Bye Bye Winter and Hello Spring... Clutter!
Look outside and you see sunshine and green again! Step outside and you feel cooler mornings and warmer afternoons. Spring has arrived and it's my favorite time of year because it's time to DE-clutter! Say what? Yes, it may be beautiful outside but spring cleaning is top of mind for many. The thing of it is, why is it that every Spring we have a need to declutter? Let's dig a little deeper and think about what has lead us to this point where we ultimately have this need.
Maybe it's just that your kids are growing and they no longer fit into what they wear. Maybe they no longer play with their toys because they've outgrown those too. But maybe it's the quantity of toys and clothes that surprise you that they never played with or never wore because for that stage they were in, it was too much.
For others, it's possible you have reached an age or a stage, or both, where you are ready to downsize. You look around and see your life's accumulation and it's overwhelming, so you are probably already reflecting on how you got to this place. Know you are not alone in this feeling!
It's time to look forward. Ask yourself these key questions to help keep the clutter at a minimum so that next season or next Spring, we are not falling into the same trap:
1. Do I really need more décor for Spring?
2. How many outfits is too much for a child? Or for myself or my significant other? Think about how often you do laundry and how many outfits you really need. I highly recommend checking out a capsule wardrobe or thinking more on what would work for you. This applies to everyone in your house. (Side note, I found that once I stopped buying my kids so many clothes, they stopped changing so many times and therefore I had a lot less laundry to do). TIP: When hanging Spring clothes, the key here is to hang clothes BACKWARDS for everyone in the house, so the question mark of a hanger is backwards. This will tell you at the end of the season what you have each worn and what you have not. Anything you haven't worn, it's time to let go of. This will also help determine how many outfits you really need.
3. Was I organized with my paper accumulation last year? If not, how can I do better this year?
4. If I accumulated a lot of books, why am I not buying them on an electronic reader? If I like hard copy books, why am I not using my local library instead?
5. How many blankets do I really need per person in my house? TIP: For anything you donate, find a cause you care about. Maybe there is a charity that supports your local community. For those extra blankets and sheets, check your local animal shelter. For stuffed animals or toys, check your local churches or preschools. The key here is to ask questions and do your research. Facebook community groups are a great resource to ask others where they donate.
So now that you can possibly avoid some of the clutter next time here's a quick list of places to start:
1. Winter décor. Try to narrow it down to 1-2 containers. Do this before putting out Spring décor.
2. Winter clothes. Put away all outdoor winter gloves, hats, jackets, heavier sweaters, sweatshirts, etc. Anything you didn't wear or that no longer fits, donate.
3. Winter gear such as shovels, ice picks etc may need to be kept out until April depending on where you live, but here in Texas, it's time to find a nice place in the garage or attic for these.
4. Trinkets. Walk through your house and see what is collecting dust and that you are no longer enjoying. Sometimes having these set out is just clutter.
5. Old tax files. It is recommended to keep 7 years of tax files on hand in case you get audited.
6. Other papers that you can let go of include bank statements (you should have these electronic), miscellaneous receipts you've kept that are past any return date, etc. This is the time of year that I recommend to make sure you have your papers organized and dispose of what is not needed anymore.
7. Books. Go through all your books and see what you can donate, bring to a book store or your local library.
8. Blankets. Check your stash and see what you used and what you didn't use this past winter. Anything unused gets donated.
9. Junk drawer in the kitchen, bathroom drawers, bedroom end table drawers, dresser drawers. Anywhere that small items are accumulating and being neglected.
Once you get through this list, know that you are not done. The real work comes in trying not to accumulate over the next season! Just know it takes time to change habits, so be kind to yourself and just keep trying. I also recommend to not just address the clutter for Spring but to address it 4 times per year, at the end of each season. I live in Texas and we like to joke that Fall is only a few weeks long and Spring is hit or miss as sometimes it's just an extension to Winter for us Texans lol! But still, we do have 4 seasons so its important to keep up on clearing the clutter and not bringing so much clutter in. Enjoy the sunshine when you can but then buckle down and just start. You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish once you get started.