Unless you start spring cleaning now, it’ll soon be 2017 and the junk will still be there. At 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, we have over 26 years of experience helping people reclaim their space, so we know a few things about deculttering. Here are a few tips to help you get through your spring cleaning checklist.
Schedule spring cleaning day (even if this means “every Sunday” for a few weeks)
Maybe it’s an obvious tip, but setting out time in advance to get on top of your spring cleaning will mean it won’t be something you ignore until summer comes around. Planning ahead and circling a day in your calendar will help you keep that day free for freeing yourself from the clutter. And it doesn’t have to be one day – you can even put aside a few mornings or afternoons over a few weeks.
Create piles for recycling, donating, and trash
It might just seem like you’re moving items from one pile to the next, but having designated sorting plies can be a good way to visually compare the items you are keeping, recycling, donating, and throwing away. Having things out in the open can also assure you don’t throw things away that you shouldn’t, and will give you a second chance to consider if you really need all the things you have in your “keep” pile. Just make sure those piles are gone when you wrap up your cleaning – no creating new clutter!
Tackle one room at a time, so your progress keeps you motivated
You don’t have to do it all at once. Spring cleaning can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task, so break it down into a room-by-room process and you’ll soon find yourself saying goodbye to all the junk and hello to your free space! Reward yourself as you go along – as each room is completed give yourself a treat like a massage, a trip to the theatre, a run, a nap, or even a delicious cupcake.
Have a place for everything. Get a filing cabinet. No more paper piles!
While many are moving towards a paperless future, there are others (like me) that still have plenty of bills, paperwork, and notes stacking up around the place. And then there are the clothes, the gadgets, the books, and everything else! Having designated places for all of your stuff will be a huge help when cleaning up. Instead of just moving them from one spot to another, or one pile to another, have your files, your bookshelf, and all of your other storage systems in place and waiting.
If you haven’t used it in more than a year, you can probably find it a new home
Classic tip here! But it’s a classic for a reason. It can be hard to get rid of your stuff. Be it because you spent your hard-earned money on it, or because it was a gift from someone you care about, or even because it’s something you can see yourself possibly using some point in the distant future. If it’s an item that you haven’t used in more than a year, then how necessary is it? If you’re having a hard time choosing what clutter to clear, this is the perfect starting point to help you decide.
Make a playlist of your favorite songs to entertain you while you go through your items
As a child of the 80s, I fondly recall many a cleaning/makeover scene from movies like Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and Adventures in Babysitting (note to parents: what’s with those 80s babysitters anyway?) Create your own musical montage with some of your favorite tunes and rock out while you clean up. You’ll soon find the time flying by and turn a tedious undertaking into a fun afternoon.
Make an event of it: invite family and friends, provide snacks and music, then return the favor!
Who doesn’t like a good party? Set up an event with your family and friends where you can turn your overwhelming cleaning chore into a fun and unique get-together. The more hands helping, the faster it will go by. And by providing food, drink, and some lively music, it won’t just be any old boring clean out. Do make sure to return the favor though, and help your friends organize a cleaning party of their own!
Designate a charity or charities to receive those items you no longer need
Nothing is more motivating than knowing the work you are doing is benefiting others, especially those less fortunate than yourself. Select a charity or charities to receive the gently-used and reusable items that you no longer need. Having this in the back of your mind when decluttering will definitely make it easier to say goodbye to items. This is a great way to keep the kids motivated too – let them help choose a new home for their old toys with a child in need! Just make sure to follow the guidelines for donation at your charity of choice, and clean the items before dropping them off. Check out our guide to what items charity thrift stores will and won’t take.
A little bit of a shout-out to a show we are very proud to work with! Not only is Hoarders an entertaining and emotional show that shines the spotlight on a serious issue and compassionately helps with those dealing with hoarding problems, it’s also a great motivational tool. Seeing people overcome a huge emotional obstacle, and many piles of junk, can be a great way to motivate yourself to start your spring cleaning. What’s a few crowded closets and messy bedrooms in comparison?
With just a few simple tips, you can totally change the outlook of your spring cleaning and move from cloudy weather into sunnier times.
Do you have any spring cleaning tips to share?
Alana Free is a PR Manager for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and sister companies You Move Me and WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. While seemingly a mild-mannered geek who believes that Goonies never say die, Alana is actually a member of a secret league of Australians slowly taking over North America. You can connect with her via LinkedIn.