Well, by now we all know that the groundhog has declared we will have an early spring. The snow is melting and you can almost feel spring in the air. This is usually the time when people start the annual ritual of “spring cleaning.” Time to throw out the old, or clean it up! It is also a perfect opportunity to throw out what you aren’t using and what you don’t need.
Below are great tips to get started on your spring cleaning/downsizing journey:
- The hanger trick. Most people hang their clothes with the open side of the hanger facing the back of the closet. Each time you wear something, rehang it the opposite way. After one year, see how many hangers have gone untouched. Most likely you will NEVER wear those items that have not been rehung. The 80-20 rule applies here. On average, people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. Let someone else enjoy your 80%.
- Enlist help. Have your friends and family help you. Having people around to help motivate you and share memories of those items you may want to let go will make it easier.
- Make it fun! On the first day of a month, get rid of one item. The second day two, and so on. By the end of 30 days you will have made a noticeable dent! Recruit a friend or family member and make it a friendly competition.
- “Give back” your kids belongings. Many empty-nesters end up using their “extra” rooms, basements, garages and attics as a warehouse for their adult children’s belongings. Each time they come to visit, give them back some of their belongings. More importantly, give them a deadline for warehousing their own clutter!
- Donate. It feels good to pass on something, whether it be clothing, furniture, or household items, to someone in need. There are a number of wonderful charities out there looking for gently-used items to help those less fortunate.
- Clear up one room at a time. You will quickly feel discouraged if you run from room to room trying to de-clutter, clean and downsize. Pick one room and get to it! If you want instant gratification and a feeling of accomplishment, pick a room that doesn’t need a lot of work…and then move on from there.
- Stop shopping. While you are working on your spring cleaning and downsizing challenge, try not to buy anything that is NOT an essential. A quick definition for you. Essential: a thing that is absolutely necessary. Great examples of essentials are food, toilet paper and Lorna Doone cookies.
- Deadlines. Give yourself a deadline for each room. It is easier to procrastinate if you do not set a schedule and deadline for a task.
- Reward: Each time you finish a room, reward yourself! Treat yourself to a massage, a walk in the park, a movie…anything but a shopping spree!
We hope you find these tips helpful. If you are serious about downsizing, there are many reputable companies that can give you a helping hand. A great resource is: https://www.nasmm.org/find/index.cfm
Happy spring cleaning!