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March 01, 2019

De-cluttering, declassified

How to simplify the spring cleaning ritual

Christina Loc

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For some, spring cleaning is therapeutic. For the rest, it's a daunting task leaving us feeling overwhelmed and already exhausted just thinking about it before the task has even begun.


The key to spring cleaning is to create a list of things you want to address. Rather than looking at the big picture and feeling defeated, focus on one area or task at a time. Walk around the house to determine places that need attention.

Remember: Rome wasn't built in one day, so don't pressure yourself to getting it all done in one weekend. Rather, set a goal of spending 30 – 45 minutes a day cleaning, and if you're in the mood to continue, do so. But, if that's all you can handle, then consider your expectations met. Tackle a little at a time and reward yourself on a job well done.

When it comes to cleaning, clutter is the first thing to address. Purging is the first step. From a feng shui perspective, clutter will block flow leaving energy levels feeling low, blocked and confused. It is important that every item in your home serves a purpose and has its own home — meaning things like your wardrobe should be neatly hung or folded, your toiletry well-organized in a drawer or cupboard, and your pantry filled with easy to access nutritional foods (okay, a few yummy treats, too, for you and your furry friend!).

Spring is a great time to get rid of the old to make room for the new, just like what the season represents. Pull items out of the closet, cupboards and drawers. Give shelves and drawers a good wipe down or vacuum. Then, go through everything to decide whether you will keep, recycle, donate or discard.

CLOTHES

Go through your closet and organize your clothes, shoes and accessories. Decide what you will keep; donate the gently-used; or discard the articles of clothing that have served their time. First, sort your items into categories like clothing into long sleeve, short sleeve, pant, skirt, suit or dress and then sub-categorize them by colour.

Empty your drawers and throw out socks and underwear with holes as well as stained or spoiled t-shirts. Give the drawer a good wipe to collect all the lint and dust before neatly folding and putting your clothes back in.

If you are limited for drawer space, invest in decorative baskets to store your undergarments, t-shirts, sweaters and denim. Seasonal clothing could be stored in bins or vacuum bags. There are also many storage beds available on the market with a hydraulic storage system or built-in drawers.

Tip: For more advice and step-by-step instruction, turn to organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo. Her ever popular book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and new Netflix series, "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" insists we "keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy". Her folding clothes technique is also quite unique.

TOILETRY

Next, go through your toiletry. Throw out expired items. If you haven't used it within six months, it's time to ditch it. This includes lotions and make-up.

Tip: Organize all your essentials in to one basket or toiletry bag for your morning and evening regime. Keeping everything together in one place makes it so much easier to reach for.

PANTRY AND FREEZER

Same thing with the freezer and pantry. Throw out expired items. Organize items by type and try to keep everything air tight to ensure freshness. Make everything visible to prevent wastage.

Tip: Use mason jars or air-tight containers to store opened bag items like pastas, flours, lentils and spices as this keeps items fresh, tidy and easily identifiable.

JUNK DRAWER(S)

Everyone has one of these. Some look more startling than others, with knick-knacks that get tossed in to deal with "later". Months pass by and more miscellaneous items get thrown in to the mix. It's amazing what one can find in a junk drawer including everything from pens, change, receipts, elastics, pins to a loose screw,
button, scraps or puzzle piece found on the floor and not sure where it came from. Invest in dividers to section up your drawer for easier placement and finding.

Tip: Rather than just plopping things down, spend that extra few seconds to put that item away back in its place.

SHELVING, COUNTERS AND FLAT SURFACES


Take advantage of these spaces to style things in a way where you are storing useful belongings in a decorative way. The key to this is balance through grouping things together and placement. Don't overstuff your shelves or counter. Rather, stack, pair and group things together that look aesthetically appealing together. Use
decorative boxes or baskets to discreetly store more utilitarian items on the shelf. Mix in decorative items like a statue, vase or plant to create interest.

Tip: Keep things fresh by occasionally moving things around. Spring is a great time to take items off the shelf and counters to dust so why not change things up to keep it appealing.

Being organized and having a place for every item in your home is a huge part of interior design. Clutter is not pretty. Beauty with function is what defines a space great. With so many products available on the market to help you get organized from baskets, bins, storage bags, jars, boxes, dividers and racks, what better time
than this spring to get your home in the best shape it can be to welcome the new season, new energy and new opportunities.

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