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Introduction: Taking Stock of Where You’re At

Humans have always needed to be intentional about taking time to clean and organize. The practice has roots in many religious and cultural traditions because we ALL need it.

The fact is that hoarding is normal. All of us fit into the hoarding scale at some time or another.
To explore where you fit and the benefits of decluttering your home, be sure to check out our Hoarding is Normal guide.
If the thought of gearing up for spring cleaning has your heart pounding, you’re not alone.
We’re all a work in progress, and there’s no need to feel shame no matter how out of hand your home feels to you.
It’s time to end the stigma around clutter.
Whether you simply need some ideas to help you get started or are looking for some hands-on assistance, we’ve got you covered. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

Follow along for a thorough list of tips to help your spring cleaning go smoothly and give you the space you need to thrive.

First, Evaluate the Situation.

Take a look at your home’s trouble spots. Where do things pile up? Are there particular items you have an excess of?

Common categories that stack up easily include:
Books
Books
Food-items
Food Items
Paper
Paper
Shopping
Shopping
Animals
Trash
Trash

Next, Set Realistic Goals.

Once you’ve identified what you want to change, it’s easy to get carried away with lofty plans.

However, if you try to do too much at once, you can get overwhelmed and give up quickly. Set small, attainable goals. Remember, tiny steps will add up!

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1. Set Your Timeline
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Don’t expect to finish everything in one weekend. Remember, it’s a process!
If you’re not sure how long something will take, set a daily habit goal for yourself. You can set a timer for 5-15 minutes, returning to the same area each day until it’s finished.
Calendar
List
2. Decide Where to Start
Make it easier on yourself by picking a spot you can finish quickly.

Accumulating some wins will help you feel good about your progress and strengthen your motivation and confidence.

Breaking your goals down into bite-size, achievable increments is a great strategy. Rather than saying “I’ll clean the bathroom first,” focus on decluttering the top drawer.
3. Use Different Tools to Get the Job Done
Don’t be afraid to try a new method—OR decide it’s not for you. Keep testing until you find something that resonates with YOU and helps you achieve your goals.
Try the One-Drawer-a-Day Declutter Challenge
Each day, choose a drawer or other small space in your home and set a time for 5-15 minutes. Work on that space until your timer goes off, and then move on with your day!

Once you’ve finished a space, you can move on to the next area on your list.
Ask Yourself if You’ve Used it in the Last Year
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Sometimes, we hang onto things for years, thinking we’ll need them eventually.

With this method, we introduce ways to track if items have been used in the last year. If not, they’re thrown out or donated.
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The next time you’re decluttering, ask yourself if you’ve used an item in the last year. If not, get rid of it.
If you’re sorting clothes, it can be helpful to turn all the hangers backward at the beginning of a season.
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Once you’ve worn something, you can hang it up the regular way.
Once that season is over, look through the closet and remove all the clothes still on backward-facing hangers—these are the pieces you wound up not using.
Different Tools

Bio-One did an outstanding job in helping us declutter and clean after 40 years of accumulating “stuff.”

Ruth and her team were excellent and very professional as well as empathetic in helping us. Highly recommended.
— Bobby Clark

Check for Multiples
No matter how useful something is, having too much is unhelpful. If you have extras of something, donate them.

Many organizations take extra items, and sometimes these donations are even tax-deductible.
Follow the OHIO Rule
OHIO stands for Only Handle It Once. This method is particularly useful for mail and email.

Don’t let things pile up. When you open your mail, you have three options:

I cannot express my appreciation for Kris and her crew. Amazing people!!! So thorough and professional.

The mess they had was unthinkable and they tackled it with such eloquence!!!! Would recommend over and over again!!!!
- Celina Maestas

Throw-it Away
Throw it away
Take Action
Take action on it
Scan-it
Scan it for your records
Follow KonMari

Marie Kondo’s method of decluttering involves asking yourself if different items “spark joy.”

In her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo offers a unique process.

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She advises going through your homes, touching each item you own, and asking yourself if it sparks joy.
Often, she says, we are attached to our emotions and memories surrounding an object, and we don’t need the object itself to enjoy those emotions and memories.

If you’re keeping it for any other reason (anxiety, guilt, fear), let it go.
Try Swedish Death Cleaning
Choosing to downsize can lighten the burden for others in the future.
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Swedish death cleaning emphasizes taking your time and mindfully evaluating what you still need.
Some of the key principles are taking stock of what you have an abundance of, assessing the value and significance of objects in your daily life.

Ask yourself the question, “Will someone else be happier if I keep this?”
Follow Konmari
Use the 4-Box Technique
For the 4-box technique, label four different boxes with:
Keep

Keep
If you’re keeping it, put it in the keep box.

Donate

Donate
If you don’t need it but it’s still in good shape, put it in the donation box.

Throw-it Away

Trash
If you don’t need it and it isn’t in good condition to donate, put it in the trash box.

Store

Store
If you need it in a certain season, but not this current season (think baby gear if you’re planning on having another child, seasonal decor, winter clothing, etc.), put it in the store box.

With your four boxes, move to the first space you want to declutter and put items in the appropriate box.

Try the 21-Item Toss Challenge
For a motivating win to get your sense of accomplishment up, do a quick 21-item toss.

Grab a trash bag and walk through your house, picking up the first 21 things you see that you don’t need anymore and throwing them away.

You can even enlist your kids or partner to help—or race to see who gets to 21 items first!
Give Stored Items an Expiration Date
If you’re saving something for a rainy day, put it on a firm deadline. Box up the items you think you’ll need someday and write an expiration date on the outside of the box.

If you haven’t gone looking for the items by that date, simply donate or throw away the box.
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Plastic Storage Case
Play the Zone
For a week-long challenge, choose 7 manageable areas you want to tackle. Each day for a week, clean one of your zones.

Make sure these areas are small so you don’t get overwhelmed—you want to set yourself up to win by picking things that can be accomplished in a day!
Give it a Home… but if it Won’t Fit, Make it Quit
Sometimes we need to make a few purchases in order to organize our homes.

If you have small, loose items, piles of toys with nowhere to put them, or clothes you need hangers for, it makes it even harder to clean things up.

Finding a storage bin, new hangers, or another organizer to corral these items can make all the difference.

Ask Yourself Mindful Questions

Getting rid of things can be a painful process, but understanding your reasons for decluttering increases your motivation.

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Ask yourself these 12 questions to decide if something deserves a spot in your home:

1

Is this item something I’m currently using?

2

Is this something I would buy right now if I saw it in a store?

3

Is the thought of wasting money keeping me from getting rid of this item?

4

Is this something I love? (Does it “spark joy?”)

5

Am I keeping this for sentimental reasons?

6

Do I have future plans for using this item or am I saving it “just in case”?

7

Do I have multiples of this item?

8

When I wear this, do I feel confident?

9

Could someone else use this more than I do?

10

If I were moving to a new home, would I pack this and bring it with me?

11

Is this item worth the time I spend maintaining, cleaning, and/or storing it?

12

Could I make money selling this item?

Request a service from your local Bio-One team.

Bio-One

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