Living in 800-square-feet as a family of four with only two small closets has taught me a few things about space. With a husband who wears suits everyday, two toddlers with an insane amount of toys, and my adoration for endless designer jeans meant being more than creative with storage. It meant getting rid of stuff—and lots of it.
As many of us start thinking about spring cleaning (and contemplate putting it off), here are some simple tips to help you rethink how to get the job done. And keep it looking clean moving forward.
- Pick a task (or destination) and stick with it.
The biggest mistake people make is trying to tackle spring cleaning room by room. Rather than creating multiple piles that can leave you feeling overwhelmed, I pick a theme: donation, consignment, garage sale, hand-down or organize. Choosing one task makes it easy to tackle one room, or if you’re really lucky all rooms in a single day.I take a bag to every room and remain focused on that destination. When it’s full, I put it in the trunk of my car. At the end of the day, I take what I have and drop it off. There’s no second-guessing and going through it later on to take stuff out.
- Abide by the one-year rule.
If something has been sitting in your closet or on your shelf, and hasn’t been touched in a year get rid of it. You don’t need it, period. It sounds simple, but it’s really easy to make excuses. You aren’t suddenly going to take up baking and use that William Sonoma bundt pan. The skinny jeans don’t fit now, but if you lose weight reward yourself and get some new ones!
- Consider the value.
I get it—some things are sentimental. My grandpa’s vintage bowling bag is inside a window seat in my bedroom; this is irreplaceable and not going anywhere. On the flip side, if something has monetary value and you don’t use it, it’s a perfect item for consignment. For example, I found a box of crystal stemware when we purchased a rental property. Since we aren’t that fancy, this was the perfect resale item.
- For each new item you purchase get rid of two.
Yes, two. This applies to clothing, toys, serving dishes and anything that already exists in your home. This means when you make a purchase, you really have to want or need something new. It prevents a frugal person (like myself) from buying something just because it’s on sale.
- Make everyday items eye level not an eyesore.
When a friend of mine recently saw my master bathroom she asked, “Where’s all your stuff?” The truth is, it’s in my drawers! When you follow the rules you can actually use your cabinets for storage. There’s something refreshing about waking up and going to bed to a clean, de-cluttered space. But that doesn’t mean you have to make it look like a hotel. For example, my kids like to color when I cook. Their “tools” are in a cute nesting bin on the kitchen counter so they can easily reach them.
I apply these Spring Cleaning tactics year-round. It prevents clutter from piling up or getting lost from season to season. I’m always looking for new ways to share the wealth (read: get rid of stuff!). Most recently I joined a Mom’s Facebook Group for resale. Social media has an endless supply of shoppers and sellers. What are a few of your favorites? Please let us know. I have a lovely bundt pan if anyone’s interested.