Designer extraordinaire, and guest author Daniela Garritano returns. If you would like to secure her services, don’t be afraid to email her by clicking here. Take it away D…
Happy New Year everyone!
Today’s class is all about becoming a de-clutter bug! Now, I don’t know about you, but every year after the holidays, I somehow manage to have additional clutter in my home, not knowing where it actually came from. So, this can be a project we take on together!
Clutter is all around us. Nowadays with reality t.v shows zeroing in on compulsive hoarders or shopping addicts, it’s in the limelight more than ever. Whether it exists in our own home, our cars or even our jobs, it can be an overwhelming task that can easily become an emotional burden. It can not only weigh down our home, but it can also weigh down our lives. It can leave us feeling unmotivated, stressed out, helpless or even embarrassed.
However, with these easy tips (along with me cheering you on! Yay!) you’ll be well on your way to a clutter free home. You just have to remind yourself, that in the end – it’s just stuff. And with any luck, it can make you a little extra of the stuff you actually want: the green stuff!
1) One step at a time
If you’re a fan of Oprah, you may have seen superstar de-cluttering coach, Peter Walsh, as a regular fixture on the proverbial yellow couch. The great thing about Peter, is that he really breaks it down into the simplest of terms when it comes to tackling the muddle. Your first task is to simply start with one room at a time. Then, separate your clutter into four major self explanatory categories: The Keep Pile, The Junk Pile, The Sell Pile and The Donation Pile. When sorting through the jumble, try to refrain from just throwing everything back into the keep pile. Take a deep breath, ask yourself if you really need it and if you hesitate for even a second, you can likely live without it!
D’s Tip: If you find yourself getting flustered, take a short break to clear your head, and come back to it. If you find yourself overly frazzled, make a list of what you are doing to clear the chaos and check it off one at a time when each task is complete. i.e. fold clothes and put away, make the bed, clear the nightstand etc.
2) Pack it up!
An easy step I often take with client’s who have real difficulty in letting go of the clutter is the cardboard box trick. To start, pick a room that is filled with confusion. Grab all of the things you do not use or need on a regular basis, shove them in a box and store it away. Come back to the box a week later, and see how you react when you open it. Are you excited to see it? Did you forget what was even in there? Or does it just look like junk in a box? Also, think about what your living space has been like without it. I am thrilled to report that very few clients ever revert back to their messy ways. When you enjoy a clutter free room, it becomes increasingly harder to fill it up with junk again.
3) Re-gift without the guilt!
So simple, so entertaining and oh so much fun!
Gather up your bestie’s and hold a swap party for all of the gifts you have ever received but have never used (I have plenty of those. Singing trout anyone?) This includes everything from birthdays, Christmas’, anniversaries and even wedding favours that are just sitting in your home collecting dust. You may not want it, but it may be an absolute treasure to someone else. Plus, it may give you the chance to get rid of something you don’t need and get something you do need. And, if you’re all looking to make a little extra cash, have a swap for a toonie party. Same rules apply, but everything costs a toonie!
D’s tip: Make a pact with your guests in that whatever doesn’t get picked up, does not go back home with the owner! Toss all of the leftovers or donate them to the charity of your choice.
4) Fun & Games
If getting your kids to clean up is like finding the Holy Grail, try finding a way to make it fun! In our family, we made it a habit that after every special gift giving occasion, a trip to the local shelter was made the following week. It not only taught us to live without the need of excess, but it also reinforced the notion that the clean up was not only benefitting our home, but other’s as well.
D’s Tip: Kids giving you a hard time? Check out these kid friendly clean up games that will get the whole family involved! http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=11690
5) Seasonal Spring Cleaning!
A great habit to get in to, is to clean out your closet at the beginning of each season. Try keeping a special hamper solely for the purpose of tossing in clothes that you never wear. Rule of thumb: if you have not worn it through an entire cycle of the seasons (that’s one full year folks!) you will never wear it again.
Each time you come across something you have never worn or no longer want, toss it in the hamper immediately before you have a chance to justify why you haven’t worn it. Before you know it, the hamper will be full, and it will be time to donate it to a shelter. Then, start all over again when the hamper is empty. Try getting the whole family involved in this process too!
D’s Tip: Most people are always looking for a bargain on the latest and greatest. Try posting your unwanted hubbub on sites like Kijiji or Craigslist for a little extra green. Where else do you think all of those unwanted bridesmaid dress go?
Next time from Daniela: The suggestion box!