Decluttering Your Home This Spring

So you’re life is into full swing in 2018; you’ve committed to eat healthier, exercise, start a new course, change jobs, start writing that book, improve your child’s grades, remove those toxic people from your life and save more money. Phew, I’m exhausted already!


As women, we grasped 2018 as an opportunity to reset, regroup and recharge.  We planned for the next twelve months with the aim of achieving peace and order for our mind, body and spirit.


But what about our homes? Okay, I know what you’re thinking! You have enough on your plate. Our living environments are often overlooked as we focus on the other aspects of our lives, but perhaps including home improvement and maintenance into our plans is the key to unlocking the ‘Zen’ we seek!


A study by The Society for Personality and Social Psychology, found that women who categorised their home environment using ‘clutter’ or ‘unfinished’ words (such as sloppy, chaotic, disorganised, half-finished, repair or fix) displayed increases in a depressed mood throughout the day and increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, when compared to women who used ‘restful’ and ‘nature’ words (like relaxing, peaceful, serene, garden, trees) to describe their homes. The stress you are experiencing may be originating from the four walls of your home!


Here are some suggestions to take advantage of your new year enthusiasm around the home and create a better environment for you and your family:


Conquer Clutter:  We all have those areas of clutter that we have become blind to; precarious stacks of old bills and notes from school, bookshelves laden with dusty books you have no intention of reading again, boxes of old photographs you promise will be organized someday or the bottomless baskets of laundry that dot the landscape of your home. Whilst conquering clutter is overwhelming and tedious, it is an essential step to creating the serene and stress-free environment needed to help you cultivate your other goals.


Action Step: Tackle one room at a time understanding that purging is a process and even more mess is generated before it gets better. Assess each item and decide whether it needs to be retained, donated or discarded. If you find it hard to part ways with your things, grab that friend who will be decisive and firm to help you out (you know who she is!). Create attractive, easy to maintain storage solutions to ensure everything remains in its place throughout the year.


Create a Checklist: Each home has a list of routine maintenance items that are necessary for keeping things in tip top shape. These items may range from caulking windows, testing smoke detectors, servicing the air-conditioning units, maintaining appliances, checking window and door locks, power washing the patio or clearing drains. It’s tempting to ignore these little things until they become a big problem, reducing the enjoyment of your home and increasing your stress levels as your home develops into a state of disrepair.


Action Step: Walk through your home with a notepad and create a list of all the little things that need to be checked or maintained on a scheduled basis. Once you have compiled your list, sit down with your beverage of choice, your notepad and your 2018 calendar and start scheduling these tasks in your calendar. Some tasks may need to be scheduled weekly, some monthly, others semi-annually. Consider what you can reasonably accomplish and assign tasks to various family members to lighten the load.


Embrace Bold, Big-Picture Projects: Have you always wanted to try to recreate the gorgeous fireplace mantle you saw on HGTV or install a rock garden replete with a bubbling fountain in your back yard? Or perhaps your big-picture projects are more practical, and you want to upgrade your air-conditioning system or replace rotting, wood windows. We often shelve these bold, big-picture (and big budget!) items out of fear of the expense, time and planning required. The very dreams we have to make our home a restful, peaceful, organised or efficient sanctuary do not become realised because we believe them to be impossible. These big-picture projects are the cherry on top of your uncluttered, fully maintained home (see steps 1 and 2), so you only need one or two to sweeten the dish!


Action Step: Allow yourself to dream about the bold, big-picture projects you have for your home. Select one or two that you want to accomplish in 2018 that will fit within your budget. Schedule these projects in your calendar as well as the steps needed to achieve your goal (e.g. sourcing the materials, saving the needed funds, selecting a contractor). If you slip off schedule or off budget during the year, don’t despair; reassess what you need to do to get back on track and do it!


Taking charge of your home is a vital part of taking charge of your life this spring.