The spring cleaning season is upon us and one of the most common questions I am asked as a Professional Organiser by my clients is ‘how much can I keep?’
So, here are some of my professional recommendations of how much is enough in those regular clutter containers – the linen press, kitchen, wardrobe and office. Having some guidelines may help you to be more motivated as you undertake the task of a good Spring declutter in your home.
Personally, I think 2 towels per person is enough, one that you are using and the other that is either in the wash or in the linen cupboard. Of course, different households have different systems and maybe you need 3 because you don’t get the laundry done as frequently due to work commitments, etc. This rule also applies for beach towels, if anything I’m more strict on this as these are not used as frequently.
About 3 sets of linen per bed, one for winter, one for summer and one mid season is enough. If you have more storage space for linen you can be more generous on this rule, but most households I visit usually have the linen cupboard bulging with mismatched, thread bare sheets, fraying towels and the like. Use this time to also discard those sheets that you hate for their garish colour or scruffy feel, donate them to your local animal charity and use only linen that makes you feel happy. Our sleep time is sacred.
The general rule of decluttering is, if you haven’t used it for a year, you should let it go.
We often keep things in our kitchens that were given to us as wedding presents. We know we won’t use them but feel obligated to keep them because they were a gift. I give you permission now to let it go. That friend or family member probably doesn’t even remember what they gave you or care whether you have used it. The other trap we fall into with our kitchenware is keeping things for the promise of how healthy we will cook, how gourmet we hope to be.
If you haven’t used the juicer, bread maker, pasta machine, slow cooker, pressure cooker, fondue set or bullet-smoothie-all-in-one-with-free-steak-knives machine for a while, you probably won’t. Don’t get mad at your purchase, learn from it and be more mindful and less impulsive next time you buy a kitchen gadget.
Generally, I have enough place settings for my family x 2, that’s enough to fill my dishwasher and put it on every second day. It also is the maximum number I could fit at my table for a nice dinner, any more than that and we are using plastic plates.
Every home runs differently but the point is to think, what do we use? How often? What capacity can we fit in our space?
Like other areas of your home, your wardrobe space has limits. If you try to shove too much in, you can’t find anything, your clothes will be all creased and getting ready in the morning will be a stressful event. Have fun but be ruthless, start with chucking out anything that doesn’t fit. Keep one or two goal clothes if you must, but stop hanging on to clothes that make you feel bad.
Be happy with where you are and dress for that person now.
Get rid of anything you haven’t worn in a year – your style, lifestyle, tastes have changed and that’s okay. If these clothes are in good condition, donate them to charity or sell them online or at a consignment store. Let someone else get joy from your clothes that no longer give you joy.
The times are changing and the need to keep a paper copy of every bill and receipt is no more. Get digital with your bills, scan your receipts before they fade, keep PDF versions of manuals. Have a cull and declutter your filing drawers, desk and more – get rid of old instruction manuals, bills older than a year, payslips, old tax stuff, random recipes, etc.
Almost every home I visit, we start in one of these spaces as they seem to attract excess – we use them every day, yet just close the doors rather than deal with the issues. Make this Spring the time to clear out the clutter and take stock of what you have accumulated. Have a purge and then be proud of what’s behind those closed doors. Enjoy your things rather than be burdened by them. If you need further help perhaps hire a Professional Organiser.
Know that we are not here to judge but to help you live your best life.
Visit AAPO.org.au to find your local PO.
Are you decluttering this year? Do you have any other tips? Share them below.