Do you have too much “stuff” filling your closets and taking up valuable space in your home? It’s easy to accumulate many mementos and other items over the years. But in addition to those cherished items, you might also have an accumulation of not-so-important things: piles of mail and “things to read later,” clothes that either don’t fit or you just have no use for anymore. After a while, these little piles can become giant eyesores. Now is a great time to spruce things up around the house and let go of excess “stuff” that fills your home.
Decluttering Tips and Tricks
Cleaning can be freeing! Give yourself more space and make your home easier to maintain and quicker to clean. Less clutter also means you can find things easier. You may surprise yourself and discover something you forgot you had. Keep these handy tips in mind when preparing to declutter.
Start small. Make a list of rooms or areas you want to organize, and spread it out over time. Decluttering is a continuous process, so there is no need to overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all in a day. Just pick one space to start with and go from there.
Create a sorting system. Sort your items into four groups: Keep, Donate, Toss, and Sell. If you have children or other loved ones who may want some of your collections, you may also want to add a fifth group, in case there are family heirlooms or mementos that you can pass along now.
Get rid of items. Take all the items in your “toss” group to the trash, so the temptation to reclaim them is gone. For the “donate” items, look for local charities like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Vietnam Veterans of America and Habitat for Humanity, all of which may offer donation drop-off points or free pick-up. For the “sell” items, host a garage sale or list the items in online marketplaces and auction sites. Get help from a friend or loved one if you need it.
Organize what remains. Storage supplies can come in handy. Set up a kit with inexpensive tools like labels, tape and containers or bins to make organizing (and finding items later) a snap. Clear plastic containers will make it easier to see what’s inside.
Clean out the medicine cabinet: Get rid of old and expired medications and move the important medicine to the front of the cabinet to ensure it is accessible when you need it. To properly dispose of unused medications, take them to an official drop-off location on April 30, which is the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. You can find locations for that day and throughout the year at dea.gov/takebackday.
Cleaning Boosts Your Health and Happiness
In addition to a cleaner, more organized home, picking up can help improve your mental and physical health.
- Breathe easier. Clearing clutter can reduce dust and other allergens, which can improve the air quality in your home.
- Less stuff means less stress. Clear up your space and clear up your mind.
- Sharpen your mind. Research suggests that people are less irritable and more productive in an uncluttered, organized area.
- Create a safer environment. Reducing unnecessary items can help ensure there is a clear walkway in every room of your home.
- Decluttering gets you moving. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity for adults of all ages.
Ready, Set, Clean!
Spring-cleaning can transform your space to a fresh, healthy and relaxing home. Many of us want to hang on to things because we think we might need it in the future or because we spent good money on it; however, if you are not using them, it may be time to let it go. Spring is a great time to look around and keep only what is most important to you.
 Verywellmind (2021). The Relationship Between Mental Health and Cleaning. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-mental-health-and-cleaning-are-connected-5097496#citation-7
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020). How much physical activity do adults need? https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
S7694_22-6834_enewsletter 2022_C Reviewed 03/30/22
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