It’s that time of year again!
Spring can mean a time to declutter and organize your home.
These words are often used interchangeably, but they have very different meanings. In fact, to successfully organize your home, it’s important that you declutter before you organize.
Decluttering Your Home
What is clutter?
It may seem like a straightforward idea; the dictionary meaning of clutter is “a collection of things lying around in an untidy mess.” Based on that definition, you would think that decluttering would mean tidying up that mess. But as you’ll see, this concept is complex; clutter can be so much more than things lying around for people, and decluttering can involve so much more than just tidying up.
Clutter takes up physical space as well as mental space. Clutter can make us feel overwhelmed and even stuck. According to Psychology Today, clutter distracts us, bombards our minds, can create feelings of guilt and shame, and can inhibit creativity and productivity.
So why do we hang onto so much stuff when it can have such a negative effect on us?
Letting go can be difficult. Our “things” can hold strong sentimental value, and we can feel guilty about throwing things in the landfill.
So I recommend:
- Start slow. Focus on one area at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Ask yourself which room would you love to see organized first. What area of your home is causing you the most stress?
- Start with one room and develop a plan of action. Are you going to start with a closet? A drawer? An area of the floor?
- Go through your items and decide if you want to keep, donate, sell or put it in the garbage. Your goal should be to only keep what you really need and let the rest go.
- As you are going through the items, if you come across items that belong in another room, set them outside your room and put them away when you leave the room. Try and stay in the room as long as your can so you can get lots accomplished. If you have items that belong in anther room start to pile up, re-distribute them to the areas they belong and come back to the room you’re currently decluttering.
- Have supplies handy:
- black garbage bags for garbage (items that are worn out, broken etc.).
- clear garbage bags for donations (so it doesn’t get mixed up with the garbage and the donation centres can see what is in the bags).
- recycle bins for paper, glass or plastic.
If you find yourself having a difficult time deciding whether to keep an item or not, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Would I buy this item today?
- Have I used/wore this in the last year? Btw, I am not talking about clothes and other items that you haven’t worn in the last year because of Covid-19. Instead I am talking about items you haven’t used in the least year but could have.
- Is there a similar item that I can use instead?
- What is the worst thing that could happen if I let this go and I need it in the future?
By asking yourself these questions, it will help with your decision on whether to keep the items or not. Remember your goal is to let go of what you no longer need, create space and simplify your home.
Organizing Your Home
Organizing means creating a system for the things you kept from the decluttering process. This system aims to create space for everything you kept and allow you to find your items easily in the future.
When organizing, you want to:
- Create a Plan
- Figure out what’s working for you and what isn’t working for you. (e.g., the kitchen is not optimal for cooking because the prep area is too far from the fridge).
- Figure out how you want this space to serve you- what is its primary purpose? (for example, if you want the bedroom optimized for sleep, make sure it’s clutter-free, putting your brain in a state of rest and calm; or have your favourite candle or book on your nightstand to help you relax before bed.
- What tools do you need to organize the space where your items will live- hangers, storage containers etc. – remember they serve a function- it’s not just about how pretty the basket is, but will it do what it needs to do.
Want more organizing tips? Download “My 7 Top Organizing Tips to Get You Started!”
Decluttering and organizing can be overwhelming and at times it feels like a loss for people. But, it can also be therapeutic, like a cleanse or detox.
To be successful, take your time; don’t worry about having to do it all in one day and if you’re struggling, ask a loved one to help you or hire someone you trust to help you.
Contact us here if you’d like some help decluttering and organizing this Spring season.