I think we can safely say that we are past winter now right? Well for most locations. For me that means that I need to see less monotone wool and more color in my wardrobe. And not just in my wardrobe, I want it pretty much every where around my living space. However, spring for me also means a complete de-clutter routine that will put a spring in my step (how cheesy) and unnerve my brain. So here is my list of six fairly simple steps that allow me to live life at my most productive. Honestly, you would not believe how much as simple a thing as finding a home for everything you own, would alter your mindset, make you more productive and generally more positive.
Step 1: Decide your balance
One very important aspect to consider when you are in the process of a spring clean is to figure out your balance. So the most important step – I would say – is to sit down with yourself and figure out what you want to achieve from this process and how it will impact your everyday life. For me, decluttering and organizing my surroundings is my ticket to mental peace and overall happiness within my living space. This step also gives me the opportunity to consider how the declutter routine will positively impact all the other things I do and how it can improve my productivity. For me, during this step I also consider what kind of a balance do I require? This is exactly why I call this a reset is because I want to re-initiate my whole perspective on how I want to lead my day/week/month and resultantly my year. So spring for me is like a seasonal new year with new resolutions and stuff like that. I try to find a balance between mind and body which translates into finding a balance between my needs and wants and how I move towards achieving them.
Step 2: Organize mail/receipts/documents
All these next steps need not be followed in the order they have been mentioned. So moving on, the next thing I love doing is organizing my mail and all other document clutter that piles up on my study table. I usually have an accordion folder with different tabs marking different sections and I will sort all my mail into those sections and then throw away the rest. This also means that all guides for tech equipment, all warranties and pretty much everything else gets sorted into its own little section. It is pertinent to mention here that although books and notes from my classes continue to form a pile on my table in particular and room in general, throughout the spring semester, I usually also organize those into folders while I am at it. So if I haven’t done so in the beginning of the term, I will put all lecture notes and slides into their respective folders so that they are streamlined. I will also empty all my purses and throw away useless piles of receipts and put all change into a coin purse.
Step 3: Find a home for everything
I learn this only recently and therefore I have included this as a step in its own. I am a hoarder in general. I like collecting stuff I like even though I might not use it right away or might never end up using it. Yes, I am aware it is a bad habit and I would say its my only vice but alas it isn’t. Anyway, my biggest declutter advice is to find a place for everything you own. So every time you go out to buy something, you have to ask yourself one question: do I have a specific place for this in my home? And if the answer to this question is affirmative, only then you buy that new thing. The only way to sustain a decluttered lifestyle is to follow this rule. And so the process of this step becomes simple: put everything in its place. You can also try and achieve a rhythm to where everything is housed to make it a more intuitive process. I do this once and this is the only step I repeat every night before I go to bed.
Step 4: Organize the pantry
So when you are a grad student and especially a PhD student, pantry organization is part and parcel of your life. An occupational hazard shall I say? Why? Because one, you need to be aware of how much of what you have and how much of what you need, and two, you need to be ahead of the meal planning game if you do not want to go broke by spending money on GrubHub and Door Dash and Uber Eats. For me, pantry organization is an acquired taste in declutter routines and I basically love love love doing it. The process is simple, first: separate your grains and rice, your lentils and beans, you canned stuff, your spices and your teas into their separate containers. Secondly, prepare the most basic meal plan which means a basic breakfast, a basic snack, plain lunch and plain dinner. Thirdly, you jot down all you need to make that plain meal plan happen. Lastly, you need to ensure that on all given days, you have these basic meal plan ingredients in your pantry. It is really just that simple. I usually keep a checklist too, that keeps track of what I have and what I might need to purchase in that weekends grocery run and it keeps things really simple and easy for me. Furthermore, it helps you avoid an unnecessary amount of decision fatigue.
Step 5: Organize the Wardrobe
Organizing the wardrobe is one of those steps that we do regardless of whether it is a part of a whole routine not. We all do it because it is inevitable. You spend all those cold winter days in down jackets and jumpers and hoodies. Then spring hits and all you want to see are breezy tops and dresses and flip flops! Am I right or am I right? As simple as it sounds, it is also therapeutic in its own way. So what I basically do is take all my warm clothes, especially the bulky ones, and put them into my suitcases which are already occupying some storage space. This frees up some much needed space in my wardrobe. Then I clean the wardrobe inside out, spray it with some air freshener and my trusty fabric spray, let it stand empty for like an hour and then hang back my entire spring/summer wardrobe. Done!! (*dusts off hands)
Step 6: Deep clean
Finally, the good old Monica-from-Friends style deep cleaning. Pull out that caddy and load it up with your favorite cleaning products, bust out that vacuum cleaner and run it on high and just get into all those nooks and crannies. You want to also target areas like those behind the bed and side tables, under the sofas and that kind of thing. Finally, put everything back in its place and as a finishing touch, spritz all your fabric like cushion covers, throws and bed spreads with a home made fabric freshener (for that you need to mix one part Downy – your favorite scent – with three parts water, put it in a spray bottle and voila!)
So that is it guys! I really hope you liked it and keep visiting the blog for more routines, favorite products, books, shows and a whole lot more from my life to yours.