‘De-cluttering’: just a fancy word for cleaning?
Or … a subtly different concept, with additional health benefits?
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It may not seem like spring is here (why so gloomy, LA?) but — umm — ’tis definitely the season. And spring is a GRAND time to freshen up your living space, de-clutter and generally make your last moves out of any winter slumps.
Listen, we’re not pretending to be as pro at this stuff as Good Housekeeping, but we do want to talk a little about spring de-clutter in the context of new beginnings, clear heads and fresh intentions, i.e. not quite the same as cleaning.
So here are our 11 (honestly, kind of eclectic) top tips/musings on de-cluttering.
1. Post-winter hibernation de-clutter
Let’s go for the obvious first … did anyone else go full-on goblin-mode for winter?
Hermit your way through the colder months, did ya?
Guess what! Our place = The Upside Down IF garbage collection was never invented.
We’re officially joining the club of people who like to freshen their homes up after the winter settle-in.
2. Clear home, happy mind
Many studies examine and confirm the positive effects of ensuring our living spaces are clear and organized. Just a few of the many, many benefits include mental feelings of peace, freedom, familiarity and consistency.
At ClearGivers, we’re pretty keen on anything that feeds into good mental healthcare, so this is right up our alley. De-cluttering the home to encourage positive mental vibes? Absolutely a great idea.
OK OK OK, WE’RE IN. BUT HOW?
3. Start with a plan
In this particular case (unlike so many others in life), having a plan will help. We really like this great de-cluttering blog, as it’s set up to provide ideas alongside a step-by-step action plan.
Make a list of the areas in your home that need decluttering. Prioritize, or at least break up those areas so you have manageable, small areas to tackle, one at a time. This will help you to stay focused, in control of the process, and to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Sort items into categories
Scared to think about throwing things out? We hear ya.
Instead of having an all or nothing approach, start by sorting items into piles to keep, donate, sell, or discard.
This will help you make decisions on what to do with each item and avoid cluttering up your space. It’s less harsh than ‘keep or throw’ and allows you to take a second look at everything when you later go through the piles.
5. Have a timeline, and stick to it
Remember when we said make a plan? Make a timeline to work through things on that plan! That’ll help you actually achieve the steps on your de-cluttering plan.
- Use the KonMari method
As many of you will already know, Marie Kondo highlighted, described and trademarked this radically different approach to tidying. Approaching tidying more as a marathon than a sprint, understanding that it’s more about the journey than the finish-line — both are aspects of this approach.
Practically speaking, Marie’s method involves decluttering by category, rather than by room. Go through your possessions in this order:
- Miscellaneous items
- Sentimental items
and keep only the items that “spark joy.”
This was a whistlestop tour of a detailed methodology — for the full rundown, head over to the site.
AND THEN WHAT?
- DONATE YOUR STUFF!
Once you have your piles of stuff that you know you can’t make use of, decide whether you’re donating it or selling it.
Clothes, books, bags, miscellaneous — as long as items are in very good condition, (books can just be in good condition) usually a charity will be able to make use of them.
What may be throwaway fashion to you may be a newly housed teen’s weekend dream outfit.
What may be a boring book to you may be a key to a new world for an impoverished child.
If you’re at a loss as to how to start, get in touch with us, at ClearGivers! We’ll do our best to help you figure it out.
Alternatively, check out other charities local to you, and ask whether they can make use of some of your pre-loved items.
8. SELL YOUR STUFF
There are so many ways to sell second-hand items, from garage sales to PoshMark to DePop to social media sales pages. This reduce your own clutter, gain you a few extra $$$ and maybe let you meet a few folks in your neighbourhood.
- USE STORAGE SOLUTIONS
We want to be very clear here. DO NOT go and hire external Big Box Storage for all the items you couldn’t say goodbye to. This is absolutely a recipe for disaster, and maybe your ticket to being the star of a show with ‘HOARDERS’ in the title.
No no no.
Storage solutions in this context refers to ways to keep your home neat, and let air (and therefore ideas) flow through it. It may sound wishy-washy, but more ancient sciences (feng shui, ayurveda) have advocated for space in living quarters for the sake of optimum mental health for millenia.
When you decrease the number of clothes you have, it’s easier to upgrade from a floor-drobe to a wardrobe.
Invest in well-priced shelves, baskets and drawers to help you stay organized — tons of small businesses are happiest helping folks find the perfect organization solutions.
- Clean as you go
While decluttering, take the opportunity to deep clean your home. This will help you feel like you’re making progress and keep your space feeling (and smelling) fresh.
Personally, we find it hella satisfying to clean the toaster. (NB this should absolutely be done more regularly than once in spring! But … it’s very satisfying).
What’s your most satisfying ‘deep-clean’ area?
- Use the “one in, one out” rule
Consider this: for every new item you bring into your home, get rid of an old one. This will help you maintain a clutter-free space throughout the year.
Full disclosure: we come from a long and proud line of hoarders, so a lot of the above are tricky to follow, even for us. But we persist in trying, because on the few occasions we have succeeded? Boy does our living space feel cool and calm!
So, a slightly different angle this time, but one we think still resonates! Let us know your spring de-cluttering tips, and get in touch if you have specific items that you need help donating. We’ll figure it out together.
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The ClearGivers Platform was set up to create major social impact in a business setting. We work hard to connect small businesses into the charity supply chain.
We are passionate about creating change for good in our community, and see our platform as a step in the right direction. Come find out more at www.ClearGivers.org, and get in touch! We would love to hear from you.