6 tips for spring cleaning

02:43, Aug 21 2014
FIND INNER CALM: Sarah Laurie has seen first hand that when people live and work in clear, clean spaces, they experience more calm, increased productivity, and less frustration.

If you think spring cleaning is just for the uber OCDs in the world, you're wrong. Like a lot of things that derive from our 'cave men days', the annual task of cleaning and taking out the trash goes a lot deeper than wanting to scrub those germs out of the kitchen bench, or overload our senses with the strong smell of bleach.

"Humans are physiologically designed to refresh and revitalise," says Sarah Laurie, a lifestyle coach and author.

"The word clutter is derived from the word clotter, which means to coagulate and so where there is disorder, clutter or un-cleanliness, in theory, our energy becomes slow and stagnates. 

BE ORGANISED: Natalie Jane says that everything should have a place in the home, otherwise it becomes clutter.

Accordingly, when we are surrounded by mess, it leads us to not think as clearly, we are more likely to procrastinate, and we become more tired and irritable." 

Make sense really. Are you fearful to open up your cupboards as you aren't sure what might fall out and injure you? Does it frustrate you that you've run out of room under the bed - your usual go-to place for redistributing the clutter? Does the thought of just walking into the spare bedroom make you feel exhausted?

If you have answered yes to these three questions then there is only one more thing to ask yourself; does it bother you? If so, then keep reading. If not, go, be free and enjoy your day.


SPRING HAS ALMOST SPRUNG: Don't groan with lack of enthusiasm, spring cleaning is human nature!

Laurie says the first thing to remember is that the reason you feel overwhelmed or daunted by the task is because of its direct relationship to your energy levels. So instead of viewing it as an arduous chore - it can be useful to instead see it as an opportunity to enhance how you feel.

When you get started, you will probably find that the process of sorting, cleaning and clearing will actually start to reinvigorate you.

"I have found that when people live and work in clear, clean spaces they experience more calm, increased productivity, and less frustration with 'surface mess'.

So focus on this, and start simply.  Choose one room, or one drawer - and I love to recommend that it's the one which people least want to tackle." 

Natalie Jane, who runs her own business Be Organised, has a plan of action when she goes into other people's homes to help them organise.

Firstly she identifies the main areas of concern and the core problems that are causing the clutter in that space, then it is about prioritising those areas and tackling them together, one by one.

"Every item in that area has to be looked at and decided upon, then delegated into 'keep', 'charity', 'throw', 'recycle' and 'relocate' boxes. I work sensitively with people to help with their decision making, as a big part of de-cluttering is letting go. Do I love it, do I need I and do I use it are some of the key aspects to living a clutter free life."

But for those who don't have an organisational guru to help out, Jane has a couple of pointers where spring cleaning can start from.

"Choose one area at a time and if it is all too much - start with a small space like a drawer or a cupboard! When you complete one area, celebrate and then move on to the next. Make sure you have storage containers that are either transparent or that you can easily label to help immediately identify the contents and save valuable time. Also - set a timer if necessary, I find this breaks up the process and will make it less daunting."

Some may say that life is too short to clean and de-clutter, and not many would argue with that, but did you know that spring cleaning could actually give you more time. 

"Time management guru Brian Tracy explains that one minute of organising, saves 10 in execution.  According to this theory, one week of organising in your household would save you almost three months in running it," says Laurie.

So the cleaning has been done and the spring has been sprung, but how do you keep it that way? For Jane it is a process that is in development throughout the de-cluttering. By putting systems in place that make sense to each family member, she ensures every persons different approach to life management is met.

"'A place for everything and everything in it's place' is my motto - items must be easy to see and access, labeled where necessary, and contained. I make sure I provide storage solutions specifically suited to my clients needs."

Laurie's six tips for spring cleaning

1. Make it a priority to find places for your belongings: Anything that doesn't have a home will wander in search of one!

2. Gift or sell things that you no longer use of love:  Unused, unloved items drain your energy.  Enjoy being surrounded by items that you adore or use often.

3. Decide if you have too many things in too small a space - this also adds to the sense of clutter:  Decide who else can benefit from items that 'crowd' the space. 

4. Bring all tasks to completion: Anything left incomplete also slows people energy and forms a frustration each time the task is noticed i.e. the unchanged light bulb, the creaky door, or the dripping tap. 

5. Be prepared: Have rubbish bags, storage boxes and cleaning products at hand so that you can work efficiently.  If there are items that aren't definitely to be thrown or gifted, box them up - but only temporarily.

6. Clean: Physical grime in the form of dust, dirt or grease is a magnet to low-level energy.  Book shelves, behind the toaster, wardrobe floors - all sorts of wonderful opportunities to refresh!