By: Kaila Weingarten
We all need a little help de-cluttering our lives! Check out these 10 tips to cleaning up your household this spring and say hello to the new, organized you!
Tip #1: throw or donate
Throw/donate 10 things from the room you’re most bothered by. Do this every week and in one year, you’ll have thrown out 520 items! Alternately, focus on one room a week, and throw out ten items each day.
Tip #2: live in the present
Focus on today, and don’t worry about history, or the future. Don’t keep projects that you are holding onto for “someday”. 97% of information filed isn’t used again. Throw out some of those recipes and paperwork. I stopped keeping recipes I don’t try out within a week. I can always pick up new ones online.
Tip #3: say no to distractions
You know the saying “Ask a busy person to get things done.” But it’s good for you to learn to say no. One weekend, I told my husband, “I have to go to the library. The books that I put on hold arrived.” I was rather harried, as the weekend is my time off from work. He told me, “You don’t have to go.” When I thought about it, I realized, that I didn’t have to go. I created that obligation myself. And so I didn’t go.
Tip #4: say no to freebies
I learned this from Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of the Happiness Project and Happiness at Home. She wrote in a blog post why she doesn’t like freebies. I learned to stop taking home clutter from fairs, trainings, and store openings.
Tip #5: work with the space you have
Make up your mind to work with the space you have. Use storage. Use shelf extenders. Buy smaller furniture. Store the items you want keep and get rid of the rest. No matter how small your house is, it can be clutter free. I like to put some toys away, and rotate every few weeks. Of course, some favorites always stay out (dolls, anyone?), but by taking out different toys children feel like there’s something new every week.
Tip #6: de-clutter your mind
Do a brain dump/journal and write it all on paper. Let your brain relax a bit. I divide my Spring Cleaning to-do list on calendar days.
Tip #7: get your family involved
- Beat the clock: Put on a timer, each child gets a basket or bag and races to pick up the most toys. (Or play against your child) Winner gets a reward (extra time before bed, book or story)
- You be the boss: Let the kids take turns being “the boss”. Kids can act like the “teacher” and tell everyone to clean-up! The teacher gets to hold the box for everyone to add in toys. Children take turns supervising, while learning to pay attention to details.
- Family Game: Plan a special 15 minute pick-up session. Clean-up each room and then get rewarded.
Tip #8: create cleanup routines
Use a cleanup song. See what your child uses in school, it’s nice to be consistent. Even my eighteen month old knows to fill in the phrase: “All the toys go into the ___(box)”, and enjoys throwing them in.
- Count-down your clean-up time - tell children five more minutes to cleanup, four more minutes to cleanup, etc.
- Use an object to signal cleanup time, a bell, sand timer, or other.
- Pick chores out of a hat.
- Make sure your children can clean up independently.
- Boxes and shelves are accessible and labeled.
- Use pictures as they work great for young children who can’t read yet.
- Give children their own cleaning supplies.
Tip #9: two's company
Find a friend, professional organizer, online resource (fly lady etc.), to share your journey to clutter free.
Tip #10: bribery works!
I have a friend who pays herself each time she cleans. You can do any reward system-money, activities etc.
- Bribe must be applied after you clean. Otherwise, you may get stuck rewarding yourself instead of actually cleaning!
- Have a cleaning playlist with music to get you in the zone.