Monday, February 15, 2016

Starting the Spring DeCluttering

     So, that fuzzy little groundhog poked his head out earlier this month and we all know what that means, don't we?  It's time to start thinking about spring cleaning.  The question is... Is spring cleaning the ultimate evil chore that you dread each and every year?  Or is it just a simple opportunity to get rid of some unnecessary items around the house?  Whatever your answer, I promise that next year can definitely be a simpler year.  But, in order for that to happen, we need to get this year out of the way first.

     Before we clean anything, let's start with some spring de-cluttering and organizing.  After all, no matter what Phil the Groundhog says, it's still a good time to get a jump start on this part of our spring cleaning.  I use a very simple system to start de-cluttering my home.  First, you are going to need three boxes, bins or bags.  This is a very popular strategy when starting an organizing project and you may have tried it before.  One box is for things you want to keep, another is for things you want to sell or give away, and the third is for things to be thrown away.  Your strategy during the next few weeks is to move throughout your home attacking each room and filling the various boxes as you go. 

     If you are anything like me, you probably look around your home and wonder where to start this enormous project.  It can seem incredibly overwhelming.  That's okay.  Remember the old children's riddle...  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  You are going to de-clutter your home in the same way.  The way I choose my starting point is by trying to think of which cabinet or closet hasn't been opened in the longest time.  Chances are that by starting there, you will be able to load a lot into the sell / give away box or the throw away box.  After all, if it hasn't been opened much, then you probably don't use what's in there, right?

     Once you have completed this first spot, you will likely feel a sense of accomplishment for having rid yourself of some clutter and you will be ready to move on from there.  I generally continue by working my way through the room where that storage spot was and empty one more cabinet or closet each day.  When you are approaching a large storage closet, don't overwhelm yourself.  Remember to break it into bite sized pieces.  Maybe you want to approach a space like that one box at a time.  Another option would be one shelf at a time.  The trick is to keep moving.  Piece by piece, bite by bite, you will finish this task. 

     A great way to keep yourself motivated is to promise yourself a nice treat - to be purchased with the money you make from the garage sale that rids you of all this clutter.  One year, after an especially large garage sale that involved lots of work from the entire family, we used part of the earnings to enjoy a family dinner at a favorite restaurant.  The point is to give yourself a goal to work towards and something to look forward to at the end.

     And my final tip as you begin your de-cluttering journey...  Remember last year (if not, you will next year) when you were looking at that extra whatever it was in the kitchen drawer and couldn't decide whether or not to get rid of it?  Well, if you haven't used it since then, the answer is yes!  Let it go.  Some things are more difficult than others to let go.  I wrestle with my food dehydrator and ice cream maker every year.  They are still here.  I love them and use them, but is it enough to merit the amount of storage space that they use?  We each have to decide these things for ourselves.  Personally, I'm holding onto them in the hopes that someday there will be a lovely compact version on the market that I can enjoy without the guilt of the kitchen real estate that they occupy. 

     Good luck and happy sorting.  I'll be back in a few weeks with some great ideas to help organize all your newfound space.  And I am a big fan of the dollar store.  So, I'll be back with some great organizational ideas from there.  What can possibly beat cheap and super organized?!?!

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