It’s spring, and a woman’s thoughts turn to… spring cleaning. And if that task seems overwhelming? Here‘s help.
“Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness: One Minute Tips for Decluttering and Refreshing Your Home and Your life” is a zippy little collection of advice, tips, and quotes meant to inspire you to finally throw out that Judge Judy bobble head, the clothes you no longer wear, the ugly tea set you inherited from Grandma, and all the other stuff you’ve always been too guilty or lazy to toss. And then to efficiently clean and organize what’s left.
“I’m excited to share with you hundreds of my favorite tips for everyday decluttering, organizing and cleaning,” writes author Donna Smallin, who is not only a nationally recognized “organizing expert,” but has written seven best-selling books on cleaning and decluttering.
In fact, if you piled up all of Smallin’s books on your coffee table, she’d probably tell you it was too cluttered, and advise you shelve them neatly (aligned with the outer edge of the shelves to avoid dust buildup on those edges), recycle them or donate them to your local library.
“Every tip can be read in a matter of seconds; many can be implemented in as little as one minute,” she promises. “I guarantee that if you adopt even some of the tips in this book, you will soon be enjoying a cleaner, less cluttered home, which will create greater happiness for everyone living there.”
A cleaner home? Greater happiness? I’m in! Want to join me? Here are some of my favorite factoids, quotes and random advice from “Clear the Clutter:”
Eliminating excess clutter, according to a study by the American Clean Institute, reduces the amount of housework in the average home by 40 percent.
An uncluttered room looks cleaner than a cluttered one. if you pick up more often, you can get away with less cleaning.
Take decluttering one room at a time. And if that’s too much, take it one shelf or one drawer at a time.
Try this: Clean for 15 minutes. Then read an article in your favorite magazine. [Or on Zestnow!] Repeat until the job is done.
An hour of vacuuming burns as many calories (180) as 15 minutes of kickboxing. Even just walking around putting things away burns 136 calories per hour.
Toss all junk mail. Don’t sweat it… more is on the way!
Take five minutes each night to pick up and put away items, fluff pillows, and generally tidy up.
Practice Random Acts of Organizing. If you see something out of place, put it away. While you’re waiting for something or someone, declutter.
Set up a “Put Away” basket in a convenient location. Throughout the day, toss in things that need to be put away. At the end of the day, return those items to where they belong.
Place a decorative bowl or basket on dresser tops or nightstands to collect loose change, pocket items and everyday jewelry.
Once an item enters your possession, you are not obligated to keep it forever. Give yourself permission to let go and enjoy the sense of liberation that results.
If you find it difficult to let go of an item from your past, like an old prom gown or children’s artwork, taking a photo of the item for memory’s sake may make it easier to let go.
Pair up with a friend and commit to helping each other with big projects like cleaning the garage and basement. Its more fun than going it alone.
Listen to your favorite music or an audio book while you do housework.
Treat unwanted gifts like flowers. Yes, they express a sentiment you appreciate. No, that doesn’t mean you have to keep them forever.
Most people wear 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time.
If you haven’t used something in more than a year, get rid of it.
Resolve to surround yourself only with things you find useful or beautiful. Let go of the rest. [Goodbye, old college textbooks!]
The average American, according to one Ebay study, has thousands of dollars worth of unused items that could be sold or donated to a charitable organization for a tax write-off.
Designate a family donations box. Look for one thing each day to donate. When the box is full, put it in your car and take it to a local charity on your way to work.
Remember that the most important things in life… are not things.
Look at decluttering as an opportunity to share your abundance. There are people who could really use the stuff you aren’t using.
In other words? Somewhere there’s a reality show fan who’d cherish my Judge Judy bobble head. And woman who’d look terrific in the clothes I no longer wear. Even someone who’d think Grandma’s tea service was awesome, not ugly, and make good use of it. It’s time to get these things into their hands.
One final thought from the book to keep in mind as you clean and declutter?
Be happy with what you have. It is more than enough.
By Roz Warren