12 May 2012

Top 8 Spring De-cluttering Tips

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Ahhh, Springtime!

It always brings back childhood memories of my first bike ride of the season, my tires grinding on the gravel. My friends and I would be allowed to play outside longer — “until the streetlights come on”, our Mothers said.

As a kid, Spring summoned freedom, lightness and freshness….is it no wonder that we never outgrow this?

While I played with abandon, my mother would undertake her Spring cleaning rituals. Memories of bare windows and the smell of Ajax cleanser still stay with me. The curtains would be dismantled for washing, the cupboards emptied of their contents, and everything..EVERYTHING was sorted, purged and discarded (yes, I come by my organizing skills honestly).
No matter what your age, our need for a fresh start in Spring is innate. If you are feeling an inner calling to clean up, organize and renew, here are my Top 8 Spring De-cluttering Tips (with thanks to Mom).

  1. Officially say “goodbye” to winter. Look over all the hats, mitts and gloves. Get rid of any missing their mates, any that have holes or those that likely won’t fit next year (donate these). Wash the rest and put them into a plastic bag marked with the family member’s name on them. Next winter season you can put each person’s winter belongings in their own personalized storage baskets. Will the children’s boots fit them next year? If not, donate them now to free up space.
  1. Lose 10 lbs of clothing – be absolutely, brutally honest about what you didn’t wear this winter. If you are hanging onto something because you are sure that next year you will finally lose those extra10 pounds, do yourself a favour: get rid of the item now. If you do manage to lose the weight (although we think you look fabulous just the way you are), then treat yourself to something new. Do the same to your summer clothes before you put them out.
  1. Purge the paper – Now may be the time to purge all those booksthat are collecting dust. Pass them on to a friend, donate them to the library or charity and enjoy the freed-up space. Don’t have an e-reader yet? Put it on your birthday or Christimas wish list. It’s a great way to ensure the books don’t pile up again.Throw out all those read (or even unread if they are old) magazines. If you really want that recipe, rip it out and put it in a file folder and store with your cookbooks. Better yet, just look it up on the internet when you need it!You have probably just finished doing your taxes. If you can bring yourself to even look at the paperwork again so soon, put it in a file folder and file it in a secure place. Do it now! Next resolve to deal with all the other papers cluttering your home desk area. Look at what is creating the clutter and sort by relevance. For example, your piles could be bills, bank statements, children’s school work, receipts. Toss anything that is dated or useless (but ensure you shred anything confidential).For the stuff you need to keep, create a file folder for each (could breakdown bills by sender) and file in a box or file drawer if you have one.Make a pact to do this weekly (it should only take 15 minutes?).
    If you have a set place to put something it is much easier to keep this up
    .Also, opt for electronic bills and bank statements where this option is available.
  1. What are you hiding in your kitchen? Go through the cupboards and pantries. Get rid of chipped dishes and those mugs no one ever uses (come on, we know you have them). Go through the pantry and discard food past its’ freshness date. You can do this while you are on the phone!
  1. 20-minute Donation Round-up – Be ready for the next call you get from a charity saying they will soon be in your area collecting used items. Spend 20 minutes now going through the house with an empty box or laundry basket rounding up stuff you no longer need. Tired of dusting all those knick-knacks? This is a good chance to donate them. Never used the kitchen gadget you bought at a friend’s kitchen party? Throw it in the basket. I challenge you to find 20 things in 20 minutes that you no longer need that you could donate – bet you can do it!Get the kids involved too and make a game of it – ask them to find 10 things they no longer need and set up a stopwatch: give them 10 minutes! If you think they have more than 10 items, give them a higher number with more time or give them a list of colours or categories to make it fun (e.g. find 1 red item, 1 blue item or 1 toy, 1 t-shirt, 1 book, etc.). Maybe they can even come up with some of the “rules” for the game – doesn’t matter what they are just make it fun and productive. If they need more incentive, instead of donating, they could hold a garage sale and keep the proceeds (as long as you all agree that any unsold items will be donated – nothing comes back inside!)
  1. Straightening Out Your Significant Other: If your significant other likes to keep and spread around his/her unfinished “business” (newspapers, magazines, junk mail)), give him/her a central location for these items. This can be a basket or file folder, depending on the amount. Try to get him/her to make a deal that he/she can keep the stuff as long as it fits in the container. When the container is full, it must all be dealt with. Ideally these things should be dealt with more frequently, but sometimes you have to pick your battles. This at least keeps it contained to one area instead of spread through the house.
  1. Move – When you have to put something in a box and then take it out again, it makes you really think about whether or not you need it. Okay, maybe moving isn’t practical for everyone and you don’t want to do this every Spring, but try to go through your drawers, storage areas, cupboards, cabinets and use the “move lens” – ask yourself: “Would it be worthwhile for me to spend the time packing/unpacking this?” “Did I use it in the last 2 years?” “Would I miss it if it was gone?” “Could I easily replace it if I needed to?”
  1. Call in a Professional. If you find that staying on top of the clutter is too much work and you can’t find a system that works for you, give us a call. Our Professional Organizers have the knowledge, experience, patience and passion to get you organized.

And don’t forget, once you’re finished, be sure to take your bike for a spin!

Happy Spring!

Image: jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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4 Responses to Top 8 Spring De-cluttering Tips
  1. Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the advice! Just what I needed to get me started. I know what I will be doing this weekend!

  3. Maybe I can confine my significant other to an area with all of his junk and if he misbehaves, I can throw out all of his useless memorabilia!

  4. I will be ripping out my reciepes and recycling my pile of magazines, thanks for the great ideas! Maybe I will try this with my family too, lol.


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