Have you been bitten by the cleaning bug? If so, you’re not alone. An annual spring cleaning is practically a tradition in households across the country, and it’s not hard to see why. Throughout the year, we manage to accumulate a ton of “stuff.” Between the well-meaning but not-your-style holiday and birthday gifts, garage sale or thrift store finds that you just couldn’t pass up, and the long-forgotten items that are packed away in a box in a corner of the basement, our clutter can get out of hand. That “stuff” doesn’t necessarily make us happy; in fact, oftentimes, it doesn’t even serve a purpose. It just hangs out in our garage, basement or living room shelf, collecting dust and taking up space.
Now that Spring is here and we’re feeling more active, it’s the perfect time to give our homes a good cleaning and decluttering. Feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin? Follow our handy checklist for getting rid of the clutter.
Communicate with Your Household
If you have a significant other, children, or anyone else in your household, let them know that over the next few days or weeks, you’re going to be combing the house for items that have worn out their welcome. If possible, include them in the decision-making process. You may be met with resistance; it’s not uncommon for us to become emotionally attached to our belongings, even if we don’t particularly like half of them. For example, every parent knows that the surest way to get their child interested in a toy that they haven’t touched in months is to pull it from their room and place it in the donation box.
If your household isn’t on board with the whole idea, that’s okay. Go through your personal belongings and address those places in your home that no one will take issue with (no one will care if your catch-all drawer no longer has loose paper clips and rubber bands).
As we’ve said before, the key to actually accomplishing something is to start small. Don’t clean out your attic, clean out your junk drawer. Don’t attempt to tackle the basement, just clear off the top of your refrigerator. Don’t take on anything that you can’t complete in 10 minutes. As you begin to see your house change, you’ll be ready for the more ambitious jobs.
Grab Three Boxes
As you’re going through your home, toss each out-of-place item into one of three boxes: the Keep box, the Donate box, and the Garbage box. Don’t dwell on the fate of each item and agonize over whether it should be kept or tossed; usually, your first instinct is the correct one.
Take Care of the Stuff Right Away
Going through your clutter is physically—and sometimes emotionally—exhausting work, and once you’re done, it can be tempting to simply stack those boxes in a corner and tell yourself that you’ll take care of them tomorrow. However, as you well know, that “tomorrow” probably isn’t coming anytime soon. Find a place for the items that you’re keeping, carry your donation box out to your vehicle in a place where it is easily seen and won’t be forgotten, and make sure that your Garbage box does, in fact, find its way to the garbage.
Decluttering can feel like a daunting task, but by taking it one step at a time, you can begin to see a big difference.