It is that time of year again. Some people love it, some people hate it, but either way, it has to get done. Yes, we are talking about spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is a great opportunity to declutter your home. You should take this opportunity to get rid of somethings and organize the rest.
Consequences of a Cluttered Home:
- Limited air flow– You always want to optimize airflow and circulation throughout your home to aid moisture control and mold prevention. Clutter tends to obstruct airflow and increase the risk of moisture buildup from humidity and condensation.
- Difficult cleaning– More stuff means more surfaces to clean and more obstacles to maneuver around to access everything for cleaning purposes. It is a hassle to get into all the nooks and crannies to make sure everything is cleaned thoroughly. That is, if you can reach it at all.
- Hidden problems- Difficult to access areas also mean difficult to see areas. All that clutter can be covering up hidden property damage that should really been addressed as soon as possible. As you remove items from your home you may discover signs of water damage or mold development that would have, otherwise, gone unnoticed.
- It is just plain stressful– Clutter means chaos. The stress of rummage through stuff to find that one thing that you need or the constantly lingering thought “I really need to get rid of some stuff” (but never doing so), it’s enough to drive a person mad.
Spring Cleaning & Decluttering Tips:
- Make a list: Lists are great for three reasons:
- It is incredibly satisfying to cross things off a list as you complete each task.
- It establishes a game plan and keeps your end goal in perspective.
- It holds you accountable and increases the likelihood of you actually completing the tasks.
- Know your limits: Set reasonable expectations for the project. It is easy to get overly excited at the start and set too high of expectations for the final results. Unattainable goals will only leave you overwhelmed and drive you to give up on the task before completion. For example: Do not run out right away and buy all these fancy organization and storage systems right away. Take some time to assess what you have and what you want to get rid of. THEN determine the most practical approach to organizing and storing everything. You should try to break the project down into multiple, smaller parts if it seems more manageable that way. This way you you can set smaller, intermediate goals for yourself, which may help motivate you to keep moving forward.
- Sort your stuff: Establish a sorting system for your stuff. For example: Set up boxes and label them: “keep,” “storage,” “donate,” etc. By sorting your items, you can break down a large cleanup into smaller, more manageable tasks. Be sure to transport full boxes to the designated locations IMMEDIATELY so they don’t just end up sitting around waiting to be ignored next spring.
- Rule of Thumb: Develop general guidelines of what to get rid of. For example: A good rule of thumb for clothing– If you haven’t worn it within the last year, chances are you won’t ever wear it. Get rid of it! Or old, unused electronics– most likely they don’t work or are too dated to be practical anymore. Get rid of it! Be honest!
- Practicality: Some organizational tools and methods work great for some and not so great for others. Make sure you organize your stuff so that it is most suited to your needs and most functional for your daily routine. A practical system will help you maintain the organization year-round and avoid the need for a major cleaning project once a year. Also, be practical about what you bring into your home everyday. Just because it is on sale, does not mean you NEED it.
- Regular Maintenance: Make a it habit to routinely assess your stuff. Regularly assess your home and get rid of anything you think you don’t need. Don’t put it off and convince yourself that you will get rid of it eventually… you won’t.
- Don’t forget the attic, basement and crawl space: It is easy to forget to organize these spaces, but remember that these spaces are the most vulnerable to moisture buildup and mold development. IMPORTANT NOTE: when organizing your main living spaces, DO NOT simply toss all your unwanted items into your attic, basement or crawl space and consider that “storage.” Attics, basements and crawl spaces were not meant to be storage spaces (as convenient as that may be). These spaces need sufficient ventilation, continuous air circulation and consistent moisture control. Storing an excessive amount of stuff in your attic, basement or crawl space can negate all moisture and mold preventatives.
If you discover any suspicious staining, discoloration or signs of water damage during your spring cleaning, you should consider consulting a professional to have your home inspected for mold. Uncovering home in your home can be rather stressful, the professionals can help. For more information on mold inspections in New Jersey, call 1-800-310-3226.