Spring Decluttering Tips, Part 1

The coming of Spring inevitably inspires people to throw open windows and streamline their lives. We even have an idiom for it, don’t we? Spring cleaning. I don’t know if it’s the fresh air, the sunlight, or the lovely simplicity of blossoming trees, but this is the season to freshen up your life–and this means getting rid of things. Lots of things. Painlessly and efficiently.

Stress is a culprit behind almost every modern ill, from wrinkles and acne to high blood pressure and back pain. One way to cut down on the stress in your daily life is to clean up the space where you live. Call it feng shui, call it common sense, but a neat, simplified, aesthetically pleasing living space is always going to be more calming than its junky alternative. (Picture going to sleep in a crowded, messy bedroom, verses a clean space with white sheets and clear floors. Which one makes your blood pressure rise?)

Whether you feel like bleaching your entire house from basement to attic, or just tweaking your living space to let a little more of that fresh Spring feeling in, here are some ways to make the process easier. Tune back in next Monday for more!

1. Make it enjoyable.

For the OCD-inclined among us, cleaning is awesomely cathartic, but everyone else might need a little encouragement. Why dread the task? Before you start cleaning, figure out what will make it fun for you. Blast your favorite music, open all the windows, take snack breaks, invite a friend over, and promise yourself a cocktail when you finish.

2. Make it doable.

Instead of deciding you’re going to clean EVERYTHING, RIGHT NOW, SO HELP ME, break it down into manageable tasks. Dedicate one empty day to decluttering, spread it over a weekend, or do a little bit every week. The point is to make sure you’re not overwhelming yourself–which is basically setting yourself up for failure.

Don’t know where to start? Tackle the most cluttered areas first. For most people, these are things like entryways, closets, bathroom cabinets, kitchens, and desks (ugh: so guilty. The picture above? I took it.).

3. Invent new ways to organize things.

I, too, have heard the siren call of The Container Store, and have longed to put all my possessions into tiny labeled jars and shiny drawer organizers. But when you’re trying to get rid of stuff, there’s no need to go out and buy more stuff. Instead, look around at what you already own, and imagine how you can repurpose it. For example, I use glass jars for everything: mason jars hold pens, cotton balls, and fresh flowers; smaller glass jars hold spices and bobby pins, and so on. Put your keys in a cute chipped teacup, put your spare change in a clean jam jar, put your notebooks in a picnic basket, put your winter sweaters in an old laundry hamper. You dig?

4. Display cute, unexpected collections to free up more space.

If you need to create more cabinet space for your husband’s hideous taxidermy collection (NO JUDGMENT), consider moving your spice jars or your wineglass collection to a visible shelf or a windowsill. The human eye is trained to appreciate groups of somewhat symmetrical things, so this move will be both functional and cool. And lining up anything glass on a windowsill is always gorgeous. Hello, Spring Sunshine!

More tips next week.

Have a wonderful, stress-free weekend!

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