It’s Finally Spring Week!
Day 1: Spring Decluttering
Good morning, everyone! I hope your weekends were restful and exciting – depending on what you were looking for!
Last week, I thought that spring was rearing her head — Punxsutawney Phil did a number on us this year right—now, I’m pretty sure. In most of the country. Hooray!
It’s about time!
In honor of spring’s late—but welcome—arrival, I’m naming this “It’s Finally Spring Week” on this blog. All week, there will be posts incorporating spring into them and maybe some freebies to go along with it. It’ll be fun!
Monday’s topic: Spring Decluttering…
Decluttering. It’s not just for Mom anymore…
Decluttering is difficult. All the things you thought you would use but never did. Hidden all around the house, garage, attic, and yard. Who wants to tackle it alone?
While it may be “easier” to tackle the chore of spring decluttering alone, why should you? Bring in the entire family.
They won’t like it.
Here are some ways that you can encourage your family to declutter together to create a beautiful home to live in.
It’s not enough to simply demand that your partner and children help you clean without giving any explanation. Talking about why you want to declutter is important, because it’ll help maintain their motivation when the actual work begins to get tedious.
Explain to your children that you wish to have a home that they can invite their friends to more often, and that there’ll be more time for fun activities when everyone keeps up with the cleaning duties. Bonus point: remind them that decluttering old items leaves more room for new ones (score!).
From young to old, there’s something that can be done by everyone. Let the adults take care of any dangerous tasks, such as climbing the ladder to the attic to get more boxes and pass off the high-energy tasks to older children. Your little ones can sort through toys and pick out which ones they want to keep and which ones they would rather toss.
Avoid Tears During the Process
Although it’s nice to get the entire family involved, there’ll be times when it’s necessary to remove your younger children (or ever older ones) if the decluttering process is turning into a heartbreaking drama. If your toddlers and preschoolers are having a difficult time entertaining the idea of giving away any of their things, or if they’re unpacking items faster than you can get rid of them, it’s time to call for special help.
Find an alternative activity for your young ones–Grandma’s for the day, a childcare swap with a friend, or even a trip to a playground if you can spare an older child or adult for a couple of hours to get the most “sensitive” parts completed.
The amount of enthusiasm from your family can be influenced by the manner in which you introduce the idea. If you start barking orders and making threats, you can immediately say goodbye to any happy family time you were hoping to have. However, if you stay positive and remain consistently encouraging to each family member, you can all enjoy the process together.
You may not believe in bribes, but a little reward can go a long way. Let your kids know that when everyone has worked together and completed the task at hand, you’ll all go out for ice cream. Or if you are hosting a garage sale in hopes of selling some of your items, give a percentage of the proceeds to your children in payment for their assistance and cheerful attitudes.
OK, you now have gotten everyone on board! What’s next? Organization!
Finding Everything a Logical “Home”
As you declutter your home, and afterwards, there are several secrets that will help you keep it looking spotless long after you’ve finished your task. One of these secrets is to give every item a logical home. Here is how to use this step to your advantage in your quest for clutter-free living.
Why Items Need a Logical Home
You may have all the items you could ever need or want, but if you don’t know where to find them, there’s no point having them at all. Giving each item a home means that you’ll always know where to return something when you’re finished with it, and then when you need it again, you’ll be able to find it easily and immediately.
Giving each item a logical home means that you don’t just choose a random spot for it to be stored, but rather store it in a place that makes sense. This way, if you forget where your item is, you can think about where it should be and find it without wasting too much time. Also, once you find a home for something, make sure everyone else is aware of your intention because if other people use the item and aren’t dedicated to putting it in its place, you will end up in the same cluttered place again.
Giving Each Item a Room
The best time to give multiple objects a home is when you have just done massive decluttering. Now that your home is purged and ready to be organized, find storage places for all your items that make sense to you personally. Observe the items that you have chosen to keep and decide what room you’re generally in when you use them. For example, things such as scissors, paper, and pens will likely go in your office, living room, or study.
Things pertaining to sleep or clothing will likely be stored in the bedrooms of those whom they belong to. Kitchen items always belong in the kitchen. Continue until all your items are sorted into rooms.
Giving Each Item a Particular Spot in the Room
Now that you have a room for each item, choose a particular place for it. Your bedroom might have a closet and shelves for clothing, a section in your closet for jewelry, and one drawer chosen for odds and ends. Try to keep similar items like shoes all in the same place so that when you are in a hurry, you don’t have to look through the entire house to find the pair you need.
As you take these steps, remember that wherever you choose should be fairly obvious and make sense to you and anyone else who lives there. For example, store your piano books in a small book rack beside the piano, rather than on the other side of the room. This seems obvious, but it deserves repeating because this organization rule’s broken so often.
You’re finally organized. How do you keep this from happening again?
How to Keep Your Home Clutter-Free Moving Forward
Decluttering is a little like losing weight. No matter how well you deal with it in the beginning, it’ll keep coming back unless you understand the concept of maintenance. Here are some tips on how to keep your home decluttered so that you never have another moment of panic as you look at the mess that is your house.
This step refers to simply maintaining things by tossing junk when you realize you don’t need it, instead of stashing it into a pile that needs to be sorted over and over. Read your mail and immediately toss it, shred it, or deal with it and then put it into your file cabinet. There’s no excuse for papers or anything to be lying all over the floor, making it impossible to find something when you actually need it.
When you buy something from the store, put it where in its place immediately instead of on the floor and table. After the laundry comes out of the dryer, fold it and put it away immediately. This is how you keep any huge messes from forming again.
Regular Appointments for Decluttering
In addition to your regular maintenance, it’s important to declutter on a regular basis. You should have a decluttering day every three months, every six months, or just whenever your home starts looking like a junk yard. Make it a serious appointment to give yourself another clean slate to work with.
Stop Buying Unnecessary Stuff
One of the biggest ways you can stop clutter in its tracks is to stop buying unnecessary things. By only allowing what you need to enter your home, you will cut down on the number of items you need to clear out later. Before you buy an item, think about whether you really need it, or if it is something you’ll regret at a later point in time. Your wallet will appreciate it as well.
Get Everyone on Board
You can’t conquer clutter alone, unless you live alone. If you are part of a family who lives together, or have roommates of any kind, everyone has to agree. Talk to everyone about your wishes to maintain a junk-free haven and talk about the many benefits of living in a more minimalist way than you have been over the long haul. Let the other household members know that that you expect cooperation and teamwork.
Use these tips to keep your home free of clutter for years to come. But even then, you should aim to declutter your entire home at least once a year, to make room for what the next one will bring in. With a little enthusiasm and a lot of team spirit, you can motivate your family to get on board with decluttering.
I did a decluttering before surgery, but I missed the memo about specifically getting everyone on board! So, I’ll be working on this this spring again…
Have you done your spring declutter yet? Tell us about it in the comments.
Tomorrow we will talk about mindfulness—there will be a freebie tomorrow too!
Loving Life—The Reboot!