After all, a clean space means a clear mind, right?
Marie Kondo didn’t invent it, but she probably wishes she had. May 17 is National Pack Rat Day. A day so famous, it has not one but two Twitter hashtags – and even MTV has tweeted about it.
So, what is it? A Hallmark holiday? The clever marketing ploy of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals? (Because truly, there is a professional organization for everything.)
In a nutshell: it’s a day to declutter. On the serious side, it’s a day to highlight the dangerous effects of hoarding. On a lighter note, it’s a day to make us feel guilty about the spring cleaning we’ve been putting off because cleaning is boring and we'd rather be outside enjoying spring, not cleaning just because the right season has finally arrived!
If you're not sure where to start, but you’re still ready to join in #PackRatDay (or #NationalPackRatDay) to ditch what no longer gives you joy: fear not. Professional home cleaning experts from around the country have chimed in with life hacks and tips to help you clean at least one thing in your house today:
How to Get Started
- “When working with a client on a large area to be decluttered, I suggest starting at the doorway and moving around the room in a clockwise fashion to declutter the space. This helps to keep you on a path as opposed to zigzagging across a room multiple times. Need to take a break for an hour or a few days? Place a brightly colored pillow or scarf at the spot where you’ll need to start decluttering next.” – Stacy Agin Murray, Professional Organizer, Organized Artistry, LLC
- “The most important thing to ask yourself is 'do I need this item?' It is so easy to hold on to the things that we like or that remind us of certain memories, but how often are we actually using these things? Try to remember that the memory is in our minds and we don’t necessarily need to keep all of our physical items. I recommend taking photos of your belongings you want to remember but don’t physically need. This allows us to see the photo for a feeling of nostalgia without consuming our living space.” – Jenna Haefelin, owner of Spiff Home Organizing
- “My best decluttering hack is using a 3D box: Distribute, Donate, and Dump. Take three boxes or containers to an area you are going to declutter. Put items in one of the 3D categories: distributed items are those to be distributed in another room; donated items are to be given away to charity, a library or hospital; and dump items are items to toss because they’re not worth giving away, they’re broken, or don’t work.” – Eileen Roth, author of Organizing for Dummies and founder, Everything in Its Place
Rethink Your Space
- “Staircases have some of the largest wall space anywhere inside a property. If the stairs are sufficiently wide, shelving can be installed along a staircase wall to expand storage and give stairs a unique aesthetic appeal.” – Marshall Weber, Stor-It Self Storage
- “Make-up bags that come with giveaways can be used for keeping all your computer and phone cords in one spot. They are perfect for small hobby supplies such as those used by knitters, quilters, and scrapbookers. They are often brightly colored and easily spotted — put a small one in your glove compartment with proof of insurance inside so you can quickly locate it.” – Christine Hofler, owner of Curate for Joy! and Certified KonMari™ Consultant.
- “Don’t get stuck in limited ways of thinking. Reflect on where you use each of your items, which may be different than anyone else. You might keep the sheets for each bed in the bedroom where they are used to free up space in the linen closet. You might use the top of a bedroom closet as storage space for old taxes in order to free up space in your home office.” – Pam Holland Professional Organizer & Productivity Consultant, Mindful Decluttering & Organizing, LLC
How to Prevent New Clutter
- “I suggest sorting your mail before you set it on any surface in your home. Recycle junk mail immediately, place bills where you keep your computer or checkbook, and put reading material where you typically read (on a bedside table or next to your favorite chair). This daily practice prevents paper clutter from taking up your time and your space. If you have kids, have them go through their backpacks while you are going through the mail so they get in the habit of reducing paper clutter as well.” – Amy Bloomer, Owner & Founder of LetYour Space BLOOM, LLC
- Toys are the worst clutter culprits. If you have young children, plastic bins with a picture of what goes in which bin may make it easier for little ones to make sure that each one of their toys has a home. Older kids can do this themselves, but be clear on what you consider to be organized and tidy; shoving everything into the closet cannot be an option! Help them along the way by providing bins or filing cabinets, shelves or stacking boxes.” – Sophie Kaemmerle, home improvement expert with NeighborWho.com
What's your favorite decluttering hack? Share it in the comments below!