Organize + Energize: Spring Cleaning - 10 Things You Can Get Rid of Now That You Won’t Miss
Tuesday, April 03, 2018
Kristin MacRae, GoLocalWorcester Organizing Expert
The weather is changing, the sun is shining and it’s a great time of year to clear the stagnant energy and bring fresh energy into your home. Release the clutter that’s dragging you down. Think about everything in your home that is holding you back from functioning at your most efficient and productive level. It’s time to make some changes. Wondering where you should begin? It’s a good idea to walk into a room and re-evaluate anything that is collecting dust. If it’s collecting dust, chances are you haven’t looked at it or used it in quite some time.
Here are 10 things to add to your spring cleaning to-do list:
Old magazines. If you have to blow the dust off of your magazines, it’s time to let them go. Are you storing magazines by the bed, in your den or other areas of your home? Just think about the dust that is accumulating on your nightstand or in a basket by the bed that you are breathing in while you are sleeping. Are you really going to read these magazines any time soon? Check the dates. How long have they been sitting there?
Outdated papers. Once a year you should go through your filing cabinet and purge your files. This won’t be an overwhelming task if it’s tackled every year. Either throw away or shred files that you no longer need. Store old statements that you’re keeping in a weather resistant bin and have a place where you can keep them. Your filing cabinet should be used for current information.
Anything that needs to be shred. If you have piles of shred around your home, now is the time to get rid of them. Gather them and put this task on your to-do list to shred them yourself, take them to a shredding facility or find the nearest shred event and take care of it.
VHS tapes. How many VHS movies are you holding onto? Unless you have a plan to take them to be converted to DVD, it’s time to make a decision about what you want to do with them. Be honest, when are you really going to watch them again?
Things that belong to other people. You have items that you have borrowed that need to be returned. There is a pile somewhere in your home of these exact items. Gather these items, separate them and put the task on your to-do list to get them back to these people. Get them out of your home.
Things that you’re saving for other people. Before you think about giving something to somebody, whether it’s an article or book you want them to read, a sentimental item or a hand-me-down, think about if the person really wants it. Sometimes people will take items because they feel guilty or they don’t want to offend you. This process becomes a vicious cycle and some people’s basements are proof of this. Don’t let these items clutter up your home or other people’s homes.
Anything in your closet that isn’t wearable. When you switch over your closets in a month, it’s time to get rid of stained, ripped and worn out clothes. It’s time to get rid of clothes that are too big or too small and ones you know you will never fit into again. It’s also time to get rid of outdated, out of fashion clothes. Give your closet a huge makeover and you will feel fabulous when you are done.
Anything broken. If it’s broken and it’s been broken for over a year, it may be time to get rid of it. Think about how much it will cost you to fix it. Is it just easier to get rid of it and purchase a brand new one? If you have many broken items in your home and they’ve been sitting there for years, it may be time to let them go.
Expired medication. I always tell clients it’s a preference if you want to toss expired meds. Everybody has different opinions. At least take inventory of all your meds so you at least know what you have. Take a peek at the expiration dates just to see how long you’ve been hanging on to these meds. If you don’t have one, create a first-aid kit for the upcoming spring/summer seasons.
Negative energy. Is the clutter in your home draining your energy? Does it make you tired and sluggish? Do you feel like you are really busy but not very productive? Clutter and disorganization will have a negative effect on you and your surroundings. Clear the clutter, get organized and allow positive energy to flow through your home.
Grab your to-do list and start planning for these projects. If you’re overwhelmed, these projects are a great way to jump into getting organized. Enjoy this time of year and spring ahead with a clear mind and a decluttered, organized home. When you are finished, you will approach life in ways you never thought you could.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.
Paper in any form
This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.
To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.
When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.
This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.
The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization. Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.
Office at work
Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.
If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.
Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.
When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.
This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.