This is a guest post from professional organizer Terri Albert a.k.a. The Chicago Organizer. This post is part of our Spring Cleaning with Zeal blog campaign. Check back next Friday for more ways on how to actively spring clean via organizing solution experts MyClothingHelper. These are Terri’s tips on how to effectively cut down on the clutter:
- Keep a bag or box to collect donations out at all times and then take it to a local charity outlet as soon as it fills up. Be realistic that if a piece of clothing doesn’t look or feel right when you put it on, it belongs in donate. Please don’t say “I may wear this someday” as styles change, your weight changes, and your personal look changes over time. If some kitchen gadget or a set of dishes are never going to be used again, put it in donate
- Weed through your books. You’re using your Kindle or Nook these days. The library is nearby. Books are heavy and cumbersome especially as you get older. I know you find comfort in the titles you read and to be surrounded by them, but please part with a portion of your collection to make it easier when you decide to move into a smaller residence or when future generations need to pack up your home. Go online to a great charity, Open Books, for a donation pickup. You need to have your books boxed or bagged.
- Regularly schedule time on your calendar weekly until your decluttering projects are finished. If you’re overwhelmed just spend one hour at a time and work when your energy level is the highest. Have tunnel vision and work on the simplest room or just one closet or one drawer at a time. Get rid of obvious items first. Then go through everything at least once more. You’ll find decision-making easier and less painful the second time around.
- Find a Clutter Buddy as their presence without doing the work itself often is enough to keep you focused and motivated. Or consider bringing in a Professional Organizer to do the heavy lifting, take away your donation items, and help you manage the project from start to finish.
- Ask your grown children to remove their personal possessions as soon as possible. Arrange for them to store family memorabilia such as slides and photographs.
- Let your children have some of your special belongings, perhaps a set of silver or china, if they have started to host family holiday dinners, or you are planning to simplify or won’t have the storage space. You’ll enjoy seeing your beautiful pieces staying in the family and being put to good use.
- Take pictures of your favorite memorabilia (t-shirts/home-made pottery/pin collection/etc.) Get rid of the items and frame the pictures and/or create a collage. Or use a camcorder to record your memories and thoughts about your home and those years of your life.
- Have a party with your closest friends or privately ask them if they would like to have one or more of your possessions after your family has had their pick and if they won’t fit into your new space. You’ll love knowing your treasures are still around and being used and enjoyed.