Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Leave Winter Outside & Bring Spring Inside

Spring is quickly approaching. We will soon hear birds singing and see flowers blooming, yet our house is stuck in the winter dumps. In North America, the tradition of spring cleaning came about before the invention of vacuums and happened in March. As it is warm enough to open windows and dust while the winds were strong enough to carry the dust out of our homes.

So here we are, years later and spring cleaning is still done. However, for some it has evolved to be more than just a major house cleaning. It’s no longer about just cleaning windows, cleaning walls top to bottom, de-cluttering rooms, cleaning drapes to cleaning baseboards, etc. It now involves giving our homes a new look and feel with paint, accessories, furnishings and at times complete renovation.

Well, here are a few organizing tips to help you prep your home for the new look and feel you desire without the mess:

1. JOT IT DOWN: Walk around your home and/or room and determine what areas can’t be kept neat as well as what items are not being used. Once you have done that, take a second look and determine what about the space really bugs you.

2. WHY THE MESS: Now for every note that you jotted down, ask yourself the questions, why. Figure out why the disorganization and mess is happening.

3. NOW OR NEVER: This is where the fun comes in, finding ways we can fix the problem. Think about how you live your everyday life and what habits, behaviours, and furnishings can be used to help make these messes disappear. For example, do you need a storage unit, is it a habit that needs to be practiced and reinforced, etc.

4. OVERCOME CLUTTER: Task yourself to now go through your home, referring to your list, and attack what does not need to be kept in the space (this includes drawers, closets, etc). At this point, we will incorporate the ‘4 box system’. You will need a box each for Trash, Giveaway/Sell, Storage, and Put Away.

Trash – this should include items that you don’t need or want, but are not sellable.

Giveaway/Sell – this should include lightly used items, items that you wouldn’t mind using if second-hand or buying at a garage sale. Think of the saying, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

Storage – this includes items that you can’t part with but don’t use on a regular basis. Group similar items together and make a list of the items on the outside of the box.

Put Away – this includes items that you use on a regular basis. Be sure you have a space for these items without cluttering the area. If not, reassess if you really need it.

5. BRING SPRING INSIDE: You have now completed the most tedious job from room to room. Now it’s time to open the window and let fresh the air in. You’ll minimize the amount of harsh fumes from cleaning products while adding freshness to your whole house. But don’t stop there....turn on some music and have a good time. Trust me; it somehow makes cleaning go a lot faster :-)

6. CLUTTER IS GONE: The clutter is gone and the house is clean...hmmm ... smell the freshness! Now it’s time to make the list of the tools that you need from ‘NOW OR NEVER’. Buy the furnishings you determined will help and place them in the most functional place for the family. Put into action the habits and behaviors that you feel need to change for yourself and the family so you are all working together to create a cleaner and neater atmosphere.

7. A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING...EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE: You have to ask yourself what creates mess. It simply is putting things where they don’t belong. Therefore, if we strive in our everyday life to walk with intention then what we do will be done with purpose. Adopt the habit of putting things down in its designated place. Ask yourself, “Is this where this belongs?’’ If not, don’t let go ‘cause then the place for everything becomes anywhere.

There you have it! A home that is clutter free, organized, and clean. Your home is ready to move from the 'winter blues' to the 'freshness of spring'. Go ahead! Add a little colour and a few accessories here and there to see your home in its fullest potential.