Sunday, 31 July 2016

Decluttering: it's not Just a Spring Thing

When most people think of cleaning, of decluttering, they think of the spring. People these days seem to be married to the idea of the "Spring Clean"- the annual clean-up job that we defer as long as possible, that takes place long after clutter has become entirely manageable, and that only takes place at all because the calendar deems it necessary. That's not the right way to look at decluttering. Living in a cluttered space isn't good for your physical or psychological well-being, so don't. Midsummer is as good a time to declutter as any, let 1-800-Ridofit help you do it. Here are four guiding principles to aid your summer declutter.

1. Space it out

A comprehensive decluttering (especially an overdue one) can seem intimidating at the outset. Rather than setting aside a whole day and getting disheartened when you're halfway through and still unable to see any discernible progress, set aside a couple of hours on a couple of separate days and small-chunk your work. Focus on one room, one category, or set one goal each day and work towards it over the course of the time you've set aside. You'll be better able to see your progress, and that'll help keep you consistently motivated.

2. Plan, plan, plan

Before you get started on these individual bits of work, plan them out. Sit down at the outset and map out what needs to get done, how you're going to get it done and when you're going to get it done. Again, stick to 1 objective per day to avoid getting overloaded and parcel out a couple of hours to get the work done. With your work small-chunked and a clear plan of action in front of you at all times, the work will go by faster than you can imagine.

3. Keep what's necessary, keep what brings you joy

In her best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo introduces and explains a new, innovative, methodological approach to decluttering. She advocates for a ruthless approach when it comes to a comprehensive clean: disposing of anything that doesn't either "spark joy" or have a necessary purpose in day-to-day life (like a clothing iron or a set of cutlery). This may be a little extreme for your purposes, but it's a good starting point. How many superfluous non-joyful, non-necessary things do you have? How many should you have? These are good questions to ask yourself.

4. Start small, work your way up

A great objective for your first morning, afternoon, or evening of cleaning is to get rid of things that are useless. Old office supplies, un-paired socks, extra kitchenware, old movies- give your living space a once-over and get rid of the actual junk. If you're unsure about any particular item, ask yourself two simple questions: do I use this? Will I ever use this? If the honest answer to both is no, turf it. The soon-to-come real, in-depth cleaning and organizing will be a lot easier with all of that excess waste out of the way.

Set out a plan of attack, space out your work, trash what isn't joyful or necessary, and start small, with the actual trash, before you get to work on the heavy lifting, and you'll be in good shape for what is hopefully the first of many Summer Cleanings to come.

Monday, 18 July 2016


Making the decision to downsize isn't easy, nor should it be. When you've lived somewhere for a long time or grown accustomed to a certain way of life, it can be difficult to let go. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't let go, though. One of the hardest parts of aging, as I see it, is coming to terms with the fact that you can't always do the things that you used to be able to do. Admitting to yourself that it might be time to do things differently, deciding that it's time to downsize, isn't easy. If you're here, reading this article, you've already made that difficult decision, so now it's my job to make sure that the actual process of downsizing itself isn't nearly as difficult as that decision was- here are my top 5 tips.

1. Start with a list of essentials and sentimental items. You should have a firm idea of just what's going to stay and what's going to go well before you clean your first room or pack your first box. Leaving something behind is much tougher when that thing is staring you in the face than when you're sitting in the kitchen and making an impartial, objective list, so make one, and stick to it. Figure out what you're going to need and justify why you're going to need it (or if it's sentimental, why you can't leave it) and don't deviate from your list, hard as it may be.

2. Give. It's a lot easier to justify keeping something when the alternative is turning it into a couple of bucks or shipping it off to sit atop a junk-heap, so work a local charity or thrift shop into your downsizing plans. A prized sweater that's been in your collection for years could keep a homeless person warm, a personal collection of DVD's sold affordably could be the only entertainment a low-income household has access to, so don't hoard, don't hang on, give.

3. Get some help. Call a daughter, grandson, neighbour, or friend. Not only does and an extra set of hands make the work go by quicker and feel easier, but bringing someone else in to help with your move will help you be more effective when it comes to deciding what ought to stay and what ought to go. A helper will be sympathetic to your feelings, but they'll also be ruthless where you can't be, reminding you what you will and won't use and questioning which things are important. This is a job you don't have to do alone, so don't.

4. Remember: how much space do you have? It can be easy to pick arbitrarily and choose what's going to stay and what isn't based on what you want to keep or even what you think you need to keep, but you shouldn't make those decisions without keeping firmly in mind what you can manage to keep. Once you've picked out a new place, keep the floor plan for constant reference. Assess storage space and contextualize by actually comparing rooms in the new house with rooms in the old house rather than working off of dimensions alone. It doesn't matter how much you want to keep if what you can afford to keep doesn't match up.

5. Delete duplicates. Years of accumulating things with only intermittent, informal decluttering leads to excess; you have a few too many of a few things. Maybe it's several sets of wine glasses, maybe it's a half-dozen different bedroom sets, maybe it's more towels than you can count, but you have some things, probably more than some, that you don't need, and you don't have to be ashamed about it. When you're downsizing, though, it can't continue. You need all the space you can manage for the things that matter, so don't waste it on duplicates you don't need.

Downsizing doesn't have to be difficult. Use these tips as a starting point; be sentimental but intellectual, thoughtful but ruthless, considerate but efficient, and you'll be in good shape.