14 April . 2020
It’s spring, and flowers are popping out of the ground and blossoms are on the trees. Everything feels new and fresh, and this is a great time to get your house feeling fresh too. One of the best (and cheapest!) ways to do that is by decluttering. Getting your house organized and cleaned out can help you start this beautiful season off right.
For a quick victory, start with the junk drawer. Everyone has one, wherever it lives, and it’s always crammed full of random odds and ends. Empty the whole thing, clean out the drawer well, and then take a look at what’s there. Some things make sense, like pens or rubber bands, but throw out things that are broken and try to find actual spaces for the other items that don’t really belong there. It can be a great way to start organizing a kitchen or office, since you’ll need to create real spaces for things to live. Since it’s a small space, clearing out the junk drawer is a relatively quick activity, and when you’re done, you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment that might help you to move to another item on your list!
Paper can take over our house if we’re not careful, so stop the spread by designating a spot for all incoming papers and mail. Make an “inbox” or tray and put all papers coming in the house immediately into the tray. Set a time each day (or each week, if that’s not likely to happen) dedicated to going through the inbox. It’s better to go through only part of the inbox and have spaces for everything (filing cabinet, outgoing mail, shredder) than to go through the whole thing and end up with multiple piles. You’d be surprised how much of it can go immediately into the trash!
Next, tackle the closets, which are often the resting place of everything we try to hide out of sight when company comes over. Make a spot for each item – if you’re not willing to make a spot for an item, think about whether you really need it. Avoid stacking things too high and make good use of shelf dividers to organize. One thing that can help with closet clutter is to have a trash can in the closet so that you can immediately dispose of anything you don’t want. If it’s a bedroom closet, make sure you have a laundry basket nearby if you can’t fit one in the closet, and have a regular system for dry cleaning or alterations. Once a season, do a once over of the closet for donations, consignment, or disposal. Sometimes it’s hard to get rid of something you don’t really have a place for – so create a “maybe” box for anything you can’t quite make your mind up about. Put the box in an out of the way place and set a reminder in your calendar to go through it in 6 months. Chances are you’ll have a clearer head about what should be done with the items, and you can dispose of or donate things you don’t want to keep.
In the bathroom, start with the medicine cabinet. Get rid of expired medications (safely – there are places to turn in medications, like the police station or pharmacies), throw out anything that looks dirty or that you’ll never use again, and get rid of anything that you just don’t like (yes, even that expensive cream). For that cluttered countertop, start by clearing everything off and tucking it away in bins or under the sink. What makes it back on to the counter in 3 days is what should be there all the time, and everything else can remain in storage. If you’re short on linen closet space, consider buying decorative baskets, and keeping extra towels rolled neatly in the baskets in the bathroom. It’s pretty, and it can also help keep you on top of the laundry since you can see when you’re running low!
If all of this seems like too much at once, start small. Each day, pick up 5 things and find places for them. After a week, you’ll definitely start to see the difference, and you’re developing a great new habit. Remember, just doing a few small things each day will soon create a clutter-free home, and you’ll be out of the winter blues and ready to start the new season!
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