Spring Cleaning

It’s finally Spring in Chicago and I have been bitten by the NEED to organize my home!  All of the May magazines are advertising articles for spring cleaning and organizing, and the glossy pictures of minimalist craft rooms and pantries has me drooling.  YES!  I need a wall mounted wrapping paper station!

But let’s take a beat here, because when we talk about getting organized, we are not talking about running out to our local hardware store and buying ‘organizers’.  Besides, I am more of a gift bag girl.  No, the first step to getting organized is, in a word, purging.

The sustainable side of me always cringes at that word because too often it means ‘send it to the landfill.’  But that is not what I mean.  When we talk about purging, we talk about a philosophical shift in your home.  Make due with less.  I marvel at my home every time I return from a vacation, because I have just lived my life for a week with the sum total of that which I can carry.  So what in the heck do I really need the rest of this stuff for?  Let’s give it to someone else who DOES need it and CAN use it.

Start with your cabinets.  What is in there?  Are they things you use all of the time?  Or are they ‘put away’, therefore have a place in your home.  Be honest with yourself here, but also be forgiving.  Is there something in there with the tag on it, that you thought you were going to use, but haven’t quite had the opportunity?  Let it go.  Get a big plastic bin and delicately place it in there…the lovely people at Salvation Army will sell it and do great things with the money.  The same goes with discarded items you ‘might find a use for one day’.  Also, anything that ‘when I find the time I am going to…’ and anything the kids haven’t picked up in a while.  They all go in the bin.  Forgive yourself by saying that it’s not fair to the next person that you are keeping these things when they, or their children, could be using them right now.  Recycle that which cannot be donated, of course, and now you have some serious storage space to place the items you trip over because you use them on a regular basis.

Rarely do I meet a client that legitimately needs more storage.  More often than not, they just need less stuff.  The reality is that if you build storage in the attic or the basement, you will actually store things on your stairs awaiting the person who will walk them up to the attic or down to the basement.  Once there, well, now they have a place in your home.  And there they shall sit.

Published by Kate Scheck

Interior Design Student

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