I can’t take it any more. I might be a bit early, but this weekend I’m starting my spring cleaning. It could take a while. Clearing out the clutter that’s piled up all winter and reorganizing my somewhat disheveled home is a big project—and one that will bring me unmatched peace and serenity when it’s complete. Clearing off surfaces, drawers and closets is the first step. For this, I’m following my own advice, from Natural Home magazine’s archives.
• Don’t try to declutter your entire house at once. Start small, with a drawer or a shelf, then build up to problem areas (like the garage or the basement) once you’ve had some smaller successes.
• Take everything out of a drawer or closet and spread it out in front of you. You’ll eliminate more and organize more efficiently if you can see it all at once. (This also gives you a chance to clear out dust and run a damp rag over surfaces.)
• As you clear out, have four boxes or bags marked Keep, Give Away, Recycle and Hold for One Year. (The last one’s for items you don’t need or use but just can’t bear to part with yet. If you haven’t touched them in a year, their time has come.)
• Storage is key to containing clutter. Storage areas should make up at least 10 percent of your home’s total square footage and be strategically placed where needed.
• Keep clutter contained. Use baskets and bowls to collect mail, pens and pencils, loose change, and all the other odds and ends that collect on counters and tabletops.
• Get rid of two items every time you buy a new one.
• Allow only three items on each surface.
• Just say no to refrigerator magnets. They encourage clutter.
• Keep windowsills clear of knickknacks and potted plants.
For me, the battle against clutter never ends. After this major effort, I’m vowing to spend 15 minutes every day cleaning up before clutter becomes a permanent fixture. By Sunday, I will have gotten ahead of the mess. I aim to keep it that way. Wish me luck.
I dream of a clean, uncluttered bathroom like this one. Photo by Barbara Bourne