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5 Decluttering Strategies to Try When You Spring Clean

A few easy ways to get started, so you can get the most out of your space

Woman in yellow top and jeans sits on the floor as she puts a stack of clothes into a box

If you’ve been binge-watching Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix, Kondo’s calming nature and easy tips might just have you excited—yes, excited—about spring cleaning.

So while you’re in the mood to attack your own mess, here are five tips to help fuel your decluttering mission.

Pace yourself

Sure, you’re feeling ambitious, but the last thing you need is to get overexcited, throw everything into a pile and then run out of time to sort through it. While Kondo advocates organizing by categories instead of going room by room, be realistic about how much time you actually have.

Consider dedicating a month to each category, then dividing the category into more manageable tasks. Maybe every Sunday you devote a couple of hours to clothes—the hall closet one weekend, your dresser the next.

Get your friends involved

Friends can help hold you accountable, plus, they’ll make decluttering more fun. Convince your besties to tidy their spaces at the same time, set goals together and compare successes. You can also use social media to document those oh-so-satisfying before-and-after pics.

Donate items to a good cause

Letting go of things can be tough, but donating pre-loved items to a good cause can help alleviate some of the guilt or sadness you may feel. There are a number of great organizations always on the lookout for gently used items—and some of them, such as Furniture Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Diabetes Canada and The Kidney Foundation of Canada, will even pick up donations.

If your stuff is in great condition, you may be able to sell it online instead.

Digitize—and back up—as much as possible

Paring down boxes of cards and teenage love letters can be emotionally crushing. Don’t throw out batches in a cleaning frenzy only to feel anxious about it later. Instead, take photos of your collection and save them to digital folders. The same goes for paperwork: hand-pick a small collection to keep, capture a larger selection digitally and recycle as much as possible. And always back up everything, whether in the cloud or on an external hard drive.

Commit to keeping it clean

Once you’re feeling Zen in your magazine-worthy abode, try to stay disciplined and mindful. Don’t wait until next spring to get back into it; make a commitment to do a checkup every couple of months. Add a note in your calendar to prompt you—May can be tools; July, office supplies and so on. If it helps, imagine that Marie is just around the corner with her camera crew, ready to pop in for a surprise visit at any moment.

Want to deep clean your house?

After you’re done organizing, learn about hidden sources of mould and mildew in your home.

Image credit: istock.com/chokja