25 May


Cassidy's Moving and Storage

Declutter with these 5 Tips

Spring officially sprung on March 21st, and in Ontario it seems as though the weather is finally beginning to catch up to the season. Now that the greenery has reappeared, spring cleaning is on our minds. For most people, the hardest part of spring cleaning is decluttering.

But why spring cleaning? Why not autumn cleaning, or even summer cleaning? The history of spring cleaning is not as clear as you might think. It’s thought that it may have originated from either a Jewish, Scottish or Iranian tradition, adopted on a wider scale as urbanization brought cultures together. Others have suggested that the practice was adopted because the warmer weather allowed people to open their doors and windows, sweeping out dust and soot.

However, many have suggested a more psychologically-based reason for spring cleaning. Many people experience depression or sadness in the winter, and many believe that this tradition of spring cleaning is carried on primarily because of the increased energy many people have in the spring. It’s consistently seen as an opportunity to shake off the winter and do yourself a favour.

So in honour of this time of cleaning, we’ve put together a guide to decluttering. Whether your spring cleaning tradition stems from excitement at the weather, ancient cultural heritage, or simply a desire to get things clean, we hope these tips will help you get ready for the warmer seasons.

1. Purge

Sometimes things can pile up—errands, work, and kids can get in the way of doing a proper clean. In some cases, the accumulation of things gets much, much more pathological, and doctors have recently debated whether or not the phenomenon known as hoarding should be seen as a mental illness.

Certainly, a disorganized cluttered home is not a fun place to live. And though it seems tough, purging unwanted things is not as hard as it seems, and can be very rewarding.

The way to start is through evaluation. As author Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has said, it’s about ensuring that you love everything you own: she advises that you consider each object in your home, and “if it sparks joy, keep it—if not—discard it.”

If you need help deciding where to start, check out Huffington Post’s helpful post The Big Declutter for tips on what things to focus on as you identify what to get rid of.

2. Use Storage

Recent trends indicate that the self storage industry is growing rapidly in Canada, and is catching up to its american counterpart. The reason for this growth is not completely clear, but what is clear is that Canadians are turning to self storage in record numbers.

It’s possible that Canadians have just realized the potential of using storage as a way to declutter. We’ve certainly seen that ourselves at our storage facility—many of those who store with us simply want the clutter out of their lives.

Just remember, don’t use storage as a dumping ground. Use it for things that you want to keep, but don’t want in the house.

3. Get The Family Involved

If you can avoid it, don’t do it all yourself. You don’t want to end up being exhausted after a day of decluttering, only to have your family members “rescue” half of the clutter from the pile. You all live in the house, so you need to work as a team.

And it doesn’t have to be all work. Get creative and make it fun! Abby Larson, editor of Style Me Pretty Living suggests timing your children as they clean: “kids love to be timed, so set a timer for 10 minutes of cleaning. Challenge them to beat their previous record.”

As long as you can make it a game, as long as you can keep the energy high and the stress low, things will go smoothly. And if you’re stuck, Today’s Parent has some excellent tips for making cleaning fun.

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4. Digitize What You Can

All things take up space, but large record collections, receipts or piles of notes can be especially space-inefficient. Why? Because many of the things you collect can be digitized, and that frees up a lot of space.

One major annoyance in a modern household is the abundance of receipts. It may be tempting to put receipts, warranty information and your kid’s report cards in a filing cabinet, but we all know those fill up fast. Instead, try using software like Evernote to digitize and track your receipts. That’s what Todd Jamieson of EnvisionUP did, and it worked well in his case.

“As a family we’ve digitized everything since 2010,” said Jamieson. “It’s quite liberating knowing you can have access to any piece of information with the click of a mouse.”

5. Make it a Habit

We’ve all been told it takes 21 days or longer to turn something into a habit, and when it comes to cleaning, all habits are good habits. So start now! Habits are formed by practice, and certainly not in one day of cleaning.

Instead, as Colleen Madsen said on Becoming Minimalist, you should try to “declutter at least one item a day.” She states that, as these habits become more practiced, you’ll find that cleaning happens naturally after a while.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

However the tradition began, it’s clear that spring cleaning is here to stay. So we say embrace the season, and embrace minimalism. We hope that the tips above have given you at least a way to start.

Now that you have the knowledge, put it to the test! Get in there and start decluttering your life. And if the scientific literature is correct, you may just start feeling better. You’ll never know until you try!

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