For The Big Spring Spruce-Up, we’re throwing our windows wide open and letting in all that fresh air. Follow along for handy tips and game-changing tricks—cleaning and organizing to-dos, home decorating projects, and more.
Large-scale decluttering can be a multi-day process, especially if you’re using the KonMari method, and sometimes you just aren’t feeling up to that—not yet, anyway. You have to be in the right mindset to take on a whole-home cleaning adventure, and taking a few baby steps in the right direction can be a good way to pump yourself up.
To help ourselves get in the tidying-up spirit, we asked certified KonMari consultants for their favorite tiny decluttering tasks that make a noticeable difference. All of their suggestions will take just a few minutes, but you’ll immediately see the results—which will hopefully get you in the mood for spring cleaning. Even if it doesn’t, your house will still feel a little bit neater, and we count that as a win.
Instead of carving out a big chunk of time to declutter, why not just do it little by little each day? Caitlin Roberts, owner of Minimize With Purpose and a Master-level KonMari consultant (that means she’s held more than 500 tidying sessions!), suggests creating a donation bag or basket in your home. As you and your family go about your daily routine, pick out items that rarely get used and don’t “spark joy” and put them in the basket.
“As you go about your everyday life and notice an item no longer serves a purpose in your life, drop it in the donation bag,” she recommends. “When the bag is full, it is time to donate.” Using this method can make decluttering seem much less daunting. Here’s where to donate all your home goods, from kitchen appliances to electronics.
Patty Morrissey, a professional organizer and Gold-level KonMari consultant, says your kitchen counters are a rewarding place to declutter. This area tends to accumulate a lot of “stuff,” whether it’s dishes, mail, bags of chips, small appliances, or other random items. “In the kitchen, aim to keep countertops clear,” she recommends. “This will make it easier to clean up after cooking.”
Roberts echoes this sentiment, explaining that, “You can really transform a room by keeping your countertops clear and clutter-free.” Plus, it only takes a few minutes to put away any items that might be lingering on your kitchen counters. Tiny task, big benefits.
Another way to banish common clutter? Open and process your mail every day. “When you receive your mail, immediately dump any junk mail into your recycling bin,” recommends Roberts. “Identify what items need to be dealt with, and either process right away or schedule a time to do so.” This will prevent piles of paper from building up on the counter, table, desk, etc.
Most of us spend at least part of our days on computers or phones, so why not take a few minutes to tidy up your digital space, too? This can be as simple as organizing items that have accumulated on your desktop or going through your phone and deleting a few apps you haven’t used in a while.
If you notice an area of your house is looking particularly messy, try tackling it one type of item at a time. “Group items by category first so that you can see just how much of each item you have—you may not have realized that you had so many wooden spoons, for example,” says Morrissey. Following with the kitchen theme, pull out all the spatulas and sort through them. Repeat with knives, then whisks, and so on.
When you put the items back, “arrange things to make them easy to put away,” she recommends. The idea here is if you have to move a bunch of items to put your slow cooker back in the cabinet, you’re probably just going to leave it on the counter for a few days. “This will make it more likely that things will get put back after use.”
Finally, another small cleaning task that can make a world of difference is cleaning off side tables. Whether it’s your bedside table or the coffee table in your living room, these areas are hot spots for clutter.
Recycle any lingering water bottles, and put cups and plates in the dishwasher—don’t be tempted to leave them on the counter. Put books back on shelves, and throw away any trash. It will only take a few minutes, and you’ll be left with a clean, clear surface you can feel good about.