The Home Edit's Guide To De-Cluttering For Spring
Of all the tasks on your to-do list this week, we imagine tidying up your home isn't one you're looking forward to. However, what if we told you there could be a major payoff for your efforts — aside from having a clutter-free space to enjoy?
Our favorite rainbow organizers Joanna Teplin and Clea Shearer of The Home Edit are challenging YOU to embrace spring cleaning this season by donating items you no longer need in exchange for a six pack of LightSky (Blue Moon's low-cal, tangerine-brewed sister beer). Um, yes please! Deets on how to get in on this awesome challenge — happening now through March 31 — can be found here, but keep scrolling for Joanna and Clea's best organizational hacks to help transform your space as you embark on your de-cluttering journey!
Brit + Co: Spring cleaning is a very overwhelming concept. How can we make it feel less daunting?
Joanna + Clea: No matter how big your space is, you want to start small with a manageable space that you can see in its totality. And when we say space, we mean like a bathroom drawer. Then you can go through the four main steps of our process: edit, categorize, contain, and maintain. Once you see the finished product within this small space, you'll feel motivated and inspired to keep going throughout your home. It's really about creating a system that works for you and maintaining it.
Especially after quarantining with all of our stuff over the last year, some of us might feel pretty attached to our belongings. What's the best way to decide if you should toss or purge something?
The definition of clutter in our mind is something that you don't need, want, use, or love. If an item doesn't fit into one of those buckets, it doesn't belong in your space. For some people that can be clothes, papers or magazines, or even dishes. When we say things need to be edited or purged, it doesn't necessarily mean you have to throw it out. Perhaps it's simply finding someplace else to store it.
The first step of your process is the edit. What does that look like?
The initial piece of editing is to take everything out from a drawer or closet. It's imperative to take things out because that ensures you won't be passive in deciding what you want to put back. You also need to physically touch every item to avoid going through the motions of saying 'yeah, yeah, let's just keep it all.' You have to actively make a conscious decision about what to keep.
If we don't feel up for a full closet overhaul, are there small tweaks we can make to keep that space more organized?
Switching out your hangers to ensure they all match is an easy one. Closets are such a large project. We advise separating it into two different stages. Stage one is editing, where you're simply making decisions about what to keep or donate, so you don't even think about organizing the same day you're editing. That way it's less overwhelming and you're more likely to finish the project.
As we sort through sentimental items, how can we best navigate any emotions that might come up while organizing?
Certain spaces are more sensitive than others, so I would advise not starting with a space that has a lot of emotion attached to it because it's going to stunt the process. If you start with a junk drawer, you're not going to get emotional tossing rubber bands — it's less of a minefield than your closet. It's also important to be honest with yourself about why certain items are important. If something is special because say it's the outfit you met your husband in but you don't wear it anymore, consider putting it in sentimental box versus letting it take up prime real estate in your closet.
What are your tips for making a space more Instagrammable?
We love a rainbow, and it's not just an aesthetic quality but also an organizing system to help assign a spot to something. But rainbows don't necessarily work in everyone's home. So take in the aesthetic of the space and consider your own preferences to figure out what makes sense for specific rooms.
Let's talk fridge organization, what's the best way to keep that space tidy?
You have to be very disciplined about creating zones in such a confined space like a fridge. Think beverages on the top shelf, meat and poultry in a bottom drawer to avoid contamination from above, eggs in the center area, and don't forget to leave a space for leftovers.
Any final advice for how can we make cleaning more fun?
Music is great! Another idea is having an organizing buddy or friend to hold you accountable who you can show your progress too. It's also a mindset and transforming how you think about organizing. Don't think about it as a chore, think about it as an activity you get to do to reclaim your space. We see it as an opportunity to decorate and do something enjoyable, and it's a great way to lighten and brighten your space for very little cost. There's such a reward at the end.
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Director of Content at Brit + Co. Tar Heel in Los Angeles.