No matter the size of the home we live in, storage always seems to be a problem. Part of that is our perceived need to keep something – in the event that it might become useful later! And while we’re storing something we are not using; we’re taking valuable space.
Spring cleaning, with an emphasis on decluttering, needn’t be a full-time job. With a little time and planning, you can free up space in your home if you follow these six guidelines.
- Think About the Cost to Keep Something. First, you have to think about where you are going to store it. And once stored, you have to remember where you put it. OK, there’s not actual money involved in this transaction, but the fact that we are occupying brain space to organize, store and retrieve something is still a high cost. Especially in this day and age when there is already too much on our schedules. And as your family grows, the cost to keep something becomes even higher. Be harsh in your decisions as to what to keep, and what to toss.
- We Really Don’t Like to Waste Money. But are we really wasting money if we give ourselves permission to purchase something new? I sometimes wonder. The purchase of a better shelving system, a closet re-organization or even a bureau, sometimes organizes us in a way that frees us from stress. And I for one am a big believer in finding ways to avoid stress. The trick is to measure, measure and measure again, and then give it time to percolate in your brain.
- But Don’t Buy Until You Organize! During a recent project of organizing scarves, I ended up purchasing a half dozen see-through lidded plastic boxes – so I could organize them by color. Seemed like a perfect solution. That did require that I also organize my closet – to make room for the boxes! And then, when I actually started organizing them by color, I realized I should have gone through them first. There were so many that were torn, beginning to unweave or dotted with little woolen fuzzies. Really, no matter how neat and tidy I organized these scarves, there were many of them that were doomed to spend their days in these plastic containers! I should have organized first!
- . .Before Clicking on Amazon! Everything is so available now. And every article we read gives us a new idea? A rice cooker? Wow, that would be nice. We go on Amazon and bingo, it’s on order! Truth is, we may not even cook rice that often, and the pan we’ve used has worked perfectly in the past. But somehow, the thought of making life just a little bit easier is compelling. But then, we have to store it!
- Avoid Trends. I’m talking about things like kitchen gadgets, clothes that are clearly a trend, clearance bins that seem like great deals, or cookware that is “all the rage.” Instead, WAIT. See how often your neighbor uses the newest item. Notice people who are wearing the newest trend – is it really flattering? Recognizing trends is important if you want to declutter your life.
- Finally, Measure Your Purchase By How Often It Will Be Used. This is a big one for some people. During the dog days of winter, we might decide that we need more crafts, for instance. Or during the summer a trampoline might seem like a great idea. Both options ARE good ideas, if they will be used. Sometimes we do use them but only slightly – and then they have to be stored!
Get Started. Can you concentrate on one room per week? You needn’t spend a whole day in that room. Maybe just a half hour here and there. But consider this, at the end of the month you’ve helped to declutter 4 rooms. Now that’s a great start on spring decluttering! Follow along with us this month as we post more decluttering tips on our social sites Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.