The following post is an excerpt from my Titus 2 Workshop : Mean Green Spring Clean
"...38% of housework has nothing to do with scrub, scrub, scrub. It has to do with clutter, junk and litter: shuffling it, moving it, from place to place, working around it, apologizing for it..."
-- Don Aslett -- Author and Cleaning Expert
There is a big difference between cleaning a room and straightening a room. A clutter-free room is relatively quick to clean. However, many people are overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning a room because there is so much clutter in the way. They have to put too many things away before they can even get to the area that needs to be cleaned. Before you can really get to the job of cleaning a room, the room needs to be clutter-free and tidy. This work falls into the category of organization.
If the things in your home are taking over your life, or if you are just tired of dusting things you don't even care about, this post is for you. We are going to mount a takeover and restore your position as Queen of your home.
Getting Started: So today is the day you have chosen to beautify your home and make it the haven you have always wanted. First, you need to clear off your schedule and gather your supplies. Due to the fact that I have a lot of other responsibilities, I will usually only organize one or two rooms at a time. (Yes, my rooms sometimes get out of hand, too. I have kids, after all.) The key to this kind of pacing is maintaining what you have already done while you work on another area. We will talk more about that later.
What you will need: 4 boxes, trash bags, laundry baskets or what ever works for you
Oh, wait. That's it. You are now ready to tackle the raging giant.
Getting it Done: Label the containers "Put Away" (this is for items that belong elsewhere, but migrated to the clutter pile while you weren't looking. Things have a nasty habit of doing that), "Donations" (this is for items that are too nice to throw away, but don't bring you joy or aren't being used), "Belongs Here" (for the things that actually belong in the room. This should not be your fullest box when you are done. Be ruthless. Remember, you are staging a takeover, right?). Your last box is your "Trash" box (this is for everything else. You are bringing order, beauty and simplicity into your life. It is no time to get sentimental. When in doubt, throw it out!!)
It's time to be brutal. Let your inner monster come to the surface. Clear off all the shelves, counters, tabletops -- everything. Pile it all in the middle of the floor. Now, step back and look at all those clean surfaces. Isn't that nice? The only things allowed to go back in those spaces are the things that you truly enjoy or use. Aunt Hildegard (no offense if your name is Hildegard) does not live in your home. The gift she gave you 3 Christmases ago does not qualify for the Queen's home. The Queen must approve of everything that goes back on those shelves.
Now look at your pile. You are going to beat that pile into submission. Get yourself a glass of lemonade. Now get your four containers. Each item in that pile goes into one of those containers. If the item doesn't make you happy every time you see it or if you don't use it nearly every day, it DOES NOT go in the "Belongs Here" box. Period.
When you are done, everything should be in one of those four boxes. If you aren't sure where it should go, put it in the "Donations" box for now. Move all but the "Belongs Here" box into the hallway. We will deal with them later.
Now is the fun part. Put the things from the "Belongs Here" box in their new, clean places. Make note of any organizational products you need to keep the room neat and tidy. Baskets, hat boxes, and the like are wonderful ways to keep the room both organized and beautiful in one easy step. Take a short break. Have a cup of tea. Enjoy looking at your new room.
But wait! We are not done yet. We still have three boxes. Haul the "Trash" box to the curb (or better yet, make one of the kiddos do it. That's why we had them, right? Call it Life Skills Training). Put the things from the "Put Away" box in their proper homes. If you are having separation anxiety about the things in your "Donations" box, close the box and put it in the attic or garage for 6 months. If you didn't need anything in that box for the next 6 months, you won't ever need it (unless it is Christmas decor. The kids might not like it if you give that away. Store that. You get the idea.) Take the "Donations" box to your local charity and let someone else who will enjoy and use those things have a chance.
Now you're done. Congratulations! Go have a treat and celebrate. Get some flowers for your new room. Enjoy!