Every time I spring clean my house I say what everybody says: ”I’m never going to let my house get this way again.” While over the years my spring cleaning has become less and less intensive, my house never stays exactly the way it is when I’m finished with the spring cleaning. This year I decided to actually decide how I would keep it this way. Here’s what I came up with:
The majority of my spring cleaning time is spent clearing out items to throw out, move to storage, donate, or hand down. I hate holding on to “stuff” in my house because my life is so much easier without it. I won’t go into that too much, but if you want to learn more about minimalism (and I would definitely recommend reading about it!), here are some good websites: Miss Minimalist, Becoming Minimalist, and The Minimalist Mom. Here is a small sample of what I got rid of this spring cleaning:
First I get rid of everything that I don’t need, I don’t love, and that doesn’t make my life significantly easier (I call these my minimalist rules). I realized that I need to apply these rules to what I buy as well. If I only buy “stuff” that fits one of these categories, I won’t have a lot to clean out. A minimalist house is much easier to spring clean than a non-minimalist house.
Managing Kids’ Clothes:
When I went on to the kids’ rooms I noticed that the clutter that builds up is either clothes that they are close to growing into, or clothes they’ve recently grown out of. I used some boxes to create spaces for these items so they don’t build up as clutter. I keep the “too big” clothes in a box until they’re ready to go to the dresser, and I keep “too small” clothes in a box until they’re ready to go to the attic, get handed down, or get donated.
Managing Clutter Around the House:
I then noticed that clutter around the house, outside of the kids’ rooms, were items that need to be taken upstairs to the bedrooms. I created these little bins, one for each child. They now have to bring up the items in the bin every time they go up the stairs or into their rooms. If the bins are not empty by the time they go to bed, their items get put in a separate box and have to be earned back.
Items that Need a Home:
The other clutter-building items that I collected in the house were gifts that I have purchased for upcoming events, or items that I needed to give or return to people. These items didn’t have a place to be put away to yet, so I just used a box to keep track of them. Using the box, I can easily find the items when I need them, and they won’t be laying around the house in the meantime.
When all of the ”belongings” clutter had been taken care of, I needed a system for the paper clutter. I keep a file for all of the important papers, but needed something for the papers that tend to sit around on the counter. I found this handy paper organizer at Target. The labels are dry erase, so it’s easy to change the labels on it.
Getting the House Clean:
When I finished all of the clutter-clearing (from everywhere – closets, rooms, basement – every space in the house), the actual cleaning was easy. I keep a cleaning schedule that details when I do general cleaning, such as the bathrooms, as well as deep cleanings, such as cleaning behind the oven. You can find that post here: Easy Cleaning. This way the actual cleaning never gets too out of hand. For awesome information, printables, and how-tos on cleaning and organizing, I highly recommend this site: Ask Anna Moseley. She is the cleaning expert!
My New Rules:
Finally, I created some new rules that will make it easy to keep the house spring cleaned. Here is my plan:
- Make it easy to purge unneeded items on an ongoing basis by keeping boxes for items that need to be donated or handed down.
- While purging unneeded items on an ongoing basis, also go through each room at least once every three months for items to donate or hand down.
- Make sure that every item in the house has a home – if it doesn’t have a home, create one.
- Label all boxes – this will make it easier to find everything, and it will also keep you from getting lazy and putting something that doesn’t belong into a certain box.
Do you have any ways you keep your house from getting unmanageable? If so, please leave a comment to let me know!