Spring Decluttering

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.  ~William Morris

Spring makes me think of change, renewal, growth, bright colours, warm days, and decluttering. I’ve been decluttering about once a week since the start of May. With warm weather in full swing in Toronto, I am even more motivated to continue to declutter my belongings so I can spend more time enjoying the weather and other activities and less time on organizing my things. It takes a real effort to maintain an uncluttered space, but I think the rewards are worth the trouble. If we have less things we have greater appreciation for what we have and don’t have to spend a lot of time taking care them.

As a result of Rachel’s post, I clicked through on the link she refers to on why she declutters (so no one else will have to do it for her). It’s been a big motivator for me to declutter.

My approach to decluttering usually involves sorting my stuff into various piles: garbage, recycle, donate, give away to a someone I know, take action, and keep. I find putting on some music and knowing that you have a treat at the end of your decluttering session helps. The hardest part is starting but once I decide what my focus will be for the day (or a couple of hours) and take that first step, I’m usually okay. My tip would be pick a specific area or category to focus on and decide how long you’d like to spend working on it. I use timers to remind me of what time it is (I always lose track) and to keep me motivated on my progress.

Everyone will have their own personal definition for what in their home is considered clutter.  For me, it’s clutter if I am no longer using it and it just collects dust or if the item evokes negative memories or emotions.

Procrastination & Indecision.

I procrastinate with what to do with clutter all the time. That’s actually the biggest problem with clutter – procrastination. When we put off making decisions and decide we’ll just keep it and “figure it out later” or “keep it just in case”, we accumulate and the more frustrated we feel when we have to finally deal a pile of stuff. And we pay the price for it because we have to buy more storage bins, because our drawers/closets are exploding or full. It stresses me out. Put simply. It costs to keep stuff. As Rachel’s lovely post explains sometimes we don’t need more storage, we just need less things. I also like the rest of the post on reasons to keep clutter.

Every spring and fall, I get the urge to clear the clutter: paper, clothes, cards, books, gifts, misc. stuff. I’ve been working on decluttering for the past few weeks – a little bit each week. That’s been my preferred method – short focused sessions. I can’t imagine dedicating an entire day to it with the weather getting nicer I’d much rather be doing other things.

The biggest ones for me are probably paper and clothes. It’s easy to regularly go through my clothes during this time of year because I’m switching over to warmer weather clothing so I might as well take a look at what I want to give away. As for paper it’s because we constantly have an influx of papers coming into our homes. Although I rarely buy magazines, I haven’t broken up with junk mail yet so I have to be very diligent every week about going through the mail and recycling.

Paper Decluttering

My main goal was to go through my tote bags of unfiled mail/papers and my important files bin to shrink everything down to the essentials.

I went through a pile of unsorted papers/mail that I tossed into a tote bag and processed them. Everything was put into a few piles: shred, recycle, keep as is, scan & then shred.

For anything that I wanted to keep but no longer needed in physical form or not ready to permanently part with, I will be scanning saving them on my computer and onto Evernote.

To cut down on receiving mailed bank statements, I switched almost all of my banking statements to online and have set reminders to save monthly statements onto my computer. It’s been a big change for me but I’m excited to have less physical imcoming mail to deal with.

Not sure what to keep or toss? I enjoyed this post on what papers to keep and toss.

Clothing Decluttering

I didn’t feel like I had a lot of clothes to begin with so this wasn’t too hard. Before switching up my clothes for the season, I was going to declutter my cold weather clothes before putting them away and taking out my warmer weather clothing. I knew that I was going to have trouble letting go a few things – dress pants that I bought while in Taiwan when I was at my smallest waist size and then upon returning, I was not able to get into them and I still can’t. Buggers! Well, things could be worse.

I decided I’d give away clothes that were in good shape but either didn’t flatter me or didn’t fit. I’ve gone through almost all of my things and already have a small bag ready to donate. My goal was to only keep things that I love wearing and not to keep so many things “just in case”, I will need it or with hopes that I might fit into them one day.

After I finish these two areas, I’ll move on to other areas (pantry, photos, my inbox, books, electronics, appliances, other small items). Are you decluttering this spring? What are you working on?

What are your thoughts?

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