Top tips to declutter and freshen up your space
By Rachel Kelly
Spring is here, and it’s time to open up the windows, and let in that fresh air! Which will, no doubt, invigorate you with new springy energy. All that nonsense of snuggling up in the oversized chair, next to the fire, under a pile of your favorite books, is over. It’s time to put on a pair of shoes (with socks), brush your hair and shake off the winter sluggishness. All your winter blues are forgotten upon the arrival of sweet sunshine. No doubt this new attitude will inspire a general tidying of winter’s clutter—clutter that has grown into a much larger pile than you thought. It makes sense that you might have to store heavy blankets on higher shelves, or bag up your winter sweaters, but when oh when did you get comfortable just grabbing clean clothes unfolded directly from the couch? Here are six tips to get you started on your cleaning frenzy right!
I. Prioritize Action Items. What within your house gets you moving and active? What gets your kids moving and active? Start by creatively fitting out those spaces for efficiency. One such example might be the door/entry area. The windowsills or walls can be outfitted with heavy duty hooks, each designated to a member of the household for all their bags, scarves, light jackets, etc. Another often busy space is the dinner table, which also doubles as the art and homework table. A rolling caddy full of art supplies, pencils and paper is a wonderful way to organize your table for activity.
II. Create Space. This is easier said than done, but every home has unused space. It just takes a little creativity to unlock it. Look around your home and notice the blank spaces: the walls, the windowsills or the ceiling are great starts. For example, in the kitchen, pots and pans are easily hung from the ceiling and look especially lovely over an island. Little corner nooks can hold corner shelves, where a potted plant might fit just right. The point is to get things off the floor or counter, and up in the light.
III. Appreciate Meaningful Items. It’s time to put things that are precious to you out into the light, so that your space reminds you of your happy experiences. However, all those small knickknacks, pictures, sentimental baby clothes and toys can’t just be laid out or they’ll catch dust. Consider framing items that you really appreciate. Another useful idea for organizing meaningful items that rotate (think of all those cute pictures your children draw) is to pull a string across a wall and clothespin items along the line. A drawer or an attic is hardly the place for things that remind you of your most precious memories.
IV. Organize According to Use. Any one space, corner, closet or shelf has a purpose, and everything has its place. A home is functional as much as it is livable. For example: Make cleaning easier by putting regularly used cleaning supplies in a grab-and-go caddy. The caddy can be pulled (or carried) in and out of wherever you put it, easily cleaned and emptied, and is easily brought from one room to the next. This tip is also useful in the kitchen, which can easily be divided into sections with items stored according to use (baking, stovetop, beverage, etc.).
V. Beautify Your Clutter Spaces. This doesn’t mean get rid of them. Or even clean them out. Every house has spots where stuff just collects. Instead of shunning those spaces by closing them up, embrace them as necessary. The junk drawer can be beautified by separating necessary household items into various small baskets (batteries in one basket, sharpies in the other). The basket method can also be used to catch stuff in various clutter corners, to be cleaned out and put away when you have the time.
VI. Declutter Sustainably. Start by thinking of some simple rules to follow to ensure that your house stays less cluttered throughout the flurry of spring and summer activity. The “eight-minute rule” is one such example. The rule is simple: For longer chores that require dedicated time, set a timer for eight minutes. At the end of eight minutes, you may not be done with all the window washing or dusting, but you will have put a real dent in what may need to be done over the weekend.
Following some, or all, of these tips will help make next year's spring cleaning all that much easier!