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Swapsity's Tips, Tricks and Secrets for Spring Cleaning Success

Apr 16th 2013, 21:05, by Swapsity

spring cleaning TorontoSpring has sprung and so has the requisite cleaning and de-cluttering season. While some of us love to de-clutter, others have a hard time parting with even the most unnecessary stuff.

We were curious about the state of clutter in a typical North American home and here’s what we found out:

  • 80% of what we keep we never use
  • 80% of the clutter in most homes is the result of disorganization, not a lack of space
  • Getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of housework in an average home
  • The average American burns 55 minutes per day looking for things they know they own but can’t find
  • Scientists have found that physical clutter negatively affects a person’s ability to focus

Spring cleaning can be kinda scary because it forces us to make big decisions about our stuff and face past spending, collecting and stashing decisions. Plus, let’s face it, it takes time. On the bright side, it’s an opportunity to reclaim your space and dig up things that can be reused, recycled or swapped.

So where does one start? We recommend that you get into the swing of things by creating or using a spring cleaning mind map like these ones below. Hang it up somewhere visible, so you can see it and stay motivated.

mind map


mind map

If you need more motivation, check out these 21 benefits of de-cluttering or this fantastic article from The New York Times where Treehugger founder Graham Hill shares how he transformed his life by purging it of inessentials. The key to de-cluttering is this: keep only the things that have real value to you. If you’re debating whether to keep or toss an item, ask yourself if it enhances your life in function or beauty. If you can truly answer yes,  keep it. Here are our top 5 tips for your spring cleaning season:

Tip 1: Host a De-cluttering Swap Party

Throw your own spring cleaning swap party! Pick a theme, like clothing, video games or home appliances and ask friends to bring the items they’ve cleaned from their own homes. Set out some refreshments, pick out new treasures (only what you really need!) and donate what’s left over. It’s a fun way to clear your home of unnecessary items and obtain needed things. Head over to our how-to guide for tips.

Tip 2: Get a De-cluttering Buddy

Ask a friend or a fellow swapper for help – offer your time and help in return. Having a “partner in crime” will keep you motivated and accountable, and help you power through the process. Your cleaning buddy can also lend an outsider’s perspective when it comes to the tough toss-or-keep decisions.


Tips 3: Slow and Steady

Tackling the whole house at once is intimidating and even if you do finish, it’ll leave you exhausted. Instead, start small. Peel away one layer of clutter at a time by working your way room-by-room until you’ve gone through the whole house. If you only have a little time, dedicate 5-15 minutes per day to de-cluttering to make things more manageable. Going forward, it’s a good idea to set up systems and tackle clutter right away.

Tip 4: Be your Own DJ

Is there a song or band you listen to while de-cluttering? Make your own spring cleaning playlist and turn up the volume for a boost of motivation. It’ll keep your energy up and your mind focused.

Tip 5: Own Less

Having too much stuff can seriously reduce your quality of life. Finding smart organization tools, tips and tricks (e.g. 50 Life Hacks to Simplify your World) is great but de-cluttering means paring down your belongings to the bare essentials. The less you own, the less your stuff will end up owning you. Or in the words of Socrates, “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

Do you have your own tips and tricks for a successful spring cleaning season? Share them with us in the comments below!

Photo credits: Mind Map Inspiration by Paul Foreman; Ariela Baranov @BaranovDesign; Life Your Way



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