Spring is the time to throw open the windows and doors, and breathe new life into your home. Lighten up this spring by ridding yourself of clutter, for real this time!
Clutter is anything you don’t need, use or love. Clutter clogs the gears of your life and keeps you from the things you really need, use and love. Clearing the clutter uncovers your treasure and lets you tread lightly through life. Follow these tips to de-clutter your living environment.
- Set aside an hour or two to discard, donate or store away items that are cluttering your space, including old newspapers and magazines, baby clothes, books, and Christmas decorations.
- Call the Salvation Army or other local charity to pick up items that you want to donate. Make this a monthly event.
- Pick a path of attack—clockwise, right-to-left, alphabetical. I always work clockwise (left-to-right) starting at the door of a room. This helps eliminate that “where do I begin?” moment.
- Collect three or more boxes, label them “Keep,” “Maybe” and “Go.” The Go box can be further subdivided into smaller categories like trash, donate, recycle, sell, etc. You get the picture. Sort the “Keeps” into logical categories; for example sort your closet by clothing type—dresses, skirts, pants and shirts, or perhaps by color.
- Purge all those clothing items you didn’t wear this winter. Items that did not make it out of your closet this year are even less likely to be worn next year. So let them go, and lighten up.
- Take your heavy blankets, comforters and coats to the dry cleaners and store them for the summer. Come fall, you will be so happy that you did.
- Assign everything a home; store similar items together and in proximity to where you regularly use them. Take advantage of the vertical space offered by shelves, backs of doors and cabinet shelf stackers, as much as possible, to store these items
- If you are the “keeper of other people’s stuff,” it is time to practice some tough love. Your grown son’s high school trophy collection, your daughter’s 13-year old wedding dress, or your ex-husband’s partially restored vintage car must all go. Call these family (or ex-family) members, give them a deadline for retrieval and start charging rent, or add the items to the donate pile if the deadline is not met.
- Purchase big ticket items wisely; for instance, invest in lawn furniture with weather resistant fabrics or a couch that does double duty as a guest bed. These items will stand the test of time.
Any movement towards less clutter is progress, so congratulate yourself for taking the plunge. We de-clutter for a variety of reasons, and they are all good—to save time and money, to live more simply, to teach our children good habits for life, to avoid being judged by our stuff rather than our relationships.
Take this opportunity to lighten up!