You might have your rubber gloves and bleach ready for some serious spring cleaning, but we are talking about a spring cleaning that will last all year long! As we have told you before, organizing and cleaning are two different animals. But while you’re still in the spring cleaning mindset, let’s get really down and dirty to create a space that is both functional and clutter free.
We want to teach you the steps to creating a “clean” home that you can easily maintain year round. This will take continuous effort, but once you get a process in place it will become second nature and easy for everyone to follow!
First look around your home. What do you see; piles of junk mail or kid’s toys all over the floor? Now close your eyes and think about what you want to see. What do you want your space to do and how do you want it to look and function? Using this vision, make a goal for what this spring cleaning process will bring to your space.
Now that you know your goal, let’s go through the steps to get there.
Step 1: Sort
Keeping the end goal in mind, start going through all the items in your space and we mean everything! Create an area where you can place the sorted items into three categories:
While sorting, start to group similar items that you want to keep, creating multiple keep piles. These piles will become useful in step 3 and 4.
To keep things organized, place items to toss directly in a trash bag and have a box ready for all of your donation items so you don’t mix up your piles.
If you have trouble making a decision on keeping or donating/tossing an item… it’s probably time for it to go. Which leads us to…
Step 2: Purge
Did you know you only use 20% of the things you own? It might be hard to admit, but we all know it’s true. We see it with our clients and friends daily. This step might be a normal process in your annual spring cleaning, but when using all five steps together, next year will be different.
Steps 1 and 2 will usually happen in unison but are both important steps in the process.
Step 3: Assign
Now let’s think back to our end goal. How do we want our home to look and function? With that in mind, assign the grouped keep piles a home. You might want to move them to a different part of the house where you have other similar items or create a new space for them in the current room. This is the step were you need to think about the best place to store your items. Once we know where we want to store them, we can figure out how to contain them.
Step 4: Containerize
When we say contain, we aren’t just talking about the plastic containers that hold your Christmas decorations in the garage, although those work perfectly in some spaces. A container could be a shelf, a drawer, a cabinet or a bin…it just depends. These containers define how you keep items decluttered in your space and should be contained there to help keep the clutter away and things organized in your home.
Last but certainly not least…
Step 5: Maintain
Maintenance is the key to keeping your clutter from returning for another deep spring cleaning next year. The amount of maintenance can vary, depending on the space and the items in it. Some spaces may only require annual or semi-annual maintenance, while others are weekly or daily.
Maintenance is also important for new items you bring into your home. When you purchase an item in the store, note where it would best be assigned based on your current organization. Make sure to place that item in its assigned contained place or you will be creating clutter. This clutter over time will bring you back to square one and who wants to do all this work for nothing?
Though it is important to keep everyone in your household involved in the process, steps 3-5 are especially critical. If everyone in the home knows where things are assigned and contained it will be easier to keep the house organized. Items that usually clutter the house, now have a home and everyone is responsible for putting things back where they belong.
Ultimately, clearing out the clutter will create order and peace in your home but will also save you time and money. You won’t be buying items you already have but have misplaced, and you can sleep in an extra 5 minutes knowing you have all the things you need for the next day in the right place!
So really, what’s stopping you from clearing out your clutter this spring?