As with everything else we do at Love Your Body, we believe spring cleaning and decluttering should be approached with simplicity. So, instead of telling you to spend a day, a weekend or a whole week devoted to the task, we suggest this process should simply be a mindset you get into for a determined amount of time, say, the rest of March or the whole month of April. To be in spring cleaning mode means you are on the lookout for things that no longer serve a purpose or that no longer bring you joy. You also have two bags handy at all times--one for donations and one for trash (maybe have a set of bags in each floor of your house?). Then, follow these easy, peasy steps to having a clean and decluttered home.
1) Be on the Lookout
Every time you open a cupboard in your kitchen, laundry room, storage closet, bathroom cabinet, refrigerator, linen closet or any other “utility” closet, ask yourself: is there anything in here I never use, is expired or I no longer want? If the answer is yes, decide whether it’s good enough to donate or needs to be trashed.
Don’t worry about going through the whole closet at once. The key is to do a little at a time so that it’s not time consuming or overwhelming. Just take out the items that pop out at that moment. Do this every time you open a cupboard. If you’re in a massive rush and definitely cannot devote a couple extra seconds to this, don’t worry. Just wait until the next time you do open that cupboard. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to go through spaces if you pick things out in a piecemeal way.
2) Make a mental list
Since you’re in the mindset of opening closets and observing the contents all the time, you will have a better idea of what is where and what is what. Think about what you’ve seen whenever it pops into your mind, while you’re cooking, driving, in the shower. Make a mental list of what you think should be discarded or given away. This way, next time you open the closets, you won’t have to devote time to thinking. You will already know what needs to go.
3) Let the weather guide you
As the weather starts to turn warm, we naturally begin to turn away from our heavier items. Coats, jackets, sweaters, boots (but not all boots!), scarves begin to fade to the background.
As these next few weeks are probably the tail end of winter, every time you take off a cold-weather item, ask yourself: do I love this item? Do I feel good wearing it? Do I want to wear it again next fall/winter? If you do, wash it or have it dry cleaned. Once winter is officially over, chances are many of your sweaters will be laundered. Look through the rest of your sweaters. Donate what you don’t want to bother keeping and launder the ones you do want to keep. Clean the shelves, and put the freshly laundered sweaters away.
Do this with scarves, jackets, heavier pants, coats, and other cold-weather items as well.
4) Work when the fancy strikes you
You know those moments when you hit your limit and you cannot handle clutter a second longer? Seize them! Grab your bags and go to town! There is nothing like that rush of energy to clean out catch-all drawers, basement storage areas, cabinets filled with mismatched tupperware!
5) Visualize a clean space
A big part of being in this mindset is constantly thinking about your end goal. Imagine how nice your space will look and feel when you have removed all the items that have little use or are just taking up room. Visualize your cleaned out space at least once a day. Remind yourself that you on a 10-, 20- 30-day spring cleaning and decluttering challenge. This will help you maintain your mindset as the weeks go on. Some days, you will do nothing at all. Other days, you will throw out that old jar of mayo in the fridge. I bet one month later, your home will look and feel a lot lighter!