So that's it, January is over and we are officially one third of the way through Winter. I know a lot of people dislike this time of year, but for me it represents new beginnings and getting ready. And who could love preparing and getting ready more than a Professional Organiser?
January for me is about reflecting on the past year, setting intentions for the new year and taking those first few steps to realising them. But by the time it comes to February, I'm ready for action.
National Spring Cleaning Week
February is a great month to prepare for spring cleaning, (especially so with National Spring Cleaning Week taking place from 6-12 March). And if you are also planning a project like redecorating the spare room, clearing out the attic or transforming the basement into a hobby room, chances are you'll benefit if the space is empty first so that you don't waste hours just moving things around from one place to the next before you can start work. Spring cleaning will also be much less effort when there's less stuff to work around and when things are easier we are more likely to do them.
How to begin?
Decide on your why.
If you struggle with motivation this is probably the best thing you can do to get going. Visualise the outcome of what you want. So really spend some time considering what you will be able to do with the space you're about to create. The clearer the picture in the mind the easier it will be to keep going. Images have a super powerful effect on our minds so cut out magazine pictures, use Pinterest to find things you like, and use colours to bring your vision to life. Once you've clarified your vision it will start to become a reality, keep you focused and motivate you to continue.
Take a before picture.
There is nothing more satisfying that being about to see the results of your efforts, so take a before picture and refer back to it if you ever get stuck. And when you've finished you can feel proud of your achievements when can can see what it was originally like.
Allowing yourself to be interrupted can steal your precious time. So choose a time when you can crack on uninterrupted and if you're the sort of person that needs it, allow yourself some faffing time before hand by scheduling 15 or 20 minutes pottering before you begin.
Give yourself time - but not too much!
It look a while to accumulate all that stuff, so it's going to take a while to discard it. Give yourself a deadline to aim for. This will keep you focussed on the task in hand, and avoid putting it off or procrastinating too much.
It sounds obvious but when faced with something overwhelming or difficult human nature is to walk away - just taking small steps and not overthinking have powerful benefits.
Give yourself praise
Or a reward when you've accomplished your goals. This can be as small as a cup of tea and a biscuit after 45 mins or as big as a holiday when you've completed the whole task. It's your project - you choose, but be sure to acknowledge your achievements.
So this month, I challenge you to get stuck into some of those areas of the house that have been left untouched for a while. Or those where you've been shying away from a revamp. The very process of clearing space in your home can create space in your mind for inspiration to come in.
Are your kitchen cupboard overflowing, yet you struggle to throw a meal together from store cupboard staples? Maybe you can't see the wood for the trees - or the cumin for the coriander?
A good purge will help clear the decks and bring some clarity. Here are some ideas for quick wins in the pantry.
Anything out of date
It's pretty obvious but you may be surprised how many packets of herbs, spices and baking ingredients are lurking in the cupboards with a best before date that has long passed. Be ruthless, if it's passed it's best, it's probably lacking in flavour.
Include anything without labels as you won't know the use by date. Anything incased in rusty tins or damaged packaging are likely to be spoiled. Enough said.
Anything you don't use
We've all been lured into buying ingredients for a particular recipe, cooked the meal then never touched them again. If you're not planning to use the Japanese rice wine vinegar, dried barberries or tahini again in the near future, you can probably live with out them.
Anything not opened that you just don't seem to eat
That chutney Auntie Muriel got you last Christmas, the jar or wild boar pate you've been meaning to use up but just don't fancy it, or the box of chocolates you got for your birthday but you're thinking of giving up sugar. You don't have to eat these and you don't have the waste them either. Most supermarkets have a collection point for food banks and as long as it's in date, in good condition and not opened you can donate it.
Give it s go, you could be surprised how much space you get back.