Other than cozy sweaters and the crisp air that comes with Fall, my favorite season is definitely Spring. There are so many possibilities that come with opening up your windows after months of cold temperatures - letting fresh, warm air in and freeing up your space, as well as your mind.
For most people, when they think of Professional Organizing, they think expensive systems and major changes, but the truth is that organizing can be as simple as adding a $10 shelf, a $4 tote and creating a home for everything in a cabinet. You don't have to purchase specific under-the-sink organizers though many can be found for $20 - $30. It's more about "the shift" instead of an overhaul. Let's combine three bags of dishwasher pods into one single bag and throw out powders that have hardened because they're never used. Old sponges that find their way to the back of the cabinet can be tossed and a new pack of them are now in a see-through container OR in a hanging organizer off of the door. Do you have a sponge holder with suction cups INSIDE your sink so that it doesn't sit in greasy water while your frying pan soaks? Do you have a cleaning bucket or caddy for items that you carry around the house like wood and window cleaners... paper towels... microfiber cloths?
Life doesn't have to be as hard as we make it. You'll hear me say this over and over if you follow my blog or even work with me down the road: WE ALL HAVE WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. It's true. It's true, whether you like it or not. Why do you have twenty cleaners when 90% of surfaces can be cleaned with FIVE types of cleaners or less? Maybe you realize this or maybe you don't. Honestly. Some people were never TAUGHT how to clean growing up. Did Mom (or Dad or older sibling) always do your laundry or wash your dishes? Did he or she swoop in on a Saturday morning and change your sheets, make your bed or put your folded clothes in the drawer? There's nothing wrong with this, by the way. It's an expression of love. Who really wants to clean a toilet or wipe down baseboards? I enjoy cleaning my home and I actually find purpose in helping take the load off of families who want to spend more time with their spouses and children. But just like knowing how to "carry the one" on a scratch piece of paper comes in handy if you don't have a calculator, it's also beneficial to know how to clean, know how to organize and know what products are truly necessary to renew every surface of your home. Because you may not always have a housekeeper or family member around to save you.
Just as Spring brings nature back to life, I suggest taking the time to pull items out of the Attic, Basement and Storage Unit to reflect on what they bring to your life and decide the following:
So when you think about Spring Cleaning, don't just think about your stuff, think about space itself. Think about your physical space, but also your mental space. Do you need five shampoos for two people just because they were on sale? Do you need twenty pairs of dress pants when your office is business casual and you usually end up wearing jeans with a dress shirt anyway?
The next time you have twenty minutes to yourself, sit down with a notebook and write down your dream life in less than ten bullet points. Then look up at your current space. If you want to buy an RV and travel around the country, but you don't have the money, can you sell pieces of furniture from every room, downsize to a condo and buy that RV? Do you dream of creating a sewing room for yourself, but can't part with your college student's childhood room? There are climate-controlled storage units for keepsake items. Move her stuff or ask her if she wants any of it. I know when I came back from college, anything that was still there wasn't important enough to take to college with me. I knew my Mom cared about my trophies more than I did. It never hurts to ask. Don't just assume that your twenty-year-old wants to come back and sleep with her elementary school stuffed animals. Having a ten minute conversation with her can clear up a 10x10' space in a day. Then you clear off her desk, put your sewing machine on it then slowly get bookshelves and baskets to build that magazine-worthy craft room. It happens a little over time. Baby steps.
I know my first post may seem long-winded, but I'm just getting started. I have sooo much to talk about with you all. (Yes, I lived in the south for over a decade, but no, I won't say ya'll. lol) I know a lot of you can really do a lot with your own spaces if you just have the right guidance. Others really need someone to come in and help them. There will always be those people. If you're one of them, DO NOT feel bad. Cleaning and/or Organizing is just not in your wheelhouse. There's nothing wrong with that. Ask for help. I can help you. Sometimes just a second set of eyes - a sister, son, friend - can see something you don't see. Dream big; start small. Once the ball starts rolling, anything can happen.
Now it's May. (Where did the time go?) Where do you want to be by June? What can you do this weekend to lighten your load? Start small. Open the cabinet under the kitchen sink and throw away at least THREE things, even if it's three sponges. If you don't have one single organizing item - a tote, shelf or basket - go to the "dollar place" and get something, anything. If it's doesn't work under your sink when you get home, take it to another room and find a home for it in a drawer or closet. Bringing organizational items into your home is OK. If you never find a home for them, donate or return them and pick out something different. You got this.
Open your windows, take a few things out the front door and out of your life. Take a deep breath and get some fresh air. Enjoy all that Spring has to offer and embrace "the shift." Your best life is in front of you.