It’s a beautiful Summer morning, the sun is out, and I can hear the birds chirping peacefully from a distance. I’m lying on my bed, daydreaming about what I plan to do on this glorious day when my mother suddenly barges into our room to announce that it’s “Spring Cleaning Day.” I dreaded those days, my sister and I would have to clean out kitchen cabinets, wash carpets, clean windows. There was an extensive list of tasks that we had to complete!
I now realise that “Spring Cleaning” was my mom’s version of decluttering. My mother was teaching us a valuable life lesson that I will always treasure.
The benefits of decluttering are far more profound than just having a clean home, according to experts. Getting your home oragnised is an important way to practice self-care, and it’s good for your mind. The state of our emotional and spiritual health often shows itself in our daily behaviour, especially when it comes to how our homes look.
Whenever I declutter, I always feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. But it can be such a daunting task, and as a result, I don’t do it as often as I should. Consequently, this time around, I opted to follow a more systematic approach. I tackled it in stages, one room at a time, completing each task fully before moving on to the next space.
Before you start
You don’t have to complete this task over five consecutive days. You can spread it out over three weekends, for example.
Make sure you have storage baskets, black bags, or cardboard boxes. Whatever works for you. If you do this correctly, you’re going to get rid of a lot of stuff and will need additional storage for the miscellaneous items. I recommend labeling the bags or cardboard boxes as follows:
Trash: For items that need to be thrown away
Donations: For items that you no longer use but are still in good condition. For example, clothes, toys, and books
Return home: For items that have been misplaced. For example, a glass in the bathroom.
I wouldn’t suggest taking everything out of your cupboard, that can be a bit intimidating! The best way to do this is to declutter by type. For example, start with dresses, then shoes, then jackets, etc. Be honest with yourself, are you planning on wearing that shirt you bought at the Zara sale? What about those skinny jeans that no longer fit you but you’re still holding on to them?
When it comes to clothing and shoes, if you haven’t worn something in 12 months, then you should get rid of it. Think of it this way, someone else that’s needier could put those clothes to good use. It’s time to let go. I know this is not an easy process for everyone, so take your time but get it done.
Move onto the kids’ bedrooms and follow the same process. Allow the older kids to go through their closet —they need to learn the importance of decluttering from a young age.
Once you’re done with your closet, move on to your side pedestals. Chances are you’ll have a lot of items that don’t belong there. Place those in the return home black bag or box, and toss all useless things in the trash bag.
It’s not easy to keep your kitchen clutter-free, there’s just so much going on there. I divided my kitchen into zones and tackled one zone at a time.
Start with the fridge, take everything out, and get rid of expired items. Next, move on to the utensils drawers. Carefully empty them and asses each item. I’m pretty sure you don’t need three cork screws, just one will do. The objective here is to ensure you only keep what you genuinely need.
Get rid of broken, chipped or cracked crockery, you certainly don’t need those. Next, tackle your pantry or food cabinets. Remove anything that doesn’t belong there and throw away expired food. If you have a junk drawer, clean it out, and decide what you want to keep in there. Is it just car keys and loose change? Whatever it is, make sure you communicate that with the rest of the family.
Move as many items as possible off countertops—only keep what you use every day.
Are there any decorative items that you don’t like anymore, or no longer fit in with the style of your home? Either put those in the trash bog or the donation bag. Decide on permanent storage spaces for items like remotes. Empty cabinets if you have any.
Garage and storerooms
Oh my, this by far is my least favourite place to clean out. It takes up too much time, but I know that it needs to get done. Get rid of what you don’t need and reorganise the items you decide to keep. Place all loose items in labeled storage boxes.
First, take everything out of the cabinets. Get rid of expired items and anything else that’s outdated, or you do not use—such as old toothbrushes, makeup, and skincare products. All those items should go into the trash box.
Although decluttering can be a healing exercise, it’s natural to try to avoid it because it can be quite a daunting task. But if you approach it systematically, you may find it to be a slightly more pleasant process. When was the last time you decluttered your home? Let me know in the comments below.