What do we think of when we think of spring?
We think of lambs in fields, big bunches of daffodils and, of course, spring cleaning! The warmer weather and the longer days get us all reaching for our dusters, giving the house a thorough cleanse of all the dirt and debris we collect over winter.
But with rooms full of forgotten Christmas toys and wardrobes full of last-season clothes, where do we begin? It can be a pretty daunting task. So we’ve put together this guide to decluttering – just in time to bring some springtime sunshine into your home!
1. Make time.
The most common excuse for an untidy home is – understandably – lack of time. When it comes to work, children, a social life and family obligations, it can feel impossible to get yourself fed – let alone keep the home clean! So the first thing to do is to make spring cleaning a number one priority. Mark out a block of time to get the job done. This can vary for everyone – but whether it’s 30 minutes a day, half a Saturday or a whole weekend, block out the time in your diary and stick to it! If you let people in your life know what you’re planning, you’re much more likely to stick to it.
2. Get people involved!
Don’t make it a sole responsibility! If you’re not the only inhabitant of the house, it shouldn’t be up to you to keep it tidy. Get the family involved and make it fun – maybe take the kids out for a fun Springtime activity like a trip to the park as a reward for a few hours cleaning? Even if you do live alone, see if your friends want to get involved! Even if they just sit on the sofa and gossip whilst you clean, having somebody to talk to and keep your entertained will make it easier to stay motivated. Especially if you’ve got plans to head out for lunch after!
3. Make a list
Stationary lovers, unite! If you already use lists to get things done in your daily life, then this is a no brainer. But if you don’t, give it a try and you’ll be amazed what a difference it makes. Sit down with a cup of a tea and have a seriously long think – what do I most need to sort out? Which room needs my attention first? Is there anything I need to buy before I begin? Make a detailed list of everything you need to get done, and then organise by priority. Not only does everything look a lot more achievable written down, but it also acts as great motivation. Plus, you get the satisfaction of ticking things off as they’re done!
4. Start with the most visible
What do you see as soon as you walk in the door? If it’s an entryway, see what a difference a shoe rack makes, or if your front door opens into the kitchen then it’s time to grab hold of your rubber gloves and start scrubbing! Make the first thing you see when you get home as tidy and organised as possible, and you’ll immediately see how much happier you feel walking into a decluttered space. This will then inspire to continue decluttering the rest of your home!
5. Pick one room.
Once you’ve tidied up the entryway, what’s next on your list? Rather than just saying ‘downstairs’, pick an individual room. Then, work your way around systematically, instead of just diving in and tidying up here and there. Move around the room clockwise, focussing on a specific area at a time. Not only does this ensure a thorough declutter, but it also makes the task feel a lot more achievable. As soon as you start noticing the difference, you’ll be inspired to carry on.
6. Fill up one bin bag
A creative way of decluttering – particularly if you’re pressed for time – is to grab one big black bin bag and see how quickly you can fill it. It’s amazing how much more inspired you’ll be to get rid of things that you’re just not using. This is a great one to get kids involved with – though it might be worth checking what they’re binning, just in case!
7. Tackling the closet
For most people, their wardrobe is their downfall. It’s so easy to close the doors and forget about all the things inside that we just don’t wear, but haven’t got the heart to part with! But, spring is the time to get brutal. Go through each item in your wardrobe and ask yourself: Do I wear it? Do I like it? Does it represent who I really am? Does it fit? Be truly honest and unsentimental with your answers, and you’ll be surprised how quickly your wardrobe is downsized. If you do have a few items that you don’t wear, but which were a serious investment that you might pass on to future generations, fold them neatly into a storage box and keep them in the loft.
8. Does it bring you joy?
Marie Kondo has caused quite a stir over the past year or so with her best-selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Using the Japanese KonMari method to transform homes into clear and clutter-free spaces, she’s almost single-handedly responsible for this year’s decluttering craze! The method centres around one simple question: Does it bring me joy? As you’re spring cleaning, hold each item you own and ask yourself that very question. If the item in question brings up feelings of discomfort, bad memories or annoyance, get rid of it! If keeping your old prom dress from school genuinely gives you feelings of joy, then by all means hang on to it, but if it actually just makes you feel bad about yourself then there’s no reason to keep it in your home. Asking yourself this question on everything from your dining table to your cutlery can be a time consuming process, but once complete you’ll inhabit a space in which every single thing makes you happy. And what could be better than that!
Once you’ve completed the basic steps of getting rid of everything that no longer makes you happy, it’s time to think about storage. Be honest – would life be easier if you had a bigger wardrobe? If so, think about investing in one that’s built to last. Or you can be a bit inventive with items you might already own – like a blanket box! You can check out our guide to creatively using your blanket box over here. Good storage is a key ingredient of a tidy home, but don’t just use it to hide everything away. Keeping your storage organised is as important as keeping your home organised!
And the final, most important step…
10. Keep it going!
Once you’ve completed your thorough spring clean, and you’re happily inhabiting your lovely light-filled home – keep it that way! This is of course much easier said than done, but keep these decluttering steps in mind and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to maintain a tidy, happy home. Make a 15 minute tidy a key part of your daily routine using this helpful guide. And who knows, if you manage to keep it up you might just find that you won’t need to do this all over again next Spring!
Decluttering is good for the home and good for the soul. In a tidy and organised environment you’re bound to feel happier, and any stress in your life will be significantly reduced by the simple fact of knowing where everything is! And who wants to spend our precious few months of sunshine worrying about tidying the house? Start spring cleaning now and you’ll have everything done and dusted (literally!) in time to really make the most of your summer.
Do you have any tips for decluttering your home? We’d love to hear them! Tweet us @OFLOakFurniture and send us pictures of your lovely springtime