Think Spring Clearing, not Spring Cleaning!
With Spring comes renewed energy and ambition. Many of us take this time to revisit our New Year’s Resolutions (remember those?). If getting organized was one of your goals in 2016, here are three simple steps you can take to start getting organized today.
Step One: Stop the Incoming!
The first and best way to maintain an organized home is to stop clutter before it comes into your home! Hyper-consumerism is the culture we live in, and we have to make a conscious effort to break the cycle. Before you bring anything new into your home, ask yourself “Do I need it?” and “Do I have space for it?”. Consider how the item will be used and if you already own something you could use instead. Be strict about what you allow into your home. Once the deluge of stuff and papers slows down, you will have a good chance at winning the battle against clutter.
Step Two: Conquer the Clutter
Research has proven that 80% of the time, clutter is not due to lack of space, but to disorganization. Furthermore, orderly homes reduce housework by 40%.
Source: American Cleaning Institute
It is a true phenomenon that, after awhile, we stop seeing the things that surround us. We simply get used to things the way they are, even if the “way they are” is messy, cluttered and makes us crazy! Try this exercise – take a walk around your house and look at it with an objective eye. Do you see things that are broken, unused or outgrown? Do you have items that you find ugly or remind you of something negative? These are the items to start with. Gather them in a box and get them out of the house right now! Make a trip to your local donation center, or call to have a pickup scheduled. Remember: Focus only on your own stuff! You cannot get rid of other people’s stuff without permission. This is your chance to lead by example.
Step Three: Organize One Space at a Time
Clutter and disorganization happen over time, not overnight. It is not realistic to expect to have your whole home “perfect” in a day.
Start your “Spring Clearing” small, choosing one drawer or one closet to work on. Focus solely on that space and think about what purpose you want it to serve, and who will use it. It may help to draw a picture or write down your goal and post it nearby to keep you on track and motivated.
Now take everything out of the space, sorting like with like. Grouping like items together helps you see the actual volume of stuff being held in that space. You will not know you have 16 rolls of Scotch Tape until you stack them all together! Also take this moment to wipe down shelves, put down liners, rinse out containers, vacuum up crumbs.
Holding the vision in your mind or referring to your posted goals of what that space will be, decide which items will go back into the space. If an item does not serve the space’s new purpose, decide if it belongs somewhere else in your house, or if you can discard or donate it. If you have multiples of an item, decide on a reasonable number of duplicates (for example, you may want a flashlight on each floor of your home) and donate the remainders. Do not get discouraged by the feeling that you are throwing money away. Unused items cost space and time. Relieve yourself of the stress of excess and pay yourself back in uncluttered space.
Establish homes for the items returning to the space. You may want dividers or bins to separate items. Don’t become paralyzed by trying to make everything look “perfect”! Re-purpose shoe boxes or plastic bags as containers until you have the space functioning properly. Then you can update containers according to your aesthetic.
Finally, label! Labeling not only helps keep everything organized, it also gives direction to the rest of the household and takes the burden off of one person having to be in charge of where things go.
Beyond Spring Clearing
Start a habit of returning items to their homes daily. Set aside 10 minutes a day for family clean up time. Play fun music, or make it a game for younger children to see who can put away the most items in that time. You will be surprised at the difference a few minutes a day makes!
Major Mom is on a mission to combat clutter and chaos one household at a time. To learn more, visit www.majormom.biz or call 888-549-8854 to schedule your free estimate with a Major Mom Liberator. Our Organizing Store brings the Major home to you in audio lessons such as “Eleven Rewards for Downsizing Your Stuff” or our video workshop “Secret Weapon to Getting Organized”. Don’t delay – get organized today!