Each year I write about the benefits of spring cleaning and decluttering. Over the course of each year many of you, who have read the articles, tell me that you have the best intentions of clearing out your stuff, but somehow never manage to get it done.
This April is the perfect opportunity to get to projects around the home that we perhaps neglected in the past.
Here is what I suggest with cleaning and organizing: determine the areas you need to declutter – closets, attic, garage, bathrooms, kitchen, basement. Then, allocate the hours or minutes on your calendar. It may be several hours on the weekend or a 10-15 minute break while working from home.
For instance, you can start with something small, like a closet, and sort everything into five piles:
- Keep what needs to be accessible – and put it away
- Keep what doesn’t need to be accessible – and label and store it
- Throw any trash away
- Separate things to throw away that are too big for the trash
- Set aside things in trash bags that can serve as your donation pile
Once you have purged the clutter, boy, will you feel good! There are many benefits: decluttering reduces stress, improves your mood, and increases your energy. It will give you a sense of accomplishment, and you will stop thinking about all the stuff you have to go through! It’s also great to know that many of your items will be going to someone who can use them rather than simply taking them to the dump.
To STAY organized throughout the year, here are some of my favorite tips that I try to practice regularly to make life simpler throughout my house.
- Make things easy to put away: For instance, keeping your clothes’ hamper hidden away in a closet makes it tougher for you to put clothes away. However, if you keep it closed and without a lid, you’re more likely to put clothes away and not leave them out.
- Make clearing flat surfaces a daily routine: Dining room tables, kitchen counters, and entryway tables tend to be hot spots where things accumulate and pile up. Just think how often you place mail or other items you bring into your home in these places.
- Practice the one-in-one-out rule: If you come home after a big shopping spree, take a few minutes to pick items in your closet to either donate or throw out. For instance, if you just bought a new pair of jeans, why are you still keeping around that pair of jeans that don’t quite fit? The same can apply to kitchen appliances and tools.
- Consider wasted space: If you’re lacking storage space, think about using the space under beds as well as hanging from doors. For example, you can use an old drawer that you may have considered throwing out and stash it under your bed where you can then store a few items. There are also plenty of options for door racks to store items throughout your home.
- Prioritizing and access: When you organize, think about what things you use the most and what things you may only pull out a few times a year. You should make easier to pull from a shelf or drawer the things you need and use most often, whereas you can store higher up on a shelf the things you don’t use as much.
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