I’m going to be honest when I say that the start of 2021 hasn’t been my favorite. Everything seems so much harder now – work, relationships, exercise. I am feeling the Covid-19 fatigue right where it hurts, my heart (corny, I know), but being in the same space for such an extended period of time just gets old.
Luckily, I moved recently which has been a great joy, but it has also been an exercise in decluttering my life in more ways than one. If my mind is out of sorts, an unorganized space tends to only make things worse.
If you’re in the same boat, listen up – Decluttering and organizing can be an act of self-love. Donating that old pair of jeans that fit just right but now don’t slip on past your thighs. Cleaning out your junk drawer and finding old relics of your past and being able to put them to rest. So, in honor of Spring Cleaning, I wanted to share some of my favorite tips from the many hours of quarantine binge-watching cleaning shows that have accompanied me while I packed up my apartment and moved into a new one.
Be OK With the Mess and Start Small
This may sound a little obvious and simple, but if you’re someone that gets distracted easily, like me, it’s important. After a move, it’s easy to think you can organize it all at one time, and before you know it, you’ve unpacked everything in every room and it starts to look like you were robbed.
Spring cleaning can be fun, especially after everything is complete and in order. I like the feeling of making a mess and cleaning it up, but there have been times when I have taken off more than I can chew, and it has made me never want to clean again.
Know what you need when you start to declutter and create a plan. Only have one hour on the weekend? Try taking everything out of one or two cabinets instead of the whole kitchen and everything under the sink.
Make a Plan, But Be Realistic
Decluttering is messy and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. I love Marie Kondo’s method of dumping everything out of your clothes closet and actually seeing what you have. An episode of The Home Edit and Cleaning up with Marie Condo are neatly tied up in a forty-five-minute episode, but life is busy. While I love dumping everything out and watching a bigger pile turn into a smaller pile, that isn’t always realistic.
We all have busy lives and before you know it, the one hour you spent dumping your clothes onto your bed has turned into a four-hour cleanup job. There is nothing worse than dumping everything out in every room and then having a total mess everywhere. Sometimes being realistic means starting with one drawer. Starting at the back of your closet or your drawer is great especially if you are pressed for time.
Have an Accountability Partner, or Don’t
On the topic of cleaning your closet, some people have really strong attachments to their clothes. Whether that be a sense of nostalgia, thriftiness, or feeling like you’re throwing out your hard-earned money, deciding what clothes to keep and what to give away is comparable to slowly ripping off a week-old bandaid.
I have a strong attachment to the clothes that I used to fit, and in my decluttering process, I often found myself pining over my favorite pair of jeans that I can no longer get past my thighs. I know I need to be alone when it comes to cleaning out my closet, as donating what used to fit me feels like an emotional process. The last thing I need is someone in the room providing their own opinion.
On the other hand, my husband is the complete opposite. When we moved in together, he brought his entire wardrobe from his childhood home. This meant old t-shirts (one of which he wore in his grade 10 school photo), every single pair of pajamas he has ever owned, old work shorts, socks with holes in them, you get the picture. If it wasn’t for me forcing his hand, he would have likely brought everything over to our new apartment over the sheer avoidance of wanting to “rip off the bandaid”.
When it comes to this dreaded task, know what you need to do to be successful. Ask for time alone, or ask for someone to lend their eye and hold you accountable. Either way, it feels great to donate a big bag of clothes and reduce down your closet!
Bonus: My top three rules for successfully cleaning out your closet
- If you haven’t worn it in a year, donate it.
- Say goodbye to the clothes that are no longer in fashion, or were just in trend for a season or two.
- If you are short on space like me, pack your clothes into seasonal bins. This not only saves space in your closet so you can see what you have but packing up/unpacking seasonal clothes is a great way to keep up with decluttering.
Find Inspiration Online, but Don’t Let it Distract You from Achieving Your Goals
If my weekly screen time report has taught me anything, it’s that I spend too much on my phone. While I love looking for inspiration online, don’t let looking for inspiration distract you from achieving your goals. Instead of spending your time watching an episode of The Home Edit, try cleaning while watching. Bonus points if you can find an episode where the room they are working on is the same room as you. It’s my favorite way of staying on track while feeling not completely alone while cleaning.
Some of my Favorite Space Saving Tips
- Bags, purses and backpacks fit wonderfully into one another. Save space by putting all your purses, bags into bags.
- Velvet hangers – slimmer, different colours for extra organization and color coding!
- Ultize pop can tabs to save space and hang clothes vertically.
- Ever wonder how clothes are so nicely folded in stores? Magic of course! In the form of a t-shirt folding board. Definitely makes folding fun and having perfectly folded clothes makes them easy to get the most out of your drawers.
Set a Budget
You can splurge on items and find ones to save on. If you’re a fan of the latest cleaning shows on Netflix and are in awe at the beautiful clear containers with dry goods and cursive white ink, you know the sticker shock when it comes to picking them up from the store. There are lots of items like cloth bins that are perfect for your dresser drawers, and you can usually get these from the dollar store. IMO splurging on nice plastic bins is worth the investment for keeping the pantry and fridge organized.
Lastly, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate all your hard work.
Whether you are a seasoned organizer or searching for new ways to clear your mind and freshen up your space, these tips and tricks will set you on the right path. Not sure what to toss? Check out our last blog post for a full rundown.