Friday, 17 April 2015

Spring cleaning Tips

Spring cleaning tips that will bring some minimalism to your home

Written by Paul Stricker
Spring cleaning season is back and, despite an apparent trend for self-cleaning robot vacuums, most of us will be forced to settle for more traditional methods of de-cluttering this April. And we know you'll be getting busy soon, as according to Mintel, a third (32%) of Brits give their home an extra thorough, top-to-bottom deep clean when the days start getting warmer or lighter. But where do you start?

Recently we met with Paul Stricker, the MD and Founder of boxman.co.uk, a forward-thinking company that takes the faff out of self-storage, to find out his top tips on an effective spring clean. This will ensure your home is looking spick and span just as the lovely weather begins.

1. Throw away items before you buy more
Don't purchase new storage supplies for your home before you start Spring-cleaning. Though it may seem like the right idea to invest in new bins and baskets, the aim of this process is to remove as much clutter from your home as you can – having an excessive amount of storage containers will only hold you back. Decide what you want to get rid of first to determine how many new storage supplies you need – you may surprise yourself and find you already have too much.

2. Stop being overly sentimental
Sentimentality is the biggest enemy of minimalism. Yes, that clay beer mug you made in art class at age 11 may conjure up fond memories of a once-ambitious career in the art world, but it's getting in the way of your new clutter-free home. If it's sitting on the shelf, collecting dust and generally not serving a purpose then purge it from your living space.

3. Store it somewhere else
It's difficult to throw things away indiscriminately as you'll never know when you might need it, but if you're struggling for space and really do need to clear things out, but don't want to make it a permanent move, then perhaps consider putting it into storage with Boxman. We're the storage company with a difference, delivering sturdy waterproof boxes straight to your door at just £5 per box. You store the items you want removed from your home for however long you need and we come and collect it at a time of your choosing. It couldn't be simpler, and it's the perfect solution for anyone finding it hard to throw away possessions.

4. The four-box method
Implementing a Spring-cleaning system forces you to make decisions without dwelling on them for too long. The four-box method is simple – take three large cardboard boxes and label them 'put away', 'give away' and 'storage'. In addition to this, have a large bin bag close to hand for any items that can simply be thrown away. This system not only helps you make de-cluttering decisions but hugely speeds up the process at the same time.

5. Establish clutter zones
Clutter-free living is, in reality, pretty rare. Even the neatest people we know still toss clothing on their floors from time to time. Accept this reality and establish clutter zones where items are allowed so long as they remain within the designated boundaries. For example, establish a kitchen drawer where everyday items such as medicine and stationary are kept, or a large plastic basket where your kids can keep their toys. This ensures the Spring-cleaning process has a long-lasting effect on your home.

6. Tag your items
Once you've Spring-cleaned your home, label your storage boxes with details of what's inside them. Clutter builds up the quickest when we're searching for items in a rush, so this process will minimise the amount of items you abandon on the floor when hunting for your summer flip flops or winter ski socks. Through this system, you're less likely to backtrack on your Spring-cleaning steps.

7. Set yourself a de-clutter challenge
Get rid of 100 things in a weekend – set yourself a realistic target, one weekend of the month, and stick to it. If it takes a long time to reach a goal, it becomes harder to finish it, so – if you set yourself the task of completing your decluttering in one weekend – you're more likely to finish the job. A good trick is to pretend you're moving home and then think about what you would get rid of in this situation if it were real. It's likely that you'll have items like teddy bears, old broken electronics and candles lying about, so use this opportunity to free yourself of this unwanted stuff. Don't hold onto something when there is no point in doing so – if it's broken or you think you will never have a need for it again, take it to a local recycling station or charity shop.

8. Get inspired by bloggers
Get inspired and visit blogs, Pinterest, or do some online reading about people living minimally. You might just want to try it yourself! William Morris once said, 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.' This phrase may hold the key to transforming you home from a cluttered nightmare to a minimalistic haven.

9. Create a checklist
There are loads of Spring-cleaning challenges you can find online to get your home into tip-top shape if you're lacking the motivation or know-how about where to start. Our advice would be to create a list of each room in your property and then draw out a plan of what needs to be done on each day. For instance, a list for your kitchen could include: day one – organise and toss expired food; day two – scrub down fridge, etc. Planning your schedule into easy steps will gradually help to organise your home, but you'll notice a big difference after a number of weeks.

10. Create cleaning zones
Focus on your top spots. If you have one weekend, look at the areas that most need your attention. This could be your bedroom, living room and kitchen, so don't try to spread yourself too thinly by attempting to combat it all on one go. Spend your time tackling these rooms first and then approach the others at a later date

11. Don't treat it like a chore
When decluttering, you will often pull out stacks, clothes or pictures that will make you nostalgic. You will inevitably find clothes that make you think, 'I can't believe I ever wore that.' This is all part of the fun, especially if you are brave enough to try these items back on just for the laugh. You can get the children involved by making it a game about who can make the most space in their rooms, and award them afterwards.

12. Minimise multiples
This is the perfect time to ask yourself if you really need four pizza cutters, three different blenders or the hundreds of virtually empty Lemsip boxes in your medicine cabinet. The answer of course is that you don't. Have a hunt around for all the multiples in your house and bin without mercy. Your home will thank you.

13. Think twice before buying
It's an unfortunate fact of life, but every new thing you bring into your home requires some kind of maintenance. Quite often, we unnecessarily replace old items without clearing space first. So as a general rule, if you don't have any room to store your new purchase or really need it, then don't buy it. It's perhaps sometimes easier said than done, and of course all need some pampering every now and then, but adopting this philosophy will save you space as well as money.

14. Whittle down to what you truly wear
You probably own a hundred different jumpers, but how many do you actually wear on a daily basis? We often take clothes from the top of the rack and wear them over and over again. If this sounds like you, then it might be time for a clear out. Start by selecting 20-30 items to wear over the next three months and put the rest into a box. This will be the first important step to realising you've got more clothing than you actually even want to wear.

15. Stop pretending to organise
Organising rather than removing can just add to your overall clutter. Storing it neatly and forgetting it exists only prolongs the process of decluttering, and can be an absolute nightmare when moving house. So if you're clearing up, don't be afraid to store some of it permanently in the bin.

Tips provided by Paul Stricker, founder and managing director of Boxman.co.uk, the self-storage company with a simple difference – you only need to pack


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