I’ve been there:  I see a fabulous bargain I can’t pass up, so I snap it up; someone kindly passes something on to me I didn’t ask for, so I say yes to protect their feelings.  In either case, I end up with something in my space that has no place.  Next step is to look around my home trying to find somewhere to put it or just plop it on the floor to deal with later.  The lesson to be learned is that if something has no logical, useful or permanent place in my home, it has no business being there.

One approach is to get rid of something else to make room for the new item.  If you have a sweater drawer so full that it can’t possibly hold another sweater, don’t buy or accept another sweater until you go through that drawer and give away anything you no longer wear, love or need.

Another solution is to learn to say, “no.”  I love the idea of “conscious shopping.”  Most of us become temporarily unconscious when we shop.  We operate purely on emotion rather than being rational.  Instead of asking the logical questions, “Do I really need this?” or “Where is this going to go when I get it home?” and “What am I going to use this for?”  We say, “Ooh, how pretty, and so cheap!”  Now what?

When beloved friends or family members offer you their cast-offs and you are reluctant to refuse their kindness, just say, ”Thank you so much!  Let me go home and see if this goes with the rest of what I have and I’ll let you know if I can use it.”  Make sure this person knows you are grateful for the offer, but that the unsolicited item may not be for you and you know they will want to make sure it goes to the perfect recipient.

Face it, there is very little we actually need.  Our spaces are already crammed with items we rarely, if ever, use.  First, ask yourself this question:  “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do I need, love or want this thing?”  Then ask, “Does it really have a space and a place?

 

Spring is the perfect time to create a plan for clearing out, cleaning up and making way for the new.  Some people look forward to the process and the wonderful sense of rejuvenation and peace that comes with it, while others are overwhelmed by the thought of where to start.

 

Here are four steps to help you get started.  If you take it step by step, and task by task, you can make the seasonal transition a simple and graceful process:

 

Step 1.  Assess the situation.  Go from room to room and make a comprehensive list of everything you want to do in each room to make it clean and fresh.  Think in terms of what needs to be eliminated, cleaned, replaced or repaired.

 

Step 2.  Create categories.  Break your room-by-room lists of tasks into three groups:

  • Decluttering:  note items to swap out, store, donate, or sell.
  • Housework:   jot down what needs cleaning
  • Repairs:  list things to fix or replace.

Use this checklist for ideas.

DECLUTTER:

o  Declutter the closets by donating clothes you no longer need or wear

o  Eliminate unneeded small appliances, cookware and dishware that are cluttering the kitchen.

o  Eliminate extra books you’ll never read again

o  Go through your craft supplies and recycle abandoned projects

o  Clear out the hall closet and store the winter coats, hats and gloves

CLEAN:

o  Have drapes and carpeting professionally cleaned

o  Wash the windows inside and out and clean the blinds

o  Clean the refrigerator, oven and stove

o  Polish vinyl and wood floors

o  Clear out the cobwebs

RENEW:

o  Replace the welcome mat and throw rugs

o Swap out bedspreads and replace pillows

o  Replace the shower head, shower liners and curtain, and guest towels.

o  Replace the kitchen curtains

o  Replace burned out bulbs in ceiling fixtures or lamps

REPAIR:

o  Fix dripping faucets or running toilets

o  Repair holes in walls or broken tiles

o  Touch up wall paint

o  Repair broken windows or torn screens

 

Step 3.  Dedicate time.  Set aside specific blocks of time in your calendar for these tasks.  Having a time line and schedule will better ensure your success.  Make an appointment with yourself to get these jobs completed and keep that appointment.

 

Step 4.  Get help.  For the bigger jobs, decide whether to do-it-yourself or hire a professional.  You can also enlist the help of family members or friends.  A Certified Professional Organizer® can assist you with the decluttering process as well as keep you motivated and on task.

 

Spring brings new potential to all aspects of our lives.   A thorough spring cleaning is a great way to revitalize and rejuvenate your home and yourself.  Now is the time to clear out and clean up!