The month of February can be odd. It’s awkwardly in the middle of winter and spring, with some of the worst parts of both seasons. It’s still cold, but not always cold enough to freeze meaning the gorgeous snow from last month has turned into grey slush. The days are starting to get longer, but since the snow is melting there isn’t much you can do to enjoy the longer days. The magic of the holidays has fully worn off with no other major holidays in the foreseeable future. The good news is that February is short and Spring is only a month away! Instead of giving into the gloom that can easily creep up this time of year, put your Netflix binging to good use and take some tips from the now-viral Marie Kondo. Clean up and organize your apartment this month, adding brightness and lifting your mood to get you through the last few weeks of Winter.
Step 1: Plan
This is the step that many people skip and subsequently never finish the project. Organization and cleaning can easily be an overwhelming task, especially if you tend to be a messier individual, have children, or if it’s been a while since you’ve attempted to clean or organize. If you take a little time beforehand to assess and make a plan your chances for success will be that much higher. Take a good, long look at what you want to accomplish and how you can reasonably accomplish it. If you’re generally a tidy person maybe you don’t need to do much, just a deep clean and quick reorganization. If that’s the case decide if you’re going to go room-to-room, top-to-bottom (ceiling to floor), inside-out (cabinets, drawers, and closets, then surfaces), or some other combination that makes sense to you. If you have more of a challenge on your hands you may want to break it down further, so read on for tips on that.
Step 2: Declutter
Once you have a plan a good next step is to declutter and get rid of items you don’t use or need. If you want to go all-in you can try the KonMari Method by stacking all your belongings in a pile and deciding one-by-one if you want to keep the item or discard it (does it spark joy?). If the thought of that undertaking gives you anxiety it’s okay to start smaller. Go room by room and try a KonMari Lite version, for example start in the kitchen and take things out of the cabinets and drawers to see what exactly you have and what you can get rid of. Or you can start in the bedroom and go through all the items in your closet and dresser drawers. You can decide what to donate or what may be in good enough condition to sell online. If you do try to sell things online make sure to actually get rid of them instead of letting things pile up in a corner again.
Step 3: Clean and Organize
Once you have fewer items it’ll be easier to find places to put them. This is also the step where you can do some research and find organizational items and tools like drawer separators, shelving units, and boxes. There are tons of self-help and advice articles and listicles with tips on how to organize any space, so if you’re ever stuck just do a quick internet search. As you’re putting your belongings back make sure you’re cleaning and dusting surfaces as you go so that by the time you’re done you’ll have minimal cleaning to do. You can also use this step as a backup to step two. If there are any items that you can’t figure out where to put ask yourself again if it’s something you should keep or donate.
Step 4: Make Changes
Like step one, this step is often skipped even though it’s arguably the most important. It’s also quite possibly the hardest. This is the step that keeps you from going back to square one by the time Spring fully gets here, making your efforts all for naught. Once you’re done cleaning, organizing, and decluttering take a few moments to fully enjoy your nice, new apartment. Then take a few more moments to reflect on what brought you to that mess, and what you can do in the future to stop it from happening again. Do you have a habit of coming home and putting everything on the kitchen counter? Make an effort to instead go through the mail right away and put your coat in the closet before doing anything else. Are you one to leave little things out so they pile up on all open surfaces? Commit to take the dishes to the sink right away, fold the blanket on the couch before going to bed, and put things up as soon as you’re done using them. A good rule of thumb is if the task will take a minute or less to complete do it now rather than putting it off.
Did you follow these steps and have before and after shots, or did we miss your favorite tidy tip? Find us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to let us know!