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  • Emily Tse

Spring Cleaning Habit Challenge: Channel the Nightclub Bouncer Within

Spring is in the air! Or so I tell myself, as I look out the window and watch it snow sideways. It’s that time of year when many of us start to get a bit antsy and feel the urge to spruce things up a little. Maybe even boldly brush the cobwebs off the pile of non-yoga-related pants that haven’t seen the light of day since 2019. We’ve been spending more time at home than ever and if you’re starting to notice that the closets are busting open or the drawers aren’t closing the way they used to, then you might be looking for a quick and painless way to clear the clutter.

If you google “decluttering challenge,” you will find a ton of guides to help you get rid of a specific number of items each day or a certain category every day of the month. If this type of challenge works for you, then absolutely keep doing it! For me, they’ve never worked. If something feels arbitrary in my mind, then the change will be temporary. How could a generic article know how many shoes I should have? Instead of cleaning out the same number of items each year, letting the clutter rebuild and doing it all over again the next spring, I would rather figure out how to change the habit so that I have less work to do later.

If throwing away 9 scrunchies on the 9th of March or 10 ladles on the 10th isn’t really working for you either, try this habit challenge instead.

Habit #1 - Learn from the Ghost of Clutters Past

Don’t just purge your closet, look closely at the items leaving. Are they all similar fabrics that you hate the feel of on your skin? Impulse buys that were on sale but you didn’t really love? Hand-me-downs that fit poorly? Whatever the theme is, identify it and use it as a tool to shop more intentionally this year.

Habit #2 - Channel your inner nightclub bouncer

Imagine your home is a nightclub, you are the bouncer, and your incoming clutter is an underage frat boy with a dollar store fake mustache. Bear with me here. If you can keep the unnecessary stuff from getting in in the first place, then you save yourself the work of decluttering it later! As a recovering free swag enthusiast, I challenge you to notice when free or unwanted items are sneaking into your house and learn to politely decline, or donate immediately. Those branded magnets at your work conference? Your fridge is already covered, please leave them at the conference. The clothes your friend thought you’d like that don’t fit very well? Thank her for the thinking of you, then ask her to offer them to another friend or donate instead.

Habit #3 - Find the winners first

Usually the first decluttering instinct is to start by pulling out items that you want to get rid of. However, that can actually be quite difficult because you likely chose to bring many of those items into your home in the first place (or at least justified their presence for a while). Instead, swap the order. Pick out the favourites or the best items first. Then try to let go of what remains.

Habit #4 - Create a permanent donation spot in your home

This one is a game changer for me. I was the queen of “this sweater is too snug, I’ll just hang it back up until I do my closet clean out." This approach keeps your clutter hiding in all the nooks and crannies of your home until you're forced to do a huge clean out. If you have a permanent spot to put your donations as you find them in your day to day life, then it doesn’t build up nearly as quickly. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, mine is a plastic set of drawers in the basement labeled for donation, eco-station, and reuse center. As soon as I notice something I’d like to get rid of, it goes in the drawers. When they fill up, I box them up and take them where they need to go.

Keep it simple!

Don't try to find the perfect guide to tell you exactly what you should have in your home, because it doesn't really exist. All you can do is be mindful of what your keepers are and amp up security to keep out all the knick-knacks and sneaky trinkets that were never on the guest list to begin with. Happy spring cleaning!

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