Spring Awakening: A Guide To Downsizing And Decluttering. Here’s 16 Tips To Help Get You Started

Packing and unpacking before moving in

It’s officially spring, so now is the time to look inside your closets, under your beds, and drawers to see what you can toss. Springtime is usually a period when people feel inspired to start fresh and anew, and the perfect way to do that is to take a toothcomb to your living area to determine if you’d like to downsize, declutter, or simply just toss. However, knowing when to get rid of things can be difficult, as some items are connected to precious memories, but there are ways to begin downsizing. Amelia Pleasant Kennedy, CEO and founder of A Pleasant Solution and clutter coach, believes spring is an excellent time to refresh your home and spaces. She suggests setting aside one to two hours per project and setting a timer to help you stay focused and on task. “Make sure you’re well rested, nourished, and hydrated, as decision-making sessions can be draining. Put on some music to increase your energy level and make your decluttering session more engaging and fun,” she said to ESSENCE. 

Kennedy continued, “Deciding what to keep is often easier than deciding what to toss. Think through the items you frequently use, which are your favorites or go-tos. Set these items into your favorites pile.” 

She also suggests that you scan for anything that’s broken, doesn’t work well, isn’t functional, or you simply know could be better used by someone else. It’s best not to overthink it – toss or recycle these items and start your bag for donations. “The items that are left need to earn their keep. If you’re unsure whether an item should be kept or discarded, get curious about what it adds to your life. Identify why it deserves space in your home or specific instances in the next three months that you’ll use it. If this is a challenge, the item isn’t serving you,” she stated.
Here are some additional tips from her:

  1. Linen closet/bedding:  Spring is the perfect time to look closer at your sheets, towels, and blankets. Pull items out of the closet and wipe down the shelves. Donate linens and towels starting to thin or stained to your local animal shelter. Launder your mattress pad and rotate 180 degrees to even out the wear. More oversized blankets, quilts, or duvet covers should be laundered or dry-cleaned before being stored for the season.

    Aim to keep two sets of sheets max for each bed and two towels per person. Fold or roll towels. Fold the sheets, then tuck them inside a pillowcase to create a more uniform look. (Do what’s easiest for you!) Either stack linens directly on the closet shelf or store them in a labeled basket.

  1. Makeup and body care: Once products are open, they’re safe for 12-24 months as bacteria grow. If a product is open and you do not know how long you’ve had it, it’s time to toss or replace it. Unused and unopened personal care products can be donated. Remove everything from the drawer, wipe it down, and go through the process above. Now is a great time to simplify your daily beauty routine and keep only the products that make you look and feel your best.
  1. Clothing: As you shift your wardrobe from winter to spring, remember not to store items you no longer love for the upcoming season. If you didn’t wear them this past winter, think twice about keeping them. Drop your coats and sweaters at the dry cleaners to ensure they’re fresh and ready to wear next fall. A cobbler can help clean up and remove salt stains or wear from your boots and leather shoes before storing them.

A Quick Win Guide:   

  • Declutter excess items in and around your nightstand to reset your sense of calm before bed.
  • Toss out unmatched or worn socks. Stick to one or two colors and styles to simplify laundry and organization.
  • Clear off your desktop and replace items that you use only daily. Scan or file excess papers into categories like ‘take action’ or ‘to file.’ Recycle anything outdated.
  • Take a quick scan of your freezer. Toss out expired or unusable foods and restock as needed.
  • Clear the condiments! If it’s nearly empty, toss it and enjoy the extra space. Use either a turntable or a clear plastic bin to make retrieval of condiments easier in the future.

However, If you can’t see your floors or surfaces, you have severe clutter, so you should focus on the basics that’ll have a high impact for now and later. Check out Rebekah Love, founder of Organize For Love, for tips on cleaning your space. 

  1. Clean out your everyday bag and wallet. You can instantly make your day-to-day better with a clean and organized purse. It’s also an achievable spring organization task. Also, clear out your wallet of old receipts, expired debit cards, and random paper.
  2. Declutter outdated purses and ones you no longer wear. If you plan to sell some, make that your focus for Spring Cleaning and get it done. Purging your purses will significantly create space in your wardrobe and give you the confidence to declutter other categories if you feel called to.
  3. If you have large piles, bins, or boxes full of things, you have moderately severe clutter, so focus only on what you can control.
  4. Declutter your house clothes and lounge. Quite a few of those bins may be filled with clothes with history. One way to consider what house shirt to keep or toss is to think about it as a friend. Do you like it? Do you keep it around solely for how long you had it? Do you have mixed feelings about it but keep it cause it’s familiar?
  5. The shoes piled by your doors are the ones you frequently wear, so declutter the shoes that rarely appear outside your closet. This type of Spring organization will help you with daily relief because you’re letting go of things you don’t wear, reducing decision fatigue.
  6. If you have several unfinished home projects, you have moderate clutter, so focus on creating a healthier balance between inspiration and follow-through
  7. Since you’re constantly changing things up, purge your hair supplies. Refreshing your products will help you sink deeper into how you’re showing up. You’ll get ready faster and be more confident about where you are now.
  8. Then, clean out your bathroom under the sink. You’ll get the Spring refresh feeling, and the immediate benefit of what you need and want to use is in plain sight.
  9. If your desk or home office has piles of paper that disrupt your workflow, you have mild clutter. The good thing is even if your space isn’t as functional as you’d like it to be, it doesn’t matter if you’re halfway there. Focus on your vision for a decluttered and organized space.
  1. Sometimes, it’s the small things that create clutter. Toss junk mail and pamphlets older than five years from your desk, surfaces, and drawers. You’ll create space in those spaces, making room for suitable systems.
  2. Declutter your paperwork for a better workflow. Go through folders and toss outdated documents, statements, and bills older than five years. If you’re up to it, scan more significant documents to make room for newer, everyday files on your desk.
  3. Those Amazon finds get the best of us and can stack quickly. So, go through all the organizing gadgets you purchased in the last five years and ask yourself if you used them. Donate or toss the ones you use less than a handful of times yearly.
  4. Go through your smallest room or storage closet, wherever things go to die. And look for more gadgets and things you don’t use or forget about. This is to make room for those items that don’t have a home.

Take this free Homebody Archetype Quiz to see which clutter level you fall under. 

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