Yes, it is that time of the year again: welcome to the blossoming flowers and the spring cleaning season!
If you are like me and my family, you probably have a ton of things around the house that needs to be put in its place. That being the trash can, the donation box or back to the closet racks. However, finding the time to overhaul my home is daunting. A mixed feeling between a dream of finally feeling like we live in a respectable household…
– I am a Latina, as my mom about why she raised me to think to live in a messy place is a shameful thing-
… and the nightmare of spending most of my “free time” from working and motherhood trying to sort out different crap. I mean, I really want to put this place back on track, but I also want to stop and smell the flowers. That screams “Spring cleaning” loud and clear.
Once I gave up to the Universe telling me to KonMari my house, I found these following strategies useful. You can mix and match them or commit to just one or two of them.
The slow-but-steady strategy.
I use this strategy when it comes to my work desk. I know I can’t just throw every single piece of paper to the trash can without double-checking it, but I am also aware I need to put a lot of things on its rightful place, one space at the time.
- Start small. Select a few hours twice a week to work on a specific area such as a closet, cupboard, shelf or even just a drawer.
- Make a goal to pick up ten things a day and find better places to put them.
- Keep similar things together and in locations where they are actually used.
- Use small bins you can store easily to keep together small stuff like the office or DIY supplies
Whatever time you devote to the task, a small accomplishment can provide personal encouragement to keep going.
The dumpster strategy.
Oh dear!, This is my go-to for whatever my daughter was collecting last season that has already lost its luster, for example. Jokes aside, this may be required if hoarding has been a problem or if you simply want to accomplish organization in a short period of time.
- Get a box of big trash bags and devote at least a big trash bin to hold all the trash you are about to throw away.
- If things are seriously bad (or you are packing your house for a moving) rent a dumpster from the local waste management company. The dumpster will be delivered to your driveway and picked up after you fill it. This works best when you don’t care to be discriminating about what you toss out or if you are left the task of cleaning the home of an older family member who may have moved to smaller quarters.
Bringing the dumpster to you may prove more efficient and cost-effective in the long run compared to repeated trips to the dump. A complete Spring cleaning success move!
The family weekend strategy.
In my ideal world, if clutter has accumulated thanks to the combined effort or neglect of all family members, I would love to put them all to work. Although this strategy has worked better for me and my husband without the kid around (one little perk of being divorced from my child’s father), here are the steps to follow.
- Choose a weekend where everyone will dedicate an eight-hour a day to the project working solo or in pairs.
- Prepare by acquiring a large supply of empty boxes and garbage bags.
- Make a contest out of the task with a prize going to the winner. Maybe it could go to who accumulates the largest number of bags of stuff removed from the house.
- Make the chore fun. This approach works well in tandem with the dumpster rental.
The closet strategy.
Clothes closets can quickly become stuffed with items you have not worn in years. In general, 80 percent of the time people wear 20 percent of the clothes they own. I have written some tips and tricks for closet’s organization before, so let us focus on a simple strategy for cleaning your wardrobe over time:
- Begin by picking out a few items each day that you have not worn for a long time or will likely not wear again.
- Once you create some space, employ a long term strategy. Each time you wear an item, hang it in the newly created space. Over time you will see what clothes you actually use on a regular basis and which are less necessary.
The paper reduction strategy.
A significant amount of clutter comes from the paperwork that piles up on desks and counters. Usually, it then gets moved to a shelf while new paperwork accumulates.
- Begin reducing paper clutter by having a central in-basket where mail is kept.
- Next, label file folders for bills and other major paperwork you feel is essential to retain.
- Store the files in a single location like a file cabinet. Create small bins or shelves for specific types of correspondence such as bills, invitations, and letters to be answered. Once the filing system is created you can more quickly file paperwork as it comes in.
- If everything fails, I recommend getting a small plastic bin where you can keep all of the bills and receipts you get in hand. As you go through them, you can pay them and then file them in their proper folder.
Finally some light at the end of the Spring cleaning tunnel!
After each space has been overhauled make it a priority to prevent clutter from accumulating. Once organized, you probably won’t need more than a half-hour per room every other week to keep it clutter-free.
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