Once you have finished going through that particular area of the house/room, return the item to its proper place (Clear the Clutter, n.d.).
- Start small. Don’t do an entire room all at once. Instead, break it down into manageable tasks. Start with one closet, drawer, shelf, or pile of papers (Innis, 2015). If something has your name or personal information on it, make sure to shred it.
- Give every item its own home. Don’t wonder which drawer/container/bin something might be in and instead, assign everything a home. For example, all business cards go in this folder in the office, all sunglasses go in the foyer table drawer on the left, all unread mail goes on the top slot of the paper holder, etc. All members of the household need to agree on this.
- If you are not sure what to do with an item, consider these questions (Clear the Clutter, n.d.):
When was the last time you used it?
Do you like it?
Is it broken? What is the cost of fixing it versus replacing it?
How many of this do you have?
Is there room to keep it? What will you get rid of in order to make room?
Is there a way to have electronic access to this (found online, scan it and save, etc)?
Clutter begets clutter. As you get your home more organized, maintain it by spending just a few minutes a day going through mail, receipts, kids’ homework, etc. Your home and mind will be glad you did.
Clear the Clutter. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://extension.illinois.edu/clutter/clearing.html
Innis, G. (2015). Declutter your life and improve your health. Retrieved from https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/declutter_your_life_and_improve_your_health