It’s no secret we consider ourselves experts on finding your perfect home – but how do you keep it looking perfect after closing? To answer that question, we asked writer Gene Howard to give us some tips. He has some fantastic ideas on how to make your spring cleaning fun! So throw open your windows, let some sunshine in, and get ready to purge all your winter blues away.
For many people, decluttering their home is about as fun as a trip to the dentist. It’s a task you often put off doing, but there comes a time when you finally have to bite the bullet and get it done. Stuff is piling up, making it difficult to concentrate, clean, stay organized, and relax. Fortunately, there are several ways to make decluttering easy, and maybe even a little bit fun.
Before you get down to it, gather your decluttering supplies so that not having them doesn’t become yet another excuse. You’ll need the basics including boxes, markers, sticky notes, labels, and a stepstool. Once you start moving things around, you’ll likely notice dust and grime that has built up in those untouched areas, which is where cleaning supplies will come in handy. Stock up on cleaning gloves and wipes. You might even consider buying a small, handheld vacuum to quickly suck up dirt as you go to make decluttering and future cleaning tasks a breeze. Like any purchase you make, read up on reviews and recommendations first.
Most decluttering guides will suggest that you go room by room. Not only is this daunting, but it makes it hard to truly gauge your efforts. Instead, do a decluttering numbers challenge. A popular one is the 12-12-12 challenge in which you pick 12 items to toss, 12 to donate, and 12 to keep. This can be done daily, and is a great way to challenge your spouse or kids to a friendly competition. If you’d prefer a monthly challenge, do the 30:12 challenge and get rid of 30 items a month.
The biggest reward you reap from decluttering is a clean, organized home, but you can raise the stakes with a reward system. The reward depends on how much time you spent getting rid of stuff. A small chunk of time could mean you get a glass of wine and time to yourself while a larger chunk could result in new pots and pans for the kitchen. Get the kids involved too, especially when it comes to their playroom/area, and offer a fun reward like frozen yogurt or a trip to the park. Mom and blogger Erin Spain has found success in the 20 Toy Rule. Have your children pick out 20 toys to keep and the rest get put in bins for donation, or at least stored in the garage. This can be a great time to teach children about donation and the difference it can make in another child’s life.
Friends can make almost any boring task fun, and as far as decluttering goes, they can offer their brutally honest opinion to help you let go. Host a declutter party with a few friends. Determine the clutter category each friend will focus on, and encourage them to be honest about what needs to go, especially if it was found on the floor, stuffed in the back of a drawer, or still has tags on it. Once you’ve finished your home, make plans to help out your friends. Remember, this isn’t a clutter swap party. If there is an item you really want, make a rule that you must get rid of 10 things first to help you resist the temptation.
When decluttering feels impossible, take a moment to remind yourself of the benefits of minimalism, and write down your vision for the future. For one, cleaning will be much easier when you don’t have to maneuver around stuff, and you’ll find that a neat home is less stressful. List out what you’ll do with your free time, whether it’s take a yoga class or read one book a month. You can even make plans for your cleared out space such as a crafting station, reading nook, or exercise room.
If you approach it the right way, decluttering can be fun. After gathering your supplies, follow along with a fun challenge, use a reward system, or throw a party. Envision the plans for your cleared out space and get started.