If you're anything like me, the sight of all the crap (where the hell did it come from!!) that seems to mysteriously appear out of thin air right in that spot you just cleaned really begs for a solution this time of year. Yes, this is the year all the crap is gone so you can stop spending time cleaning stuff, and just wipe the counters and go on to something more fun... And haven't we all said that before.
But it can be done, I'm almost finished with my crap clearing out and I've learned a few things I want to share to (hopefully) make yours a little easier:
1. Evaluate your space - either the space you're in now, or if you are downsizing, the space you're moving into. (I'm moving from an 800sq ft two bedroom house with full attic and basement to a tent. Granted, some of my stuff will have to go into storage...) If you have three bedrooms, are you using all of them? Can one be an office or playroom? Can one bathroom be a designated guest bathroom, and therefore, decorated as such, and the other having only what your family needs? Decide what you're going to do with the space you have.
2. Once you have made that decision, determine what furniture you need, and what you can reasonably expect to use to accommodate guests and family gatherings. Make sure you allow for valuable family heirlooms and antiques in this, and if you're not using them, pass them on. Get rid of everything else. Sell it, toss it, strike a match putitonthecurb just GET RID OF IT!
3. Everything else has to fit in/on/under what you have left (this includes closets, cupboards, pantries, etc). If you have collections of three different sets of figurines but only have room for one collection, choose your fave and get rid of the rest. Just remember you'll still be dusting them, and that is cleaning stuff.
4. When sorting through clutter, expect it to take time. It is not a one-day job. And once you start, you'll want to keep going. Take a three-day weekend if you want, or do one room every weekend day, and one closet every weeknight. You might want to stock a couple of frozen pizzas...
5. Don't be too sentimental. My parents saved work from my childhood - which was great, really, now my son knows my handwriting was sloppy and I had crappy hair once, too. But really, is it going to contribute to my life? Am I going to haul it out and make a slide show out of it? I don't need it. I kept 2-3 things and old school yearbooks (which I probably didn't need, either). I tossed all the stuffed animals. I unceremoniously dumped a lot of junk that was taking up space so I could look at it once a year while I was trying to determine if I should keep it or not. Decide you will live for tomorrow, not yesterday.
6. Are you really going to use that? Decide how much space you want to devote to storing items for projects that you want to do or may have to. Pick and choose what you will keep, the cream of the crop, and dispose of the rest of it. Do this with everything else in your house - how much space do you want to use to store the items (clothing, pots and pans, kids' toys, cosmetics, etc.) and keep only the items you get the most and/or best use from. (Keep the LBD, even if you only use it once a year, toss the parachute pants and expired food.)
7. Go through it all again.
8. Repeat step 7.
9. If you have been serious about this, you should be at a manageable pile of stuff. Try to organize it - winter clothes in one color of storage container, kids' toys in another. (I don't have all the toys out at once, I rotate them so instead of buying new things, the children feel they're playing with new toys when in reality they haven't seen them in two months.) Organize your pantry, your closets, bathroom, kitchen, and drawers so you know where to find things, and can clean and tidy up easily. Arrange the decor you kept and keep it streamlined - rotate seasonally instead of having all the non-seasonal items out at once.
10. Take a look around at your bright, clutter-free house. Doesn't it just have a designer feel to it? Congratulate yourself and figure out what you are going to do with all the extra time you can use now to NOT clean up stuff. Like maybe invest in gardening. But be careful, if you get a new hobby you might be doing this all over again next year!
Junk, it multiplies faster than rabbits. I hope these clutter-busting techniques prove to assist you in making the junk deluge disappear from your house.
Is anyone else out there decluttering or downsizing this spring?