It's here people...the time of the year when we are supposed to focus on rebirth and renewal as flowers begin to bloom, baby farm animals fill the landscape, and, of course, the most important "renewal"/"rebirth" in this professional organizer's opinion, SPRING CLEANING/DECLUTTERING!
Yep, as we come out of our respective places of winter hibernation we must all face the fact that spring has arrived and we need to start to evaluate the state of our homes after getting through another season of maintaining and containing lots of season-appropriate "stuff"
And, if you are like most people living in a cold-weather state...like those of us here in Colorado...the copious amounts of coats, gloves, scarves, skis, skates, and other outdoor gear have no doubt taken over your front hall, mudrooms, and garages not to mention your cars if you happen to be someone (like me) that keeps a lot in the trunk for those times when you either weren't sure what the weather would end up being like on any given day and/or wanted the flexibility to head to the mountains at a moments notice to go for a hike or maybe take advantage last minute of a fresh powder day.
There was a time when I used to have to move my clothes around from one season to the next but even before the pandemic put me in leggings every day, I had already pared down my wardrobe significantly since moving to Colorado from Florida. While I have obviously "geared up"...A LOT...in the past 5+ years, I have been very intentional with my purchases and don't have a need to do very much to transition to spring. Every stitch of clothing I own fits in my small but extremely functional bedroom closet, two dressers or in my front hall closet (jackets only).
That said, not everyone has my desire to be somewhat of a minimalist and therefore I offer you my top 5 tips for "springing" into organizing mode this spring beyond the typical KEEP-TOSS-DONATE strategy that professional organizers preach ad nauseam...
1. Before you open a drawer, closet, or cabinet, be sure to write down your goals. Try to be specific and not just write "Get rid of s$%t". I mean, you need to get rid of stuff but create a realistic action plan just like you would for any other adulting project. Seriously, pretend that this is your job for X number of hours/days. Whether you are a lover of spreadsheets or still find satisfaction in actually writing things down on paper or maybe even a whiteboard, go around room by room and take stock of what you see and how it makes you feel. Any discomfort means you really need to dig deep and list all of the things you don't like about the space or you know that you need to purge or repurpose somewhere else.
2..Once you have decided on your clutter pain points, try to estimate the amount of time it will take you to complete each area. I recommend to my clients when they are working to maintain certain spaces to also keep track of the actual time it took. If it took longer than they anticipated and it overwhelmed them in the process then they need to reassess how much time they should set aside in the future to avoid feeling like they failed and, therefore, won't attempt to maintain the space again.
3. Now that you know what you want to accomplish and the amount of time you think it will take, only you can decide if you want to tackle it all at once or spread it out over several days or maybe even weeks depending on your availability. Remember, you should never bite off more than you can chew at one time. Even the most high-energy people like me need breaks whether we admit it or not. Set a timer for at least once an hour and step away from the area you are working in. Do some situps, jumping jacks, meditate, take a 5-minute walk, or whatever will get you re-centered for another hour.
4.. Don't get distracted by taking things from one area to the next. Keep a box, bin, or basket in the current area to put the things that you find in the wrong place that need to be taken eventually to where the items really should be stored/displayed.
5. Keep an inventory of where you put seldom-used items. You may think you'll remember where you put them, but most people don't and when they can't find what they are looking for they go out and buy it yet again. This is such a waste of time and money so if you are someone that tends to forget then I highly recommend taking this extra step. And make sure you are very specific when indicating where you put something. Don't just say "kitchen cabinet next to fridge". Indicate which shelf as well as the container or exact spot on the shelf. If you are even somewhat spreadsheet savvy it will be much easier to keep the inventory electronically. I had a client with early-onset dementia and we had to essentially inventory everything in the house down to where she was keeping paper clips. This system was such a huge help for her until she was no longer able to really find things or put them back where they belonged on her own and had to hire a full-time caregiver who, in turn, used the inventory to maintain the necessary order.
I hope all of the above gives you the jump start you need. It is by no means a guarantee for complete success but it is definitely worth trying. If, however, you are still feeling overwhelmed by even the thought of decluttering, feel free to contact me for a free 30 minute no obligation virtual consult by clicking HERE. I am so passionate about what I do and never want anyone to struggle with something that comes so easily to me. There's no judgment...only compassion. Trust me, there are plenty of things I cannot do and, therefore, I always seek out the experts who can help me through my adulting pain points. Just ask my accountant...I promise that nothing good would ever come from me doing my own taxes!
And speaking of taxes, don't forget...as if you could...tax day is just around the corner. You have a few extra days this year in case you didn't know. April 18th is the deadline. Sorry, I know that is a pain point for everyone but unfortunately one we must not avoid.
By the way...if you happen to have been displaced by the Marshall Fire here in the Boulder area 3 months ago you actually have an extra month to file your taxes. For more information, click HERE .
One final thing that doesn't have anything to do with spring cleaning/decluttering but I am willing to go off-topic because of how important it is to me...if you are able to help our friends at Lending A Hand keep their FREE STORE open, please consider making a monetary donation. The founder, Serena Overson, has been working tirelessly since the middle of the pandemic to be able to offer free items to those in our community with an immediate and desperate need. While the primary focus over the past 3 months has been to support the Marshall Fire victims, there will always be a need to support those who are struggling financially to even meet their basic needs. Check out the story about this amazing woman by clicking HERE and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DONATE! The easiest way is to simply Venmo @lendngahandhub. It will go to the non-profit account that has been set up and verified or you can reach out to Serena via Facebook Messenger for more information.
Be well, be safe and, most importantly, always be kind,