Spring cleaning season? Here are some tips!

Whether it be ushering into married life or motherhood, moving in or out, moving on after a break-up, or simply just feeling the need for a refresh, sometimes there are season changes in our lives that require us to declutter (both physically and, hmm..okay..emotionally).

For me, that season was when I made the decision to become a full-time mom.  New routines and new responsibilities required me to revisit our stuff and lifestyle and make some tweaks. I personally call it “nesting season” because I felt like a mother hen whose main responsibility at the moment was to safe keep and organize her nest. I’m sure you know the benefits. Nesting not only helps free up more space for you but it also helps put some order into your life, starting with your personal things and living space. It has also helped me become a more practical person by eliminating the things I don’t need or use and appreciate the things I already have. Plus it always, always feels liberating after a good sweep.

It’s been weeks since I got myself into this nesting or spring cleaning season. I’m not quite done yet, but I was able to gain some learnings and tips from this experience, which I am happy to share here:

  • Have a decluttering goal. Obviously you know you need to get rid of stuff but knowing why helps put things in perspective. Do you need a wardrobe change? Do you need to declutter because you’re planning to set up a small reading nook or your baby’s nursery in the corner?  This helps you save time and effort in mulling over whether you should keep or get rid of something because you already have an idea of what you would need. The last thing you want to happen is to just randomly pick things to dispose then realize afterwards that you actually need them so you’ll just end up buying a replacement for each. That defeats the whole purpose. Example, when I did a closet purge, I took note of how my new routine as a full-time mom is going to look like – less business and corporate meetings, more mommy errands so my goal was to have more comfortable outfits. I knew immediately to dispose most of my corporate and formal wear and stick with casual, breastfeeding-friendly clothes.
  • Make an inventory of your stuff. Knowing the things that you already have on-hand can make decluttering faster and more efficient. Since I don’t have time to do a physical inventory, I like to do this step mentally. Like while I am putting my son to sleep, I focus on one cabinet or drawer (as if I had x-ray vision) and rack my brain to remember what stuff did we store in that cabinet. I do a mental checklist of what to keep and not and when my son is already fast asleep, I go for a beeline for the things I mentally noted to dispose. And when you’re done with that space, be sure to take another inventory of what’s left in there for next season’s spring cleaning.
  • Realize it’s a whole season. What I didn’t like about spring cleaning before was the aftermath. I would try to finish going through the storage spaces and stuff in one day only to find out that I have a huge pile on the bed or on the floor or in the storage room and it would take another day or two or even more to put them away for real. I now realize that it’s not something you can finish in a day (unless you have a dump or a truck waiting just outside your house). It can last for a week, a month, or even an entire season. You can do it by batch or kind (clothes for day 1, shoes day 2, toys for day 3, etc.,)  or even by area or corner of your room (top cabinet for day 1, bottom drawer for day 2, kitchen day 3). Plus, you actually feel more accomplished this way because you’ve totally swept one area before moving on to another.
  • Keep your emotions in check. More often than not, this is the hard part. What makes spring cleaning a big FAIL is when you hang on to the memories you have of each item.  Then you’ll end up not disposing anything at all. Keep any hang-ups at bay and just consider the items for their practical purpose. Remember, these are excess baggage and clutter. Go back to your reason and your goal. And just look forward to the new season!
  • Find new purpose for your stuff. Don’t just throw them away, especially if they are still in good condition. Donate to charity, or sell them in buy and sell sites and groups  (I wrote about one good buy and sell group that I know in my previous post.) Finding new purpose and a new home for your stuff makes the whole spring cleaning exercise more fulfilling and helps take away the emotional baggage you have, knowing that your personal things are also moving on, like you. And yes, you can actually earn from them!

Happy purging, decluttering, spring cleaning, nesting or whatever you call it! 🙂

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