Spring is here. So, fling open the windows and let in some fresh clean air into your rooms. But wait - there're cobwebs in the corners, streaks on the window, dirty winter boots in the hall, and more. What to do?
First things first.
Before you clean, declutter. When you declutter you clear the surfaces so that there are fewer objects to dust or break. Clear surfaces give you a great start to your spring cleaning.
DECLUTTERING is the first and most important step in the cleaning process. Decluttering involves getting rid of items in your home that you no longer need.
You know many of us put off fixing broken things. Or, we become used to having items around but they are never used.
Decluttering necessitates getting rid of them!
When you only have the things you want, need, and use in your home, it will feel much more comfortable. Also, cleaning efficiently is impossible until the decluttering process is completed, so don't skip this step.
Clearing the clutter makes cleaning so much easier.
Before starting to work make sure you have everything you need.
Bags to sort things that you need to remove through donations, trash and recycling.
Boxes for items that you need to return to another room or that belong to someone else. Markers, dust cloth, vacuum cleaner.
Start Easy and Start with the Places You Use the Most
1. Start easy.
Choose a small project (a drawer) for a small amount of time (10min.), so you can feel you are making progress. Use a timer and work until times up. Keep your water and phone close by.
Remove everything from your drawers. Determine whether or not each item belongs in this room or was used or worn in the previous year.
If the answer is no, either place it in a donation box/bag or move it to the appropriate room.
When you're ready to put the items back in the drawers, group similar items together in containers. Don't go rushing off to a container store. Try repurposing small gift boxes, shoe boxes, or plastic containers. You can also use shelf paper to make future drawer cleaning easier.
2. Start with places you use the most. Perhaps it's the living room. Select a section of the living room to work on. You could start by the entrance and then work in a clockwise direction until you reach the door again.
Two Great Places for Spring Decluttering are the Kitchen and the Family's Wardrobe
SPRING DECLUTTER THE KITCHEN
The kitchen is usually the busiest room in the house.
Even if you cook occasionally, you'll have a lot of foods stuff and cookware in there. Food, spices, and other products fight for kitchen space with dishes, cutlery, small appliances, and other objects.
Begin with the counters.
Kitchen counters are clutter hotspots for most families, so clearing them is a good place to begin.
These two simple steps will make a major impact:
1. Clear the counters of all but 3-5 essential things, such as a coffee maker or knife block. Clear everything from the counter and set them on the kitchen table to start.
2. Return items to their proper place on the counter or find a new home for them. This decluttering process could take 15 minutes or an hour, depending on how full your countertops are. Your kitchen will feel brand new after you complete this simple first step.
Go through your pantry
Pull out everything and group items by kind.
Remove whatever doesn’t belong in the pantry and return to its proper place.
Clean the pantry.
Check for old and expired food items. Put them in the trash or compost.
Donate unopened food you won't use to the local food bank.
Put foods back into the pantry in logical groupings.
Follow the above process for decluttering and organizing your fridge and freezer.
Kitchen cabinets, drawers, countertops and your pantry are a few of the places where clutter can accumulate. Schedule some time to declutter your kitchen on a weekend. You'll make cooking and cleaning so much easier.
SPRING DECLUTTER FAMILY'S WARDROBE
Decluttering your closet can usually be done in an afternoon. Decluttering a cluttered walk-in closet could take up to a week.
As you go through these steps to declutter your closet, keep your "Keep," "Donate," and "Storage" bins handy.
Begin decluttering your closet from the floor up.
Clear the debris in the bottom of the closet. You will have more room to work and you'll also feel like you've completed half of the closet.
Sort through winter things; donate anything that hasn't been worn this winter. Look for single mitts for textile recycling and too tight hats to donate.
Look through your closet to decide what you need, and love.
Check to see if they fit, need repairs or cleaning before you store them.
Remove anything that doesn’t fit, that you haven’t worn in a while or that you don’t like.
Sort these into donating and recycling fabrics and hand-me-downs.
Organize your closet by category then by colour. Keep like items with like items. For example, store all your belts in the same spot. Hang your dresses alongside each other. Keep your workout shirts separate from your pajamas. It will make it easier to find outfits.
** While you are decluttering you may find that your master closet has you stymied. There are a lot of decisions to make and tough questions to ask like: Will I ever fit into this again? If there were ever a time to pull out our Decluttering Checklist this is it! Here's the question that works best for me: If I were to see this in a store TODAY, would I buy it? It's amazing how often the answer is NO.
organizing tip: Hang all hangers backward. When you wear and return an item to the closet, put the hangar in forwards. If after 12 months some clothes are still hanging backward, it could be time to let go.
If you have children, store hand me downs in plastic totes.
Place in the closet of the intended recipient so you'll know where they are.
Clean all your winter shoes before putting them away for the rest of the year.
If you have tall boots, use inserts to prevent bending or breaking of the ankles and leather.
Sort through the dresser. Put worn underwear in textile recycling.
Include dividers in your drawers
Create a "sock lost and found" in the laundry room for socks looking for their mates.
Of course, there's always more to declutter - If you still have Fall or Christmas ornaments out now is the time to edit. Put what's left away. Store them correctly to have them in good shape when the season comes around again.
It is also time to get ready for taxes. Organize your papers. Review your files and discard anything you don't need to keep from previous years.
Finally, why not breathe easier. When you declutter it's easier to clean and dust. You'll find things more easily. You will be less distracted by visual clutter. You'll feel better, lighter when you enter your clean clutter-free room.
If clutter is getting in the way of your peace of mind, give us a call.
We are Brad and Cathy Borg; siblings and professional home organizers serving the Greater Toronto Area.