Updated: Feb 12
As soon as the snow begins to melt and the sun shines bright in Minnesota, people head outdoors en mass. You see neighbors you haven't seen in months and everyone seems to have an extra spring in their step.
Of course Minnesotans also do the perennial Spring yard clean up and decluttering like our Southern friends, but that's only after a few weeks of celebrating just being able to walk outside without a heavy coat and boots.
Which brings us to today. Most of the snow is gone, the grills have been fired up and we've been walking outside for a couple weeks. This means we're finally ready and gearing up for the Spring decluttering and organizing.
Knowing this is on so many people's agenda for the coming weeks, I wanted to share my top tips on decluttering and organizing this Spring
tackle your clutter with these tips:
1. sort by CATEGORY, not by location
The most successful way to declutter is to sort by category, not by location. I know, when Spring is in the air you might have the urge to run to the garage to declutter and organize it, but if you have items that live in the garage and also live somewhere else in the home you might be unsuccessful. When you gather up and sort through the items in your home by category (clothes, books, papers, kitchen tools, food, tools, etc) rather than by location, it makes it easier for your brain to sort through the items because you will see if you have duplicates and choose your favorites from there.
2. Focus on what you choose to KEEP
Take the pressure off by focusing your mindset on an exercise that includes deciding what you are CHOOSING to keep rather than becoming so focused on what you're going to discard. Of course you will find things you no longer wish to keep when decluttering, but if your focus is on what you are choosing to keep you will find it easier to let go of the items you no longer love or need.
3. Use JOY as your filter
Using joy as a filter for what you want to keep leaves you with a home that is filled only with things you love. And let's be honest, we do tend keep a lot of things in our home that we don't love. The oven mitt that burns your hand a little, the cup of pens with only a few working, the pants that never seemed to fit quite right and the list goes on.
The trouble is that each of these items carries a micro aggravation. Every time you use it, there is a little bit of negativity and while each micro aggravations alone doesn't amount to much, when you add them up it can feel heavy. Moving these micro aggravations out of your home will allow more joy in.
4. discard with gratitude first, organize second
The reason it's so important to sort through the items in your home and decide what you're going to keep first is that it is only after that process you will have a clear picture of what you need to organize. Thanking the items we no longer wish to keep allows us to complete the ownership circle and move on. Often many of the items we say goodbye to have a lesson in them. Maybe we learned we're allergic to wool, maybe we learned blue is not our color, and so on. Being grateful for the lessons allows us to stop putting burden on ourselves for having to make perfect purchases all the time. The more we learn about ourselves and our tastes, the better consumers we become moving forward.
organize like a prof with these five tips:
Designate a home for everything
If there is a golden rule of organizing, it is to designate a home for everything you own. Designating a home makes it much easier to find things when you need them and to clean up when you're done using things, which makes it much easier to keep your home tidy.
Put like with like
The first step when organizing is to put like items with like items. This is done to bring some order to multi-use spaces (eg. toy rooms, kitchens, pantries, craft rooms, etc.). When you group like with like, you are able to see subcategories you are looking for quickly making it easier to find things as well as put them back.
Divide up large categories
When you have a big category, like crafts for example, a pro organizing trick is to divide up the big category into smaller ones. As you can see in the example below, it's very clear where items live in this craft room.
Remove store packaging whenever possible
Store packaging is so bulky, so it can take up a lot of space in a pantry. Take granola bars for example. You can often store 7-10 boxes of granola bars in one small pantry bin when you take it out of the box. In addition to being bulky, store packaging also makes it difficult to see how much of a product is left. When you take product out of the store packaging and decant it into clear containers like shown below with the cereal, you are able to quickly see how much inventory you have on hand.
Label, label, label!
Labels are like traffic signs for your home. They help communicate with the people in the home where things live. For busy families, labels are transformational as they allow everyone in the family to share the load of the work to put things back where they belong.
If you're ready to declutter and organize you home and are looking for a checklist to help you along, you can find the Ultimate KonMari checklist here. And if after reading this you're even more overwhelmed, it might be time to call in a professional to help you get across the finish line. More information about Neat Little Nest services here.