De-cluttering for Dummies


The sun has really started to shine in Chicagoland and with is, energy levels are starting to rise. I think this is why Spring Cleaning is such a natural concept; we’re ready to get out from under the clutter and dust of the winter hibernation.

Personally, I’ve taken up a de-cluttering project at my house. It’s amazing the things we hold onto: old magazines; too small clothes; too big clothes; wires; gadgets; cards…it’s time to stop kidding ourselves and know that we don’t actually need these things. Though it may seem hard to throw them out, the second they thump to the bottom of that trash can, you’ll feel just a little bit lighter.If de-cluttering seems overwhelming, here are a couple of strategies to get started:

  1. Get 4 large boxes and label them: Keep, Give Away, Repair, Trash. (If you have a vacation home, you could add a fifth box of things to move there).
  2. Pour out boxes, empty cupboards and closets. Things need to get worse before they get better!
  3. Put on some music or your favorite TV show and start sorting!

When it comes to clothes, the basic rule is: if you haven’t worn it in 6 months, it can go. And if you need a little guidance, go through your closet and turn EVERY hanger backwards on the rod. When you wear the garment, put the hanger back the way you usually hang it. Six months from now, you’ll be able to tell right away what you’ve worn and what you haven’t.

Need another trick? Some experts say to go “shopping” in your own closet; if you wouldn’t buy it now, it can go.

De-cluttering and organizing can be fun. More practically, it can make a huge difference in your productivity. Though some people say that a messy office or house means that you’re actually working, I would argue that all that clutter bogs you down! When the space around you is clear and tidy, so is your mind and your motivation. A change of scenery can do wonders to kick-start productivity or turn a bad mood around. But there’s no need to pick up and move to a new office, kitchen, bedroom or closet, just make it look better and it will feel brand new.

Psychologically, when our surroundings are a mess, we tend to feel overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done. In the back of our minds, we know that the unorganized state of our space means that our lives, our to-do lists and our schedules are also hectic. There are many things over which we don’t have much control (the time of that meeting, the kid’s school party…) but the state of our homes is completely and wholly our own.

So, why not start a de-cluttering project of your own? Get rid of everything that you don’t need; there’s no need to hold onto things that we may someday have to use. Use the kick-start of energy the sun brings to make a difference in your home or office and you’ll feel much better about rising with it to start a new day.