Spring is in the air… which means the sunshine is revealing all the dust that’s been invisible (ignored?) during the cloudy days of winter. So spring clean we must. But first – it’s far more efficient and easy to spring clean if we first spring organize. Indy Maven reached out to Maria Baer of The Baer Minimalist for guidance, suggestions, tips, and tricks on how to do so without adding to the mental load. She’s helped us before, and now she’s breaking it down room by room. It’s like she could do this in her sleep. Maybe that’s why she’s the professional.
Read on as Maria leads us through every room in the house to declutter, donate, and organize the winter away.
1. Bedrooms – Limit Visual Clutter in Your Most Sacred Space.
“I love a good nightstand/dresser editing session. Not only is it a quick project, but it makes a big difference in your mindset as you fall asleep (and how you feel when you wake up each day). So take 15 minutes to put away the clean clothes living on the corner chair, return the kid’s toys to the playroom, and bring that drinking glass collection that keeps multiplying back to the kitchen sink.”
2. Closets – Consign to Earn a Little Cash.
“There are consignment shops around town dedicated to women’s, men’s, and kids clothing along with housewares. The Toggery continues to be our go-to spot for women’s and men’s clothing, and for consigning and purchasing second hand. Pull together in-season items that no longer fit your lifestyle and enjoy knowing that your closet is filled with items that look and feel great for you TODAY. (Earn an extra 10% by bringing items in on hangers).”
3. Bathrooms – Toss Expired Makeup + Products.
“Not only is your make-up less effective after its expiration date, you are also compromising its safety. You can find out how long your makeup lasts on each product. If they don’t have an expiration date listed, they likely have a small makeup jar on the label that has a number listed such as “12” or “24” letting you know how many months the product is good for after opening.”
4. Mudroom – Store Seasonal Gear.
“Ahhhh, spring is in the air which means it’s time to wash and store all the winter gear. For those of you with little kids, consider donating boots and snow gear that you know will not fit your growing kiddos the following year.”
5. Kitchen/Pantry – Discard All Expired Food + Packaging.
“It’s amazing how many items are hidden inside the pantry that expired one, two, sometimes eight years ago. Toss anything expired and consider donating items to a local food pantry that won’t be consumed in time. From there, pull all beverages from their cardboard containers, toss the bulk packaging that eats up valuable space and give those shelves a good wipe down.”
6. Office – Get rid of cords.
Use a mixture of these Command Cord Bundlers and Command picture hanging strips (or velcro strips) to disguise all of your cords. Consider using the strips to attach your power strip to the side of your desk (or even underneath). Then the cord bundlers come into play to keep that tangled mess off the floor. Nothing screams “organized office” like having a cord-free environment.”
7. Living Room – Keep a basket by the stairs for items that need to go up (or down).
“Rather than making several trips up and down each day to put a single item away, consider adding a basket to the base of each staircase that you can fill throughout the day, saving you time and energy!”
8. Media Room/Playroom – Conduct a Toy Edit (When the Kids are at School).
“Every 3 months (or so), weed out anything that is not being played with, is missing parts, or has broken down. Then consider keeping overflow toys tucked away in a “toy library” (which could just be a shelf in your storage area), allowing you to rotate toys out on a monthly basis keeping the clutter at bay. The kids get excited when items that are consistently being refreshed.”
9. Garage – Keep a Donation Bin in your Garage.
“Add to it as often as you run across items that no longer serve a purpose in your home. Once it’s full, stick it in your car and donate it to an organization in need. And then pat yourself on the back.”
10. Bonus: Phone Clutter – Limit Notifications, Followers + Apps.
“Earlier this year, I hosted a 30-day No Spend Challenge and one of the most practical tips that came out of the group was muting notifications, followers and shopping related apps. Taking things one step further, you can quickly conduct an email subscription declutter session by creating an account on Unroll.me (which has saved my sanity when managing my inbox every day since I learned about it years ago).”
When following these instructions, you’ll discover items that no longer serve you, but have so much life left to give. Download The Baer Minimalist’s “Donate + Do Good” guide, an incredible list of local organizations whose biggest needs are the things that no longer serve you. Interested in one on one organizing attention? Schedule a 15 minute phone consult with Maria today.
Maura Malloy is a writer, minimalist, TedX Talker, and Indy Maven’s Assistant Editor.
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