Longer days and warmer temperatures make spring a great motivator to reorganize, reenergize and refresh your life. Of course, as with New Year’s Resolutions, you might easily burn out on spring cleaning plans. Need a plan? Motivation? Help picking goals? Try these 13 tips for reorganizing your life and refreshing your soul:
Set yourself up for success by sitting down and hashing out your goals for cleaning, organizing or energizing — whatever it is you need or want. List them all out first, then divide them up by weeks and months so that they’re manageable and not overwhelming.
Publish Your Plan
Post it to social media or pin it to your fridge — just make sure you put it somewhere. Sharing goals with friends and family helps provide accountability and gives you a community to cheer you on. Placing your big goals or weekly to-do’s on your fridge or in your office can help keep you motivated and on track.
Include the Home Team
Married? Have kids? Make sure to get their help and support if you want your spring cleaning to be effective and your organizational goals long-lasting. Let them know why your goals are important to you, how they will benefit your family and how you can all work together to make a plan for division of labor.
Purge, Purge, Purge
You’re only wasting time and energy if you clean and organize before getting rid of items you no longer need or want, or that no longer fit or work. On the fence about giving up certain items? Put them in a box in the attic or basement and calendar a reminder for six months or a year. If you haven’t used (or even thought of) the items by then, it’s probably safe to get rid of them.
Scan and Shred
Don’t forget to purge those piles of paper. Research to learn which items you can recycle, which you should shred, what you can scan and which documents should remain physical.
Avoid the Trash Can
Try to avoid throwing away items that are still usable. Consider donating to specific programs instead of taking twenty bulging garbage bags to the local thrift shop. Try donating old kids clothes to foster care organizations, keeping a box of toys to donate at Christmas and saving suits or work clothes to help homeless men and women who are trying to reenter the workforce.
Group and Label
When organizing, bins, boxes and baskets are your best friends. They’re a no muss, no fuss way to contain similar items and to cut out visual clutter. A simple labeling system will make it easy for your spouse and kids to help maintain the new system.
It may sound daunting, but switching to green cleaners isn’t as bad as you think. You can find eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaners at the grocery store and a quick Google search will yield dozens of DIY recipes that require little more than baking soda and vinegar.
Reclaim the Fridge
First, pitch what’s expired. Second, use up those random ingredients. Third, make an effort to fill your fridge with fresh ingredients and try your hand at cooking together as a family.
Drink, Sleep, Exercise
More water, more sleep, more exercise: three things everyone (likely) needs more of. Addressing them all may sound hard, but simple adjustments make it easy:
- Carry a water bottle everywhere so you can sip throughout the day.
- Calendar your bedtime and set a reminder alarm so you don’t lose track of time.
- Work in a little exercise each day, whether yoga moves at your desk, a brisk walk with the family dog or bicep curls while marathoning HGTV.
It’s hard to get enough sleep if you’re overextended. Find the courage to say no to new commitments or even drop a few old ones.
Overcommitting isn’t the only stressor: People can be stressors, too. Look for patterns in your life. Do certain people leave you stressed, self-conscious or sad? Try scaling back on the amount of time you spend with negative people and instead invest more time on relationships that have a positive influence in your life. Do your best to be a positive influence as well.
If you’re overextended, now probably isn’t the time to add other commitments. However, if you have the time, consider giving back by volunteering. This could be something as simple as picking up trash, reading to others or ladling soup. Check out Volunteer Match to find local charities that could use your help. What are you waiting for? Throw open those windows, turn on some tunes and tackle the first item on your to-do list!