In Health, Healthy Lifestyle, Mental Health
Although it hasn’t felt like spring, for very long, with our snow in April, many people engage in the ritual of spring cleaning at this time of year. Spring is a wonderful time for new beginnings, and cleaning house can have a positive impact on emotional wellbeing. Whether you plan small changes or a major overhaul, here are some tips that can be useful in the process.
1.    Break larger tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. If your goal is too large, it can feel overwhelming. Often this gets in the way of beginning the task. One strategy is to start with one surface or one drawer. Alternatively, some people prefer to limit themselves to a time period. For instance, work on a task for one-half hour each day.
2.    Only Handle It Once (OHIO). Many times we put things off or create piles for what we will deal with later. This just creates more work for yourself! Determine in advance what your options are (e.g., “Keep,” “Toss/Recycle,” “Donate”) and then decide when you pick up something.
    Make tough decisions. It can be difficult to let go of our things. Something may have been very important or useful to you at one point in your life. However, it doesn’t mean that it still holds the same value. Professional organizer Marie Kondo encourages her clients to thank something for its service before getting rid of it.  It can be easier to let go of something if you appreciate that it was helpful at one time but unnecessary now. Follow a similar guideline for things that have been given to you. You don’t have to keep something that a friend or loved one gave you; it’s not a reflection of how much you care for them. Throwing out grandma’s doile does not mean you’re throwing out grandma!
4.    Less is more. We can lose track of what we have when we have too much stuff. When you’re having difficulty deciding what to keep, ask yourself three questions: “Do I need it?”, “Do I use it?”, “Do I love it?” If all are a “No,” out it goes. Your donation could be another’s treasure. If you’re really struggling with letting go, pack away the item for a few months. If you don’t miss it in that time, you can probably do without it.
5.    Give yourself credit for steps in the right direction. Clutter doesn’t accumulate overnight, so it may take some time to declutter and reorganize. Have patience with the process and make a mental note of your progress as opposed to focusing only on what is left to do.
6.    Maintain your changes. Set realistic goals for yourself so they’re easier to maintain. It can be useful to strive for “good enough” instead of “perfection.” Try to do at least one thing each day that is in the service of your goal. Spending a short amount of time on maintenance can go far to preserve your changes. For instance, set a timer for 15 minutes and focus on one task without giving in to distractions. Alternatively, pair an unpleasant task (e.g., sorting through a stack of mail) with a more more pleasant activity that you engage in regularly (e.g., watching television).
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