Spring cleaning your home is easy with step-by-step advice from Isabelle de Grandpre, a Durban-based professional organiser and the owner of Neat Freak.
One of the best ways to tackle an array of problems is to write them down and work your way through the list.
So start by writing down a list of all the things you need to do in the home or office. This could be admin and filing, or a dining room that has become the family’s dumping ground (you know you have a table, but you haven’t seen it in a while).
Start by preparing yourself.
As with any task, there are “tools” that are required (rubbish bags, cleaning supplies, tools, containers). You should also ensure that you have made time to sort out your space by either holding all calls or meetings and/or making sure the kids are with friends for the day. If you aren’t prepared, you’ll find an excuse to give up.
Here are some general steps to help you get started:
Day 1: identify items that can be thrown away, donated or that you need to keep. This is the first step to organising a space and is commonly referred to as “decluttering”.
Day 2: if it is possible, you should take everything out of the space you’re organising. Then start to group your things; keeping like with like. This task will highlight things you have a lot of (like four laptop bags) and you may find that you can get rid of even more than you thought.
Days 3 and 4: plan how things should be reorganised in the space, what furniture can be repurposed and what containers you can use or will need to get. When placing your things, zone them so that everything you need for filing, for example, is in the same “zone”.
You don’t have to declutter and organise over four days, it can be done in a day, but if time is a real issue for you, then this outline might keep you on track.
When you are going through the scheduled tasks, do whatever it takes to stay motivated. If that means asking your family members to help you or playing music to get you in the zone, then do it.
Don’t hold on to things you know you will not need. This can be difficult, but if an item is causing more anxiety than joy, it’s reached its expiry date. Do you really want to have your energy drained by stuff?
Label, label and label some more. This sounds so ridiculous, but I cannot stress enough how much it helps when you know just by looking at the container what is inside it. This is especially true in garages, offices and any craft or hobby space.
Think out of the box about the layout of your spaces. Consider your options. The best thing about spring-cleaning is you can move things around and try new configurations. You can always put it back where it was if it truly doesn’t work.
Organising your life and your spaces can be daunting, but it doesn’t need to be if you think big, but start small. Tackle one area of your life or your space and you’ll gain the confidence to organise more. - The Mercury
* Isabelle de Grandpre is a professional organiser and the owner of Neat Freak, which is based in KwaZulu-Natal.
She is also the president of the Professional Organisers Association Africa and owns an online shop that specialises in products that help people get organised in any space.
Contact her at 082 673 9740 or go to www.neatfreak.co.za for more information or visit www.neatfreakshop.co.za.