Spring has almost sprung which means that it’s almost time to shed the dust, grime and cobwebs your home has collected over the winter months. That’s right, folks! It’s almost time for Spring Cleaning! Can you tell I’m excited? Sure, tidying up can be therapeutic but this is also a great time to start fresh. Maybe it’s been a rough few months. Maybe the new year is off to a rocky start. Whatever the case, it will feel good to cleanse ourselves of that layer of stagnant energy and breathe new life into our homes!
It’s an election year which means that there’s a lot of emotion floating around in the air. Combine that with the weird weather and the stress of our regular, daily lives and you’ve found the reason why so many people seem to be in a funk right now. What better way to combat this than to get rid of what we no longer need physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Most people will agree that, while some thrive in chaos, we tend to feel happier, clearer and more productive when we are not surrounded by clutter. If you are interested in reading a few interesting articles on the subject, head over to Psychology Today, Life Hacker and Fast Company. Otherwise, let’s talk about how we can get ready for a new season in our lives.
How to Begin
Depending on how much you need to purge or organize, just getting started can seem overwhelming. It takes a lot of motivation to start a project like this but it’s entirely worth it. To help you get started, we’ve put together the March 2016 Declutter Challenge! We will be updating our own progress throughout the month and can’t wait to hear about yours!
Identify Problem Areas
Make a list of the rooms that need your attention (and, yes, it could be ALL of them!) and put them in order of EASIEST to MOST DIFFICULT. Unless you are absolutely sure of your methods and commitment, you probably shouldn’t start with the most difficult room. Once you’ve cleared a few easier areas, you will feel more comfortable, confident and committed to the process.
One Room at a Time
You will probably exhaust yourself if you try to tackle more than one space at a time. Instead, pick a room and stick with it until you are done and then, if you are feeling up to it, continue on to something else. The good news is that, if you live with others, they can be assigned their own areas so, at the end of the day, several rooms will have been completed! Either way, remember – slow and steady wins the race! Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed!
Sort Your Items
Create “Keep,” “Donate” “Sell” and “Garbage” piles/boxes/bags so that you know your options as you make your way through your belongings. I know some people actually just start with the garbage bag so that they eliminate trash from the beginning. It can really make the whole process a lot easier!
Set Clear Goals
Yes, you can have goals when it comes to decluttering your home. For example, when you identify the areas that need attention and put them in order, choose a date when you will have completed the decluttering for each room. Another example would be to set a goal for how many items you will donate or sell. Whatever you choose, make it personally meaningful so that it’s easier to accomplish.
How to Decide What to Keep
It can be difficult to know what you should keep, especially if we are particularly attached to our personal belongings. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you make your way through your items:
- When was this last used? If it’s been a year or more, you probably don’t need it.
- Is it a sentimental item? If so, is it a healthy connection? Don’t hang on to things that remind you of bad situations.
- Does it work? If not and it’s not easily fixable, you may want to let it go.
- Do you love it or just kind of like it?
At the end of the day, you could try a two-step approach for things that you are not sure about. For example, I put a bunch of iffy items in my garage for a year in a box instead of getting rid of them and, you know what? At the end of the year, I couldn’t even remember what was in the box? I just had someone take it away. I didn’t even look through it again. To this day, I have no idea what was in there and I learned a lot in that moment. We have so much stuff but only a few things are truly important to us.
There are several reasons why I suggest this. The first is so that you can get a real sense of the progress you’ve made. Who doesn’t love a good “before and after” shot? Do this for each room and be proud of yours accomplishments as you go along. It’s a huge deal!
Secondly, I suggest taking pictures of items that you want to remember but not necessarily keep. I’ve done this with favorite t-shirts, kid items and other things that would otherwise take up a decent amount of space simply so that I could dig them up every 10 years and say “oh remember this?!” Instead, the pictures are easy to look at without sacrificing room in my home. It’s a win-win situation.
There’s no time like the present. Take a look around your home and make the decision to lighten up. Shed the belongings that no longer serve you. Someone out there could use the things that you are letting collect dust! Remember – one person’s trash is another person’s treasure so share the wealth!
The best part is that, when you’ve completed this month’s challenge, you will be ready for our 2016 Spring Cleaning Challenge next month! We will be sharing how you can make many of your cleaning products using natural ingredients from your own cupboard to freshen up your home!
Ready, set, GO!