We hear the term Spring Cleaning and automatically think or decluttering and getting rid of the things we no longer need around the house. Why wait until Spring though, why not start the habit now?
If your house is like mine, you have a lot of stuff, and I think due to the pandemic the things we accumulated only added more. For my family, we added a lot more items to craft with and play with for all the long days we have been inside. Outside we have a ton of toys to enjoy with as well (but those can be hidden in the garage).
All of this stuff though, it creates a lot of anxiety for me. With my ADHD, clutter around the house, equals clutter in my brain, and I have a difficult time accomplishing tasks. You'd think I'd be a master at organizing by now if my ADHD needs clutter free, but tsk tsk, that's the issue with ADHD. My executive function isn't always great (executive function = capability to determine what you have to do in order to accomplish a task, and do it) and because of that, even though my brain says to be organized, I have difficulty putting things in an order to accomplish that task.
I've gotten better with organization in some areas -- such as work productivity and getting things done. I swear buy an electronic calendar and a paper planner. I need BOTH in order to keep my mind aligned on what needs to be accomplished and when.
Add a kid, and a dog, and a business with inventory in your house and clutter starts to spill everywhere! I've been watching a ton of TikTok videos on organization and decluttering and seeing some hacks people have created. Below are a few that I have done, and maybe they will help you too!
1. Create a habit.
I use a habit tracker app that displays tasks each day I need to accomplish and also sends me reminders. I'm really bad at getting enough water into my system, and the little app has helped dramatically for that. I added declutter three times a week to my habit tracker. It's a great source of accountability and also, drives me to actually do it so I can mark it off on the app.
2. Get it out of the house immediately
Decluttering is great, but what is not great is the two or three boxes or garbage bags full of the things you do not want to sit in your house, or car. I know, sometimes it makes it so hard to get your items dropped off to Goodwill or other organizations, because of life, and we get busy. However, decluttering only works if the stuff actually leaves the house. If getting the items out of the house is difficult, try working with a service who will pick the items up from your house such as Vietnam Veterans of America. If you are local to Pittsburgh, we personally love supporting the Free Store 15104 located in Braddock, Pa. My dear friend Gisele started the organization for residents in Braddock, and they accept new, and gently used items for the store.
3. Do you need it, and do you use it?
One of the best things to ask yourself as you begin to declutter your home is, do you need it, and do you use it? Maybe you went through a phase where you picked up a hobby and bought all the accompanying things to do the hobby. Now with that hobby done, and you having moved on, do you still need all the items that you purchased? Example: you picked up bread making during the pandemic and now that big bread machine and cookbooks are lying idle in a cabinet in your kitchen. Instead of it taking up space, why not ask if someone needs it, or post it for sale on Facebook marketplace? Someone may want to try it as a hobby, but reluctant to pay full price for the item. You get to make some cash while decluttering and someone gets to save some money on the purchase of it. Win-Win situation all around.
4. Pick one room and start
When you are starting your decluttering habit, pick one room to start in first. For me, I chose my son's closet. He grows so fast, that I have to take out clothes that do not fit him any more constantly. I bought a special plastic hamper that is heavy duty, and as he wears and I wash clothes, things he grows out of I put into that hamper in the back of the closest. It keeps clothes that fit at the forefront and helps get rid of the things that no longer fit. I also then take the clothes to Once Upon a Child to resell and it's so easy to do so, since everything is already in one container.
5. Creating organization
Now that you have started to declutter, you can now begin to organize things so you can more easily find the items you need, and also see what you have. Part of why we end up purchasing so many things, is that old adage, out of sight, out of mind. What happens is that we have so many items in spaces, that we forget where we put them. I'm sure you've had a situation similarly where you put the Band-Aids in the bathroom, and when you need them, and try to find them, they are nowhere to be found. Well, that's because they got pushed to the back of the linen closest or under a shelf. By creating organization of where and how things are stored, you will be less likely to buy things you can't find and in turn will not have as much clutter. Personally, in my kitchen, I love having the clear snap close containers to store our pantry and counter items in. I can see when we are running low on something and do a little less over buying because I can't find something. The other plus is, that my food stays fresher longer. Here is a set I just bought from Amazon and love because of all the different sizes, and it comes with labels too!
Now listen, just because this works for me, doesn't mean it will work for you, but it's a great starting place to, you know, get started! I promise by declutter one bag, or one box a week, you'll begin to feel better about your space, and have a bit more understanding of the things you need and don't need in your home. Declutter your space equals decluttering your mind, and I think we could all use that simple bit of mental health care to support us.
Be selfish with your self-care