Just the thought of spring-cleaning is enough to stress me out. I know that a tidy home is better for my cortisol levels and mental well-being, but finding the time to do a deep clean always falls to the bottom of my to-do list. So when I came across a spring-cleaning concept on our sister site Who What Wear, one that takes minutes, not hours, I was intrigued.
It's so simple in practice: Rather than commit to hours of nitty-gritty cleaning, set aside minutes to do a top-line review. Then scrutinize items based on use. In Who What Wear's case, this involved editing clothes that no longer fit or trinkets from past relationships. When I applied the concept to my home, it allowed me to focus on the items that clutter my space, like half-burned candles or kitchenware borrowed from friends.
When I removed one item from every room in my apartment, I actually noticed a difference. Focusing on visual clutter, rather than items in cupboards, means the results are clear, and I felt good that I'd started to chip away at the spring-cleaning process. Suddenly, it wasn't so daunting.
Got a few minutes? Toss, donate, or return one item from every room in your home to instantly declutter.
When I glanced around my kitchen, I noticed a ton of items that weren't mine. Pitchers that friends had left after our Halloween party and cheese platters from Thanksgiving were displayed in clear sight to remind me to return them when friends visited again. Removing these items required zero cleaning or decisions—and my open shelves looked instantly less cluttered.
Sentimental Items That Have Lost Meaning
I love to pepper my bedroom with items that have sentimental value, but it's clear these accessories had started to pile up. Unframed photographs were jammed into the corner of my mirror and a Sleep No More mask hung limply on the handle of my door. It's hard to edit personal items, but I resolved to remove anything that had lost its meaning. If it no longer made me happy, it had to go. Then I used trays to group stray items and framed loose Polaroids.
Multiples of Any Item
It's hard to resist gorgeous home accessories when it's my job to stay abreast of décor trends, but when I reviewed my living room, it became clear that I was entering hoarder territory. Six bulky throws were folded next to the couch, despite only sharing my apartment with two other people. I donated a few and stored the rest in a vacuum-sealed bag to maximize cupboard space.
Accessories That Aren't Used Daily
Bathroom countertop space is limited in my New York City apartment, yet accessories are scattered around the sink. Soap dishes and dispensers were on display, even though they both serve the same purpose, and half-used products littered the shower. I removed any item that isn't used every single day and stashed them out of sight.
I'm a sucker for scented candles and love to savor them for as long as possible. The result? My dining room contains an odd assortment of almost-burnt-out candles that I can't bring myself to finish. To purge my home, I ran a bath and lit each candle, and then I cleaned my favorite empty votives with boiling water and used them to store makeup brushes.
Did you try our mini spring-cleaning challenge? Tell us how you felt after decluttering.