Decluttering Needed in the Spring Cleaning of Basement- photo by user: TomwsulcerCredit: photo by user: Tomwsulcer

Spring brings a fresh, “all things new” attitude and the organization and decluttering of the home is a good way to refresh the mind. What is it that makes people hold onto items that rarely if ever see the light of day?  The process of gathering for the winter is inherent in the human structure.  However, the need for gathering stores has for the most part outlived its usefulness in today’s world.  Disregarding the emergency stores; homes hold on to more “stuff” than their dwellers actually use.  Despite the ever increasing landfills, people are not tossing things as much as keeping them, whether the item is useful or not. 

Why Do People Collect Clutter

 Many emotions are tied to the clutter in the homes.  People usually hold on to things for one of three reasons:

  1. Sentiment
  2. Expectations
  3. Forgetfulness

 Sentimental reasons include fond memories or because the item belonged to someone special.  These items are the toughest to let go of and are most often the unused items that end up staying.  This category can also include items that are gifted by family or friends and kept even though they may not really be wanted or needed.   Items might also include things that brought a positive feeling when purchased.  People might buy something as decoration, but already have a counter full of items and instead of replacing; tend to “add to” until the counter top is no longer visible or useable without first rearranging.

Expectations are items that fall under the “it might come in useful someday.”  This is the “what if” category.  Realistically, the standard is that if the item hasn’t been used in the past year; it most likely won’t ever be used.

Items that fall under the forgetfulness category are things that accumulate simply because they are forgotten.  This category includes junk mail, expired foods or medications that are pushed to the back of the shelf, and unworn clothes or shoes that are hiding in the back of the closet or drawers.  These are the items that are most practical to get rid of by trashing, donating, or selling.  

How to Clean the House by Getting Rid of Clutter

There are numerous ways to go about spring cleaning.  Often families have traditions related to the activity.  Sometimes it is a ritual for giving no longer used or desired items to charity.  The first step in spring cleaning is to be realistic and honest with themselves about why they are buying and keeping much more than they can efficiently manage.  There is often underlying issues at hand and in some cass, professional help may be necessary.

 In order to fully declutter a house; there usually needs to be a change attitudes.    Holding onto the past, prevents people from moving forward. It is not a bad thing to hold onto memories or keep mementos of special occasions or people.  However, it is generally better when these things are kept within reason.  There is no need to keep a large box of a child’s baby clothes when he is now forty years old.  If the memories are enhanced by keeping the clothes, choose the favorite outfit and donate the remainder. 

 Using the following suggestions can help in spring cleaning the house:

  •  Family affair.  Decluttering needs to be a family affair.  Agree on the ground rules before starting; schedule a time when all members will participate.
  •  Start Small.  Go room by room.  It is easy to become overwhelmed when the whole house is the project.  Instead, start with one room and conquer it first.  Moving from room to room, divide items into piles of keep, trash, donate or sell and undecided.  If borrowed items are found; return them.  Be sure to revisit the undecided pile later.
  •  Don’t be distracted.  Stay with the process.  It is easy to get distracted by phone calls, memories, or arguments.   Use the adage “handle it once” and the family can reminisce later when relaxing together. 
  •  Finish the project.  Don’t stop half-way through.  Once the items are in their piles, be sure to put the trash in the trash cans, take the donation items to wherever it’s being donated; put the keep pile items in their proper places.
  •  Last but not least. Celebrate and Acknowledge.  The family can reward itself with members acknowledging the work completed and celebration that the house is less cluttered, more spacious, and more easily managed. 

Once clutter is removed, organization is easier to attain and maintain.  Items will probably be easier located and efficiency of how the family functions is increased.



The copyright of the article “Spring Cleaning Made Easy” is owned by Cheryl Weldon and permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.