Written by Yuki Hayashi
(3 min read)
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My partner is the master of spring cleaning. His secret? Absolute ruthlessness when it comes to de-cluttering. Sometimes I’ll walk into a room while he’s powering his way through a closet…
Me: “But, but… I might need that [insert random ephemera here, ie. jar of marbles, half-completed DIY rag-rug, etc.] later!”
Him: “Are you kidding me? You’re NEVER going to this need it.”
I sometimes leave the room grumbling – occasionally I may even be smuggling out some “trash” I’ve rescued from his cast-off piles – yet more often than not, he’s right. I’ve never found myself standing in front of the closet thinking: “Where’s my half-finished rag rug?” or “Where did that Mason jar of marbles go?”
In fact…I’m glad they’re gone. My closets look tidier and clutter-free. It’s easier to find the stuff I do use frequently in a clean house. Most of all, I no longer feel… guilty. Then I open the closet, I don’t see craft projects I’ve abandoned, or kids’ toys I feel like I should be holding onto, just because.
The mess-stress connection
As it turns out, my clutter-hating hubby is onto something. Clutter has a profound effect on our moods, our stress levels and how we feel in our living spaces. A cluttered space is distracting, overwhelming, frustrating and anxiety-inducing.
Just as a workspace covered in paperwork and coffee mugs is less conducive to creativity, a living room chock-full of random objects feels less relaxing, and a kitchen overflowing with junk is less inviting. You can’t enjoy your home if the features you love are hidden by stuff, stuff and more stuff.
A messy home has also been linked to more marital arguments and less socializing.
It’s time we start looking at spring cleaning as less of a chore, and more of a wellness activity. The mental health benefits – reduced stress, happier social lives – go above and beyond prettier homes and better-organized spaces (though those are great, too!).
Ready to start?
Spring cleaning begins with decluttering. After all, you can’t wipe down your baseboards if you can’t even reach them!
Here are 5 spring cleaning tips to help you achieve a clutter-free home:
- Get the whole household involved. You can make the effort more pleasant by incentivizing it. Plan a nice post-cleaning reward like a movie night, or a future trip to the rock climbing gym, waterpark, putting range, etc. Set cleaning tasks for common spaces if needed.
- Set a start and end time. Decluttering shouldn’t take up the entire weekend. Keep everyone positive by letting them know life goes on…outside of Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., that is!
- Don’t micro-manage. Trust that everyone knows what they want in their personal space and what can be edited out.
- Give everyone three bags or bins. One for trash, one for gently used items that can be cleaned and donated, and one for vagabond items that have wandered to the wrong room and need to be relocated.
- Pass it on. Sometimes it’s easier to let go if you know your gently used items are going to people who need them. Donating to a friend or a local charity can take the sting out of saying goodbye to baby blankets, children’s clothes and toys.
Keep these tips in mind when tackling your spring cleaning this year! As a takeaway, consider setting a cleaning routine for you and your family members throughout the year to ensure there is less clutter for next spring.
Join the conversation: What’s your top de-cluttering tip?
Read on: Check out three different approaches to de-cluttering from three different organizing pros.