The sun has finally arrived in Charleston! And to that I have to say...
I am emerging from my winter funk and ready for new beginnings. There's just something energizing about spring that makes people want to get sh*t done, amirite?!
And if you're like me, you are probably ready to do a deep house cleanse and kick that clutter to the curb so you can enjoy the sunshine. But where do you start? This is where most of us get stumped. Or, we start cleaning, get overwhelmed and stop - then we are even more overwhelmed and nothing gets done! Well, not this year. This year is different, my friend. Let's do some spring cleaning de-cluttered style, so you can form new habits that STICK.
Step 1: Get in the De-Cluttered Frame of Mind
If you ask any cleaning pro out there, they will always urge you to de-clutter before doing any kind of deep clean. Why? Because cleaning around clutter is like swimming upstream. You are not actually cleaning anything. You are missing opportunity, and you are going to waste precious time doing an ineffective cleaning if you keep the same stuff right where it is. So, just like any normal de-cluttering session, take your time. But you have to get in the right frame of mind and be ready to purge.
Step 2: Start With Your Hot Spot
We all have that one area (or several) in your house that drives you absolutely bonkers. This is probably your "catch all" place, like a mud room, laundry room or office. It's the place where you put things that do not have immediate "homes" that come to mind. But if everything has a home, you will always know where it is. And if you know where it is, you will always use it. Remember: if you aren't using something, why bother having it?
If you have several hot spots, place them in order from most stressful to least stressful. Start with the most stressful hot spot and work your way through to the least.
Step 3: Take Everything Out of the Area You Are De-Cluttering
Yes, everything. It's not worth your while to clean around things. Trust me.
Step 4: Sort as You Go
Once everything is out of the space you are de-cluttering, sort each and every time. You should have several piles, boxes or bags labeled with the following destinations:
Sort as you go. Have containers for these categories before you start. Keep it efficient from the get-go.
Step 5: Before You Put Anything Back - Clean!
Don't even think of putting anything back until you do a total floor-to-ceiling cleaning. For example, if you chose a closet to de-clutter, and it is completely empty (can you believe it?!), you need to vacuum the floors, dust the lights, wipe down the walls and the baseboard, clean the shelves and the inside of any drawers. Sure, this may sound a bit laborious, but think about how rejuvenating it will be once it's done! And since that closet is completely empty, this step should really take no time at all.
Step 6: Put Things Back the Way You Use Them
If it's in your line of sight, you'll use it. Give everything a home.
Step 7: Discard Your Piles Appropriately
If you need help with ideas on what to do with your stuff or where to donate/consign, check out my list of resources in the Charleston area.
Step 8: Keep Your Cleaning Supplies Where You Use Them
This is a little-known secret tip that I use. This may sound hypocritical coming from ME - the one person who urges you to simplify and to not have several of the same objects. But, hear me out. If you are brushing your teeth and think, "Look at this filthy counter. I want to wipe down all those makeup and toothpaste stains." And then you have to walk downstairs to grab your wipes from beneath the kitchen sink, past a dozen or so other distractions...what are the odds that you are actually going to do it?
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Your cleaning supplies do not have to be abundant. They just need to be in the place for which you use them. Keep what you use, where you use it, and - get this - you'll actually use it.
If anything, keep the basics under every sink in the house. It could be as simple as a box of baking soda and white vinegar if you are worried about toxins being in arms reach of the kiddos. This makes those aspirational quick cleanses much more feasible. And, you just deep cleaned all of your bathrooms while you were spring cleaning anyway, so you have plenty of room to store these supplies on hand, right?! *nudge, nudge*
Now go enjoy your clean space and happy spring!