Design of the Times – Springing into cleaning action

It’s that time of year! Spring is in the air and the sun is shining bright! Well, we know what that means – everything looks dusty! That sun shining in through the windows exposes all the layers of dull-light and winter living. It never fails. It jolts us all into spring cleaning action!

Spring cleaning means different things to different people. For some of us, it

means give things a good dusting, tuck away our winter clothes and call it done; well for others, it is all about going all out and turning the house upside down. Whichever way you go about it, the end result feels so good… like tulips on the counter of a decluttered kitchen.

For many, there is a rut that sometimes comes along with not only spring cleaning but any major house-gutting exercise: you want it done yesterday. Patience is a hard practice especially if it’s not already engrained in you. If you are that person, this will sound familiar: you want it all done now so you start gutting. You’re excited and committed. Three hours in and all the winter clothes from the master closet are in a huge pile. You’re happy with this start. You don’t have the tubs in from the garage yet, so you might as well start the front foyer now too, you know, to get everything ready for packing up and labelling. Hats, mitts and winter jackets are down. Wow! So much space! While you’re at it, before you head out to the garage to grab empty tubs, you start in on the kitchen cupboards. So many useless contraptions you never use and they’re taking up so much space! You get them out! While you’re in this zone, you convince yourself you were born to be a minimalist and now is your time! Ahhh, so many plans!

Golden hour hits. The sun starts to fade into the evening sky. You’re proud of your progress and feel accomplished. Then reality sets in: you have piles of ‘stuff’ everywhere and, even though your intentions were amazing, your bar may have been set too high. Ugh, you regret this exercise. But now it needs to be gone before sunup tomorrow because that’s a rough way to start the day. Your enthusiasm is gone. Everything gets thrown into tubs with minimal labelling since you’re running out of both time and motivation. This is the reality for so many people with the best of intentions, but without the knowledge of the best approach. If you master the approach, you’ve mastered the art of decluttering, whether it’s for spring cleaning, getting ready for Christmas, moving houses, or just organizing your life. Once you know the process, you’re good!

Different personalities handle situations in different ways. The above scenario is the ‘all-in, I got this’ mentality; the

people who possibly bite off more than they can chew (this is me!). Another personality type may see the future, and also feel the anxiety that goes along with what’s to come and says NOPE!

Decluttering and re-organization can seem daunting to many of us. Regardless of your personality or scenario, the approach is the same.

Steps to decluttering happiness!

Where to start?

Decluttering can be as manageable or as monumental as you make it.

It is important to start small and start early!

Sometimes it gets messy before it gets cleaned up and that is okay! When you know you’re going to be hitting the boxes in the near future, start moving items that belong elsewhere. Get everything to the area that it should be in.

Then when it’s go-time, pick a room to start in, and don’t move on until it’s completed.

Remember slow and steady wins the race!

Next, make three piles and yes you will need all three:

Pile #1: Keep – This pile is important, convenient, relevant, or items you can’t let go of (yet!)

Pile #2: Donate/Sell – This pile is filled with items that you know someone else can use. Let’s do our part for the earth and make our garbage pile as small as possible! Some of these items you don’t necessarily want to let go of but knowing that someone else will love it as much as you do makes it a bit easier to say bye!

Pile #3: Junk – Let’s do a dump run! It’s got to go! It doesn’t work or has no life left in it for someone else to enjoy. These items are generally not close to the heart, so let ‘er rip!

If you get in the zone and stick to this plan, you’ll be ahead in no time! Letting go is sometimes hard, but the clarity you feel at the end, when you’re lighter and more organized, goes unmatched!

It is important to stick to the plan: declutter first, then organize.

Once you have space freed up, you can easily figure out where all the remaining items go. Most importantly, don’t lose sight of the plan! Before you start, write it down. Go back to that check list and re-read it until it sticks.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
– Mark Twain

by Megan Callahan