With spring in the air and the sun’s rays hitting areas of your home that haven’t seen the light since last autumn, you might feel inspired to have a good clean and clear out, tackling one room at a time, methodically working your way through your whole home. Letting go of stuff can give you space, physically as well as mentally, so harness this energy and let’s get to work. There is no better place to start with than your wardrobe!
Get plenty of bags ready for items heading to charity or recycling and start by picking up the first item. Examine it, and check for stains or holes, missing buttons or stuck zips. Think about how it makes you feel. A massive amount of our emotional state is based on how we present ourselves. Imagine how good you feel putting on your favourite outfit. It makes you walk taller and more confident, and the day is much sweeter. You deserve to feel like that each and every day, so why wear something that doesn’t quite cut it? Don’t feel obliged to keep a mistake purchase or gifted item. If it’s worth money, take it to a nearly new shop and get them to sell it for you (get some cash back to spend on something that makes you feel fabulous!), or donate so it finds its rightful owner. Items that don’t currently fit you are tricky. Still, think about the article and imagine yourself wearing it. If you really can’t bear to part with it, box it up and check on it in a couple of weeks. Chances are you will have moved on and need to send such items on their way, making room for more of what you love.
Go through absolutely every item, coats, dressing gowns, underwear, shoes, and bags. Remember the laundry basket and jewellery box, be ruthless and focus on what makes you feel good. Don’t ask other people’s opinions; this is about you and what makes you shine – other people will always have different views and sometimes quite bizarrely can be scared of you changing; you don’t have to listen or feel bad. This is for you!
Now here’s the critical bit…. Please take all the stuff and get rid of it now! Take it to charity or a clothes bank, or sell it, but don’t put it in the loft or the shed; make space and see how good that feels!
Finally, clear out all your cupboards and drawers, spritz some lavender essential oils or scented drawer sheets and put everything away. Do it with care and respect; these are your favourite items, and you’ll want to keep them in the best possible condition. Arrange it nicely so you smile when you open your wardrobe or drawers.
Now you are in the right frame of mind and are armed with your recycling bags; you can hit the bathroom running. Many people hoard half-empty bottles of various products in their bathroom – avoid falling into this trap; keep the ones your use and get rid of the rest. An opened bottle of shampoo can go off in as little as six months, so if in doubt, chuck it out! Clean all the shelves, cupboards, and tiles before displaying your favourite products. If you’re looking for a good natural cleaning, vinegar makes an excellent choice, cutting through mildew, bacteria, and grime, and it doesn’t cost the earth. Empty the bins, give the windows and mirrors a polish (with the vinegar), and wipe down light switches and the door before you leave.
The sitting room, under the cushions of your sofa and armchairs, is an excellent place to start. Check for money and valuables before hovering them all out. Wash any loose covers and cushions that can go in the washing machine, along with any blankets or throws you have out. Mix water, baking soda and a couple of drops of essential oils in a spray bottle to refresh fabrics that can’t be laundered. Start clearing every surface, finding logical homes for clutter or letting it go. Clear surfaces are easier to keep clean and tidy; if you want anything on display, try candles and air-cleaning plants to make a multi-functional display. Again bring back the vinegar to polish windows, mirrors and any other glass-fronted decoration.
Checking the use-by dates in your kitchen cupboards is a great way to create more space. Unless you have recently moved house or are a regular de-clutterer, you are bound to find some historical gems.
Start by emptying all cupboards, give them a good cleaning and then sort and organise as you refill. Ensure all the labels are facing forwards and transfer any leaking packets to empty jars. Wave goodbye to nightmarish junk drawers once and for all by emptying them all out, find some drawer organisers and only put back the bits you need. Find better homes for all the stray tools or hair clips that don’t belong in your kitchen drawers! Lost Tupperware lids rarely find their own way home, so unless you know the location, you can get rid of the bottoms or reuse them as drawer organisers.
Walking into your home and having the entrance look messy can make you want to turn around and leave again or put you in a worse mood. It is also the hardest to keep tidy, especially if other household members don’t share your desire for an organised and stress-free environment. First of all, go through all the coats and work out which NEEDS to be there. Any that don’t fit, aren’t liked or are damaged beyond repair; donate now! Try to find somewhere else to store anything that is needed but only on special occasions. The same goes for shoes…. seriously, are you really going to get those fixed, or is it another thing that has been on your to-do list for so long that it makes you feel guilty every time you see it? Decide what you would prefer; fix it tomorrow or let it go and never have to worry about it again! Look at what is left and go through each item. Is it imperative that it is there? Can you find somewhere else for it or can you let it go? Once the space is completely clear, give it a good clean and have a think about if you are storing things in the best way. Would some new hooks or a shoe rack help? What is the best way of keeping things moving seamlessly in the mornings? Imagine your routine and what little thing would make everything so much easier and have you leaving the house in a great mood?
Enjoy putting your selected items in their correct place; think about how nice it will be when you leave the house without the stress and return to a welcoming home. Double-check that you really do need everything you have kept; remember that items attract friends. While a nicely placed bowl or plant will make you feel good, you might not be so appreciative when your back has turned, and they have invited their friends for a party, and suddenly the clutter has returned!
Before congratulating yourself on a job well done, go through your handbag and car. How much are you unnecessarily carrying or driving around, and what can you clear to lighten your load?
Try not to think about any of this as a chore; put on your favourite tunes, grab a glass of something yummy and embrace creating a harmonious living environment.