OK, so spring is finally here in New England. We all thought it would never make it. It was a long winter!! Painful actually. Now, the sun is out and it is time to enjoy the outdoors -- until you realize there are still leaves in the yard and the fence needs fixing. Really I am not complaining. I just spent the whole weekend with the kids raking, planting, buying a new bush or two, and mulching. It was great to get out and get some hard work done. It is so rewarding.
But following the yard clean-up, which I was quite proud of myself for doing without any of hubby's help (he was studying for finals and writing papers. Super fun!), I discovered all the other clutter that needed to be cleaned up -- on the porch, under the deck, and throughout the house. The clutter takes it toll on us doesn't it? I don't know about you, but I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when the clutter is gone. The papers are off the kitchen island, the thousands of kid drawings come down, for at least a day, from the frigde (or at least they are thinned out), the toys are sorted, the winter clothes put away and the spring clothes pulled out.
It is a ton of work to do all that but de-cluttering the house, our office, our vehicles, and schedules can really make a difference in how we think about our days and ourselves. Here are some helpful hints on de-cluttering from my friend the professional organizer:
1.) Determine your project and the time you have.
2.) Sort. Pull everything out of the container, closet, drawer, box, or whatever it is you are cleaning up. Then sort into piles; toss, keep, give away are the three big topics. From the keep pile, continue to sort into categories.
3.) Purge. Take the toss pile and TOSS IT. Don't think "maybe I will need it some day." Nine times out of 10 you won't. But if you still aren't sure put it in another pile to check back on it in 30 days. If you have not needed it, toss it!
4.) Store. Find the right containers or places for the items you will keep. Make sure you have enough space for growth if it is an area that you know will grow, such as filing.
I have a filing system on the wall of my kitchen. It is for mail and miscellaneous papers. We have six bins, bought at an office-supply store, very inexpensively. Each bin has an owner. There is a mail bin for each person in the family, plus two more for contact/phone lists and incoming mail. This helps me to keep my kitchen island from being over-taken by mail.
Be sure to go back and purge old items again every six to 12 months. I try to clean out my closet every six months and my filing every 12 months.