7 DOs and DON’Ts: Decluttering


When it comes to spring cleaning, I’m reminded of an old Diamond Rio song called, “Stuff.” The lyrics say, “Oh it’s treasure till it’s mine then it ain’t worth a dime. It’s stuff – spreading like weeds, dragging me under in an endless sea of stuff.” Spring cleaning is all about getting rid of the stuff – the things that weigh you down and aren’t adding anything of real value to your life. When this happens you don’t really own your stuff, your stuff owns you. If you feel this way, it’s time to declutter, and you’ll want to remember these dos and don’ts as you get started.

1. Do let go of the guilt.
Give yourself permission to get rid of gifts from others. Do you use it? Do you like it? If not, then get rid of it. It ceases being a gift if it’s not adding value to your life in one-way or another.

2. Do buy back the square footage in your home.
When you buy a home you often calculate the price per square foot, so when it comes to spring-cleaning, it’s a good idea to think this way again. As you declutter, work to “buy back” square footage in your rooms and closets. This especially goes for any big items like furniture that you don’t really need and are just taking up space.

3. Do one room at a time.
Work one room at a time, so that you can see progress and don’t get overwhelmed. Start with whatever closets or rooms need the most work and go from there. Trying to do a little in this room and a little in that will leave you frustrated and feeling like you haven’t accomplished much.

4. Don’t hold onto things because you’re “going to sell them.”
Either them sell them or donate them, but don’t hold onto them for a non-existent point in the future when you might get around to selling them. The truth is most things don’t hold as much monetary value as we think they do, regardless of what we paid for them.

5. Don’t sort through toys when your kids are home.
It simply does not work to sort through kids’ toys when your kids are actually home, but if you’re afraid your kids will be sad that you got rid of certain toys then put their toys in storage for a few months. If they notice that a toy is missing, you can get it out for them, but if they don’t notice, then don’t feel bad about getting rid of it.

6. Do the hanger trick.
Turn your hangers so that the hooked part of the hanger is facing you, and as you wear items throughout the season, turn the hooked part towards the wall. This will help you keep track of all you’ve worn. Get rid of any items on the hangers that are still facing you at the end of the season.

7. Don’t buy things you don’t need.
Once you’ve done your spring-cleaning, the easiest way to maintain your clean home is by refusing to buy future clutter. Just because something is a good deal, doesn’t mean you need it. Make an effort to keep this in mind as you shop throughout the year. Living simply and minimally will keep you from being overwhelmed by too much stuff.