Freshen up and get organized!
There’s all kinds of tips out there on the best products + methods for deep cleaning everything from your kitchen cupboards to your ceiling fans...and spring is a great time to do it! You can open the windows, let the sun shine in, and spend a Sunday “refreshing” your home… But, how can you keep that “just spring cleaned”-feel for longer? By giving equal attention to Spring Cleaning’s best friend, Declutter. The less “busy” the space, the easier it is to regularly dust, vacuum, and make sure cobwebs aren’t collecting behind things. The following are some of our favorite tricks! I hope they'll inspire you, as you tackle your space...
You don’t have to do everything at once! If you’re anything like me, the thought of trying to declutter your entire place in one fell swoop can seem like an overwhelming task...so overwhelming, in fact, that you decide it’s best not to start. So, pick one area to do first...and, even better, pick your favorite area! Whether it’s the sunroom where you enjoy your morning coffee, the bathroom where you get ready in the morning, or the bedroom where you hang out and read. Diving into your favorite room first will motivate you, since you’re emotionally invested in the space, and the end results will spur you on to tackle the next spot!
Remove anything that doesn’t bring you joy. Sounds weird? This KonMari method (www.konmari.com) is one of our favorite ways of deciding what to keep and what not to keep. So often we get caught up in the idea of something being practical...but does it make you happy? Does it bring you joy? Maybe it used to and it doesn’t anymore; maybe it never did, but you felt a responsibility to hold onto it? The question of joy is an easy one because the answer comes from the heart. So, start by going through the space, picking up each item and asking yourself: Does it spark joy? You won’t have to think about the answer; you’ll feel it.
Dig out some bags + boxes and mark them for donation, resale, or give away to friends. Then, fill them with the items that didn’t pass the “joy” test. There’s a Goodwill in just about every city; some charities (like Salvation Army and the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota) will even pick up your donations. There’s also resale. Just know that when it comes to getting money for your second-hand goods, they need to be in excellent condition and generally not more than a couple of years old… You can Google “consignment” or “resale” with your zip code, if you wish to bring them to a store. Or you might opt to sell your stuff online. Craigslist, OfferUp, and Facebook are popular sites where you can sell for free! Be sure to include good, clear photos of your items and dimensions.
After you’ve decluttered your favorite space, tackle the area that bugs you the most! Is it the junk drawer, the hall closet, the spice cabinet? Wherever you find yourself grumbling every time you have to interact with the area is the one that needs your attention. First, look at the space and decide what you want it to be. Maybe it’s a linen closet, but the cleaning supplies always seem to end up there. Would it be more practical for it to serve as both, linen and cleaning closet? Pull everything out and start sorting. You might think that it isn’t possible to do a “joy” test with linens and cleaning products, but I can honestly say that stain-free, white Turkish bath towels and Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena Multi-surface spray actually give me joy. So, yes, it’s possible. Once you have your joy pile, separate that into categories: like with like. Cleaning products together, linens together, outdoor toys together, etc. Does it make sense for each of these categories to live in this space, or would some of them make more sense somewhere else? (hint: I like to keep the swimming pool toys -which we use regularly- in a basket in the front hall closet, where we can easily grab them as we’re walking out) Once you’ve determined what should go back into the space, identify the organizational and storage pieces you need to keep it tidy. Hooks, bins, shelves- look at the space and look at your stuff- then, make a shopping list. Our favorite go-to places for baskets, shelves, racks, and hooks are Piccadilly Prairie and IKEA. But, make sure to take your measurements and needed quantities with you, so you’ll come home with exactly what you need! Then, install your goodies, and introduce your stuff to its new home.
Remember, decluttering takes time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much! Knock out your favorite and most-bothersome areas first, and then take a room here and a closet there as you have time. Begin to see the process as a cycle, where things of joy move into your home and those lacking joy move out...