Spring cleaning: Reflect on what matters most
As volatile as the seasons of the high Rockies can be, I can tell when the annual “spring clean” is in full tilt. In my neighborhood, friends are firing up their barbecues and gearing up for gardening. The little ones are mastering their two wheelers while the big kids laugh and throw footballs in the street. Our mommies-and-daddies-only neighborhood cocktail hour draws friends together outside as the warmth of spring sunshine promises longer days ahead.
Its springtime in Carbondale, and that means clearing out, cleaning up and getting ready for summer fun. In my world, it means people everywhere are swapping out winter coats and snow boots for flip flops and bathing suits. Last year’s hand-me-downs are bagged up and passed along to friends and local thrift shops. This year’s hand-me-downs are pulled out of storage and basement bins and sorted into this season’s rotation. For the families I work with, the knees of jeans are repaired with colorful patches and blown-out sandals are replaced with upgraded kicks. Bicycles are fixed up. Garages are swept out. Closets are purged to make room for clothes that fit. Rooms and entire homes are decluttered, organized and refreshed to help invite a little springtime indoors.
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s a time to reflect on what matters most and take purposeful action to further that cause. It starts with getting clarity on your ideal vision for how you’d like your spaces to serve you. That means stopping and taking a moment or two to envision your spaces already cleaned up, organized and decorated. Once you’ve got a reasonably clear picture of what that looks like for you, we simply go through a three-step process to 1) purge stuff that can go away, 2) organize the stuff you love and 3) bring your space to life with style and vibrancy. 1) Simplify. 2) Clarify. 3) Inspire.
Start with what can go away. Laundry baskets, plastic bins, boxes and garbage bags are great for sorting your stuff for “the big purge.” First, throw away the trash. Next, pull out anything that can be locally recycled. Then, sort items into separate bins for items that can be gifted to friends or donated to thrift stores. Finally, separate items for local consignment shops. I fill up the gas in my car from the consignment accounts I have around town. It’s also a great way to fund your little seasonal upgrades. I try to get rid of at least two things for every new item I bring home. That helps to balance the household conveyer belt of stuff coming in with the stuff going out.
After you’ve simplified the stuff in your spaces. It’s time to get organized. That’s pretty straightforward when you follow the Intentional Solutions 4 Rules of Organization. Organize your stuff 1) like things together; so your stuff is 2) easy to find (in a transparent container or with a logical label); 3) easy to reach; but 4) out of the way. Remember, proximity equals urgency. So select homes for the stuff you reach for most urgently in ultra-convenient locations. Less urgent items should be stored in the harder-to-reach places of your space. Keep in mind the difference between functional storage (the stuff you use all the time) and archival storage (the stuff you can stash away for a rainy day).
Finally, refresh your spaces by bringing them to life with style. In your design, consider function, aesthetic, flexibility and your personal preferences based on your unique lifestyle. Your spaces should be invigorating and a joy to come home to. They should reflect what you value in the world and fundamentally support who you want to be and what you want to do. If there’s stuff getting in your way — consider passing it along. Clear the cluttered path to the life you seek and then go outside and enjoy the glory of spring!
Read Evan’s new book “ClutterFree Revolution,” available for sale on Amazon. Learn more at http://www.ClutterFreeRevolution.com.
Evan Zislis is founder and principal consultant of Intentional Solutions, delivering hands-on organizational solutions and strategies consulting for households, businesses, students, and life transitions. For more information about simplifying your stuff and organizing your life, call 970.366.2532, email Evan@MyIntentionalSolutions.com or become a friend at http://www.facebook.com/EvanZislis.
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