When you’re moving to New York and find yourself plunged into hectic tasks like looking for cheap movers, the last thing you probably feel like doing is spring cleaning. Yet, decluttering and sanitizing is an unavoidable aspect of moving into a new place, as well as keeping your current home organized.
If you’ve never tackled spring cleaning, you’re not alone. About 12 percent of Americans don’t undertake this annual task, traditionally handled in March or April. But moving prep, along with general spring cleaning, doesn’t have to be a massive ordeal. To get you over the psychological hurdles of decluttering, here are a few tips.
- Sweep out the guilt.
One of the hardest parts of getting organized is the emotional burden involved in throwing things away. Whether it’s your kids’ kindergarten crafts or the coin collection of a deceased loved one, it’s hard to let go of the past. But even when you’ve found some great NYC storage, there’s often not enough room in both your home and a new storage unit to contain all of your boxed-up memories.
The first obvious solution is to discard or donate the bulkiest mementos. That stuffed animal collection was probably left behind for a reason, being no longer of use to those who once prized them. If you’re having trouble getting rid of all of those larger items, consider keeping just a couple of things to serve as representatives. A pair of trophies or souvenir mugs can serve as bookends, while wedding veils, sports jerseys and christening caps can be displayed in shadow boxes, perhaps to hang on a blank wall over the staircase.
On the other hand, paper items such as letters, handmade Mother’s Day cards and old photos are much easier to consolidate into a few easily-shelved scrapbooks.
- Create a battle plan.
Put your feet up, pour a glass of wine and get out your notepad. Making a list of what you need to do for your decluttering project can actually be pretty painless, given that the labor and really hard decisions are still ahead of you.
Every organizational “expert” claims to have the best spring cleaning method, whether it’s the classic process of scouring and decluttering your house from top to bottom, or the alternative room-by-room method. In reality, whatever you feel most motivated to do is the “right” way. Many people prefer to have only one room turned upside-down at a time so that they can shut the door on the chaos when needed.
Along with your list of what order you’ll be cleaning and sorting, you’ll also need to create a list of things to buy, such as dust cloths, garbage bags, and storage bins. Visualize each of your rooms, and the tasks each requires, in order to calculate your supply list needs.
Of course, if your decluttering project is part of a moving plan, make sure to jot down notes like “storage nyc” and “nyc movers” to help you remember to make arranging for those aspects of the process.
- Repurpose what you love.
Often the items that you really love — but which don’t currently serve a utilitarian function — can be repurposed as useful storage options. In fact, there’s something uniquely satisfying about rescuing an item that gives you pleasure but currently just takes up space, combined with saving the money you would have spent at a container store.
For example, are you moving to a New York apartment without a balcony, but can’t bear to part with your Italian ceramic containers? Those flower pots will serve as colorful holders for kitchen tongs and wooden spoons. Similarly, a beloved antique bench from your current home’s foyer can be placed at the foot of a guest bedroom in the new apartment to hold blankets and suitcases on top, while organizing your extra shoes beneath. And those slatted shutters from your grandparents’ cottage can be hung in your new entryway to hold unsorted mail.
- Unleash your domestic goddess (or god).
Of course, you can’t rely on repurposed items to corral all of your household items. So before you start re-hanging and re-filing everything in sight, take a long look at what kind of containers, shelving, document holders and other organizational systems you’ll need.
After all, hitting the home goods store can actually be fun. If your taste runs to the rustic, there’s no reason your craft supplies can’t be sorted into various-sized wicker baskets, or that your bills can’t be stashed away in fancy leather file folders. When you’re really on a roll, even finding a wheeled bin that’s just the right size to fit under your bed can be a bit of a natural high!
- Get your facts straight.
While how much storage room you can devote to sentimental items is a personal decision, it’s often even harder to figure out what records the authority figures in your life may one day require of you.
There’s plenty of expert advice online to let you know what you’ll need forever (birth certificates, life insurance policies), what you may need for five to seven years (tax returns and loan documents) and what should be tossed after a year, if not sooner (paid bills, old insurance policy info and receipts that you don’t need for tax purposes).
Accordion files are ideal for many of the documents you need to keep, while a small, fireproof safe or an off-site safety deposit box are best for things like passports and death certificates.
To avoid identity theft — while also reducing the physical size of your throw-away pile — a paper shredder is invaluable. If you garden, you can even mix the shredded paper into your compost pile.
- Find a home for everything.
The British habit of talking about where spoons or brooms “live” is a useful one to cultivate because it helps underscore the need for all of your household items to have their own “homes.” While you should never be afraid of taking out and enjoying your things, the answer to where they get put away can never be, “Well, it depends!”
Whether it’s a nightstand tray to contain your reading glasses and phone charger, or row of kitchen hooks to hang all the potholders, ladles and measuring cups that usually fall out of cupboards, finding a perfect spot for everything will make finding and using these items less stressful.
- Keep the tasks bearable.
Spring cleaning is hard enough, without psyching yourself out with thoughts like, “One set of cleaning supplies was good enough for my mother,” or “Disposable wipes are a waste of money.” It’s important to invest in the kind of infrastructure that is most likely to keep you working.
Know your own limits. Some people don’t mind running up and down the stairs with a mop and bucket or to get another garbage bag. But if you’re the type who gets immobilized when adding one more step to the process, it’s better to stock your upstairs linen closet or spare room closet with some extra cleaning supplies.
Finally, don’t make yourself a martyr to this task. There’s no reason you can’t listen to a new audiobook or dance mix while you’re moving around. If you expect to be sitting in one place going through old bills, turn on an old movie can’t keep you company. And if you’re doing something truly mindless, like folding clothes, consider calling a friend on the speakerphone.
- Tackle your outside spaces.
It’s probably best to save organizing your garage and yard for last because those “go to dump” bags, along with storage unit containers, are probably just going to get docked there anyway until you’re ready for one big haul.
Once you do get ready to declutter these exterior spaces, however, it’s important to sort them into zones or categories, so every item is easily found when needed. A patio shouldn’t be where you keep your sports equipment, just as barbecue brushes don’t belong on the garage work table during the wintertime. Even if some of your zones only require a small amount of space, it’s best to a designate a bin or a shelf just for those items.
- Prepare for your NYC storagetrip.
No matter how masterful you become at tossing out or finding new uses for household items, there comes a time when you either have too many things for your current home, or you need to stash them while you’re in a transitional period. That’s why the categories like moving companies NYC and storage NYC are more versatile than you may realize.
For example, you don’t need to have an overflow of expensive furniture in order to justify a personal storage unit. Many apartment dwellers, for example, make room in their cramped space by storing coats, sweaters and ski supplies in their units during the summer, then switching those items for things like balcony furniture once the temperatures cool.
And if you’re concerned about putting things in storage that you can’t easily drive to, don’t be. Shleppers Moving and Storage will not only pick up the items you need to store, but they will return them when they’re needed. And if spring cleaning has you in too much of a time crunch to ready those storage items, Shleppers can bring the appropriate packing materials, and even wrap and pack the items for you, all under your direction.
- Reward yourself.
You’ve found the cheap movers and the NYC storage, and you’ve got your new space set up perfectly. Now what? Well, why not give yourself some treats to help you really appreciate that hard work? A party is a great way to celebrate the floor space you’ve opened up.
For a longer-lasting reward, invest in some high-quality replacements for the rusted small appliances and moldy bath mats you sent to the junk pile before moving to New York. Those items are also useful ways to add pops of color to your decor — not to mention that unique feeling of getting off to a fresh start.
And don’t neglect the simple pleasures in life that make spring cleaning worth it! Little treats keep the thrill of a good declutter going. After all, that glistening fridge is just begging for you to indulge yourself with some high-quality produce, cheese and sparkling water. Even your newly-partitioned sock drawer would look better with some colorful knee-highs and tennis socks.
Whatever your domestically-geared guilty pleasures — be they expensive natural cleaners or fresh ballpoint pens for your cleaned-off desk — don’t be afraid to reward yourself. Not only do you deserve it, but the space and cleanliness you’ve created are a great motivation for keeping your home decluttered in every season of the year, whether you’re moving or just making your current home better.