Hello, Spring. The season brings longer days, warmer weather, new growth. Traditionally, it’s an inspirational time for renewal. Cleansing, purging and new beginnings are all associated with spring. Many folks like to take the opportunity to do a diet cleanse by eliminating certain foods and the desire to tidy and deep clean the home are on the to-do list.
When you eliminate clutter from your space, you will experience less stress, save time and money and will operate more efficiently in your home and office.
Personally, I tend to do purging and deep cleaning all year round. I can’t help myself. I am just wired that way. Once you get the hang of how liberating, peaceful and life transforming being organized is, you can’t help but want that buzz year ‘round.
But for those of you who need a good reason (i.e. excuse) to lighten the load or commit to all the tasks you’ve been putting off, Springtime is a wonderful time to clear the decks.
Since this is easily a several day or more endeavor, breaking it up into specific smaller committed sessions (that you put into your calendar as you would any appointment), will give you a sense of accomplishment as each one is ticked off your list.
Here are some ideas and tips to help support you.
First, have boxes and containers of various sizes, large plastic bags, tape, sharpie pens and paper handy. As you begin this process, have on hand various boxes and bags and label accordingly:
Recycle (papers, plastic, electronics, out of date medications, toxic waste, etc.)
Donate (may include passing onto friends and family members)
Keep but needs work; fixing, dry cleaning, assembly, etc.
Identify all the old electronics, broken appliances, old phone cords, chargers, batteries and anything else with wires, motors, etc. that are no longer useful and are laying around the house. Put in one area to be taken to recycling. (Keep your eyes open for charity recycling days.) Or gather some friends together who are downsizing as well and make a dump and lunch date.
Commit to releasing at least a few items in each of the following sections. The goal is to get to loving, using and appreciating everything in your home.
Into the closet
Divide the clothes closet into sections. Work from left to right or right to left. Scan the clothing and see what you can let go of immediately. There are usually big obvious pieces we know we no longer want. Start with your coats and jackets. What didn’t you wear this past season? Are any of the items out of fashion, torn, dirty or just ‘not you’ anymore?
Give yourself enough time to try things on. Decide if you love it, have worn it, need it, fits you, etc. Go by category: place all the pants you are keeping back into the closet in one area, as you will with skirts, dresses, shirts, suits and so on.
After the whole closet has been gone through, you can do some fine-tuning, such as discovering how you like your sections to be defined. For instance, I sometimes like to hang and sort by type, and then color within that section. You may have another system, like sorting by season. But for now, just downsize.
Now do the same for; shirts, skirts/dresses, sweaters, jackets, suits, scarves, etc.
I like breaking it up into sections so if you need to stop and come back to it another time or day, you are certain of where you left off. And it creates a sense of satisfaction when complete each job.
Keep it, throw it out or pass it on
Now for the linen closets. How many sets of sheets per bed do you really need?
Remember the rule of thumb – if you don’t have room for it then you have to let some of it go. Keep only what you use on a regular basis.
Then go into your drawers – go through old socks, underwear, T-shirts, pajamas, bathing suits, etc. Be diligent – if you haven’t worn it, if you don’t like it, if its old – throw it out or pass it on.
It’s nice to create space in a drawer. Strive to not jam pack your drawers so that everything may be seen easily. If you don’t have space for it, you are still in clutter mode. Keep what you only have room for.
Go though the bathroom. How many old shampoos, soaps and assorted toiletries do you have? If you opened one and do not like it, consider giving it away to a friend. While I personally hate to waste, the truth is, its better to throw it out than have it take up room, energy and make clutter in your space. Plus, it’s potentially an annoyance reminder: “I paid a lot for that!” Let it go. Empty out contents and recycle the containers.
Now tackle the rest of the house. Every room in your home will follow the same sensibility; take a drawer, cabinet, shelf or area at a time. Divide it up accordingly. Commit to finishing a section in an allotted time.
These are good preliminary actions to get you started. Paperwork and larger areas may take more time to deal with. Don’t worry with final organizing, start with downsizing then you can go back and organize once you’ve identified what you are keeping.
Baskets and attractive containers are wonderful to keep areas contained, such as magazine, toys, papers. Get inspiration and ideas off of Pinterest and stores such as The Container Store and IKEA.
At the very least, begin to get done what you CAN handle. Set timers and turn off your phone. Play music. Ask a friend to help support you. Do not get discouraged. It’s part of being alive and enjoying the flow of abundance!
If you are really on a roll, consider the garage, storage lockers, crawl space or any other areas that may have accumulated “stuff” and contain items that you no longer need or use. How about the outside of your home? Are there any broken planters, dead plants, moldy umbrellas and old toys? Time to clear it away.
And finally, clutter clearing works because it frees up energy and creates space for new and better things to come into your life. Clear out the old baggage — it’s a wonderful way to shift your energy into the new season.
Kari Wishingrad has lived in Sonoma Valley for 22 years and has been a Professional Organizer since 1995.
She has coached, supported and assisted dozens of people to downsize, clear their clutter and become more organized.
Kari is an active member of Elder Resource Alliance Sonoma Valley.