Love It or Lose It
Spring cleaning. Just the thought of wading through all your stuff to clean it out inspires dismay/revulsion/dread in the hearts of many!
But fear not! Though it seems like a daunting task, these tips can help you survive the whole process.
Start. People often tell me that they are so overwhelmed they don’t even know where to start. This is entirely understandable! The key is – pick one area (usually the one that causes you the most stress) and start.
Bite-Size Pieces. Nobody wants to spend their whole weekend pawing through their
closets, attics and kitchens looking for stuff they no longer want. It’s not fun!
So give yourself a break and manage your expectations and set aside a half-hour per day to work on decluttering. If you want to blitz it, try for no more than three hours on a free day – after that, you’ll get googly-eyed and will be totally useless. And won’t want to do it again….
Stage it. Set up a staging area with boxes or bags for:
Sort. Decide on the area you want to concentrate on, and start to sort into the boxes/bags above.
Decide what you love. What gives you joy (thank you Marie Kondo), peace, inspires a smile. If you had to leave quickly because of a fire or some other disaster, what would you grab that you must have always?
Past it’s sell date. If it’s broken, old or expired, it’s gone. Go through your kitchen cabinets and toss anything past their expiration date.
Be honest with yourself. Only keep what you really love! Not the ugly antimacassar that your deceased aunt gave you or the silver plated casserole dish from grandma that you'll never use. Remember – they’re just things.
You’ll always have the memories of the people. And taking a photo of the items may help you keep the memories and lose the stuff.
Take it away! At the end of each session, put the recycling in the recycling bin, take the trash out, put the donations bag and shredding pile in your car (take shredding to Staples or Office Depot for secure shredding).
Quick clean. Do a brief wipe down with a damp cloth, and sweep/vacuum the area you just completed. No need to scrub – just a surface clean now. You can come back later to do a deep clean.
Celebrate. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, even if it was only for half an hour. Do whatever gives you joy – a glass of wine, cup of coffee, chat with a friend, or curl up with your dog.
Really – this is important, not just self-serving! This stuff is hard, and you deserve to be rewarded for doing a hard thing. And it’ll also encourage you to do it again!