Making Space

Spring-cleaning usually brings to mind cleaning behind the stove, vacuuming under the couch and washing the drapes in order to be fresh and dust-free after months of winter hibernation! But in order to really refresh our home and give us that light, bright feeling of space and renewal, we have to address the issue of clutter…

Clutter accumulates slowly… on surfaces, in drawers and cupboards, in the garage or loft. It sneaks in little by little. We tidy it away, pile it up, hide it in draws and closets… and the more space we have available, the more we can accumulate. Yet, most of it we don’t use, don’t need, maybe don’t even know we have!

We keep things in “just in case”, or for some “what if” hypothetical future scenario, or because we don’t have time to deal with it, or we feel attached to it in some way, or because we spent good money on it, or someone gifted it to us, or, or, or…

Of course, some of these are valid reasons and some things are important or sentimental and special to keep, but if you have a box of grocery receipts from three years ago or a stack of magazine back copies you’ll never read again or a second and third set of china that doesn’t even make it out for the holidays – maybe its time for a clear out!

After all, what we choose to surround ourselves with is important – we should choose things that add value for us – good quality pieces that we love – things that have a purpose or that bring us joy.

One or two beautiful sets of bedding is better than half a dozen cheap scratchy sheets that were on sale a discount store. A stunning piece of art or sculptural vases that you love are a joy to have in your home – but a shelf full of small mismatched knickknacks can create clutter in your room and your brain!

Space and order are restful and calming, so clearing out this clutter is freeing and refreshing – plus it’s also a great way to pass items on to people for whom they could add value.

So if you’re inspired to start your own clear out – whether with one drawer or the entire garage – here are some tips to kick off your Spring-Clearing!

  1. Start small; it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Choose to clear out one drawer or cupboard, one room or area. Doing it little by little is more manageable that setting aside a whole day to do the whole house!
  2. Set up four boxes – you don’t need to buy them, ask your grocery store if they have any cardboard boxes. Label the boxes “Keep”, “donate”, “trash” and “store”. As you are cleaning and organizing a space, it is easy to sort items into one of these four boxes.
  3. The “store” box – this is for things you’re not sure about. You think you might need them, you’re not ready to let go, you don’t know if you use them. Box these things up, tape it shut and write the date on the box. If you haven’t really needed to get into that box in 6 months, you know you don’t use or miss those things.
  4. Consider the 20/20 rule when the “just in case” items are piling up. If it was required at some point in the future, could you purchase that item for less than $20 and in less than 20 minutes from where you are? If yes, then maybe you can let it go now!
  5. Put things away. Sometimes the clutter accumulates because things are out of place and it could make a big difference to just put them back in their proper place or tidy them into an appropriate cupboard or drawer. Even if you don’t have time to tackle what’s behind closed doors, clearing off the surfaces can make a huge difference!