Spring Cleaning: How to Reduce Clutter

May 07, 2015

Spring is officially here and this is the time of year that everybody thinks about tackling those cleaning projects that have been lingering too long.  Spring symbolizes rebirth or renewal, everything is flourishing after the long, cold winter and we tend to apply this growth and energy in nature to our homes as well.  Spring cleaning means getting organized and making a fresh start.  One of the biggest ways that we can do this is to reduce clutter. 

Clutter doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s a slow, steady build-up of one small item at a time.  Before you know it the drawers and closets are overflowing, and paperwork and mail is stacked high on your desk.  If one of your spring cleaning goals is to reduce clutter around your house, here are some easy guidelines to help you make a fresh start this season. 

  1. Use the “Three Pile” system.  In every room, closet or stack you go through you need to organize the contents into three piles (use bags, boxes or plastic storage bins if you like); Keep, Throw Away, and Donate.  Keep in mind that for things like paperwork you won’t have a “donate” pile.  Quickly go through every single item and determine into which pile it will go.  Don’t labor over this process, you don’t want waste precious time debating every article. 
  2. Evaluate items with your head, not just your heart. If you haven’t worn a sweater in 5 years perhaps this is the time to let it go.  Of course you will always have items that hold sentimental value and some things you simply won’t want to let go of.  But be logical, don’t let your heart rule every time.  If you have literally not even touched or looked at something in a year chances are you don’t really need that item.  Consider if items are actually useful to you or if you’re hanging on to them “just in case.”  If you think something has important sentimental value, but yet it’s been buried in a box for 10 years and you forgot you even had it, then how useful or necessary is this item? 
  3. Be tough on clothing. Clothing is perhaps the one thing that people allow to pile up the most.  As women we tend to hang on to our “skinny clothes” and or “maybe someday” items for years.  You may want to enlist the help of a trusted, practical friend when going through your closet and drawers.  Sometimes you just need someone to grab that “someday” dress out of your hands and throw it in the pile of donations.  Any clothes that is torn or otherwise unwearable should be immediately thrown out or repurposed into rags or something of that nature.  If you’re in need of some extra cash create a pile that is suitable to take to a local consignment store.  Seasonal clothing should be packed away into a storage tub.  Donate anything that doesn’t fit or that you haven’t worn in a long time.
  4. Go electronic or cancel subscriptions. If you tend to let papers, mail and magazines pile up then switch to electronic billing or statements wherever possible.  Cancel magazine and newspaper subscriptions if you’re not really reading them, or go electronic if you can and put all the stacks of saved issues into the recycle bin.  If you have important paperwork that you need to keep consider scanning it instead of saving a hard copy.
  5. Don’t forget the kitchen. Are your cupboards and drawers bursting?  Remember that all food has an expiration date, even canned items.  Eliminate anything that is out of date.  Spices and herbs go stale too so if you have jars that are years old, empty them out and recycle the container.  Get rid of chipped or broken dishes and appliances or equipment that you don’t use.  Pay attention to the refrigerator too.  You may be shocked to see how old those bottles of salad dressing, pickles and mustard are.

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