a spring cleaning guide : on stuff and clutter

When I picked up Poet from pre-school last week, most of the children were sniffly, the parents croaky. The nasty flu is making its way around our community and while I chatted with parents about illness and remedy the conversation naturally veered towards the current state of our homes. Basically, the mess is rife and we haven’t had a chance to catch up. We’re waiting for the warmth of spring and the last of the coughs to leave and then….it’s time to clear our clutter.

The concept of clutter is an intriguing one and in preparation for this community spring clean I’ve proposed, I’ve been reading up on the subject in Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. Think of it as a discussion on clutter from an energetic perspective – and a guide to clearing it. I must admit, I’ve always regarded feng shui to be a little too esoteric for me. However, I’ve gleaned a lot from this book (even if it meant skipping past the hippy paragraphs). To sum up its message in one sentence: clutter holds stale, stagnant, draining energy which, once cleared, gives you more motivation, inspiration, time and perspective. 

So why does clearing clutter seem overwhelming to many of us? Because the simple act of looking at it is draining in itself. Dealing with the clutter, clearing it, takes some self-motivation but once you start, you quickly realise how satisfying the process can be, hence you gain more energy to keep going. It’s also a fantastic way to deal with stress and anxiety – getting rid of the stuff that’s weighing you down in your own home.

A few tips to consider as we countdown to spring:

– identify the clutter zones in your home (this won’t take much thought; it’s usually quite obvious). For me, it’s the entryway, the kitchen bench, one corner of the lounge room and the garage. I particularly loathe the clutter in the entryway because it obstructs a smooth journey in and out of the house.

– ensure that there is a clear walkway from your front door to your backdoor – no obstructions. If things are in the way, they make the simple act of moving around your house to be difficult and, at times, stressful.

– create a junk drawer in every room, if need be (I prefer to call it a miscellany drawer). But, choose a small drawer, use it sparingly, have regular clear outs.

– take a look at all the doors in your home and ask yourself: are they easy to open and shut? If they’re not, remove the obstruction (anything stacked behind the door, laundry baskets, bags etc). If you can open and shut your doors without effort, life becomes that bit easier (and you have more time).

– clutter occurs in your kitchen, too. Take a look at your pantry, perhaps it’s time to use up the food in there before you buy any more? I foresee a few chickpea curries in our near future.

– observe your children over the next week – what do they play with, what toys haven’t they touched in the past year? I know it’s most definitely time for a big toy clear out in our house.

– plan to start small (a kitchen or bathroom drawer or even your handbag – yes, portable clutter exists) and then slowly progress onto the larger, more clutter-filled areas of your home

– make decluttering a priority and create set times to do it (an hour here, an hour there) otherwise it will never get done.

– finally, ask yourself: if I was moving house tomorrow, what would I get rid of so I didn’t have to cart it to a new home?

Are you feeling motivated? I am!

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Showing 14 comments
  • Lucy W

    Hommous is also a good way to use up leftover chickpeas. Just whizz one or two cams with some lemon juice, garlic and a tablespoon or two of tahini. Add water or more lemon juice if too thick and I love to add fresh coriander or parsley. I recently did a pantry purge and made a batch alongside other pantry use-up recipes. I'm on a new mission to not waste any food so I'm making loads of stocks and soups! Now you have me motivated to start clearing the clutter. Not sure why but I find it much easier to keep on top of in warmer months!

    • Jodi

      hummus – of course! Great idea! My pantry is in a dire state and desperately needs my attention. It's on my list for a spring clean x

  • Caryn Aveling

    Feeling motivated! Thank you Jodi 🙂 Entry way done and now onto the kitchen bench corner. We moved recently and I thought we were coming to the new home with no clutter… hehe

    • Jodi

      I feel like I've been perpetually decluttering for two years now…and still, the stuff!

  • Kristy R

    We leave at the end of January next year for 6-12mths travelling around Australia with our 6,4 and 2 year olds. I cannot wait to have less stuff! But at the same time we are packing up our house to rent out, I don't want to come back to more than we need. So am happily clearing and decluttering!

    • Jodi

      When we spent a month (only a month) in Bali last year we came home and were quite disgusted with how much stuff we owned. It was really shocking – especially coming from a third world country where simplicity and authenticity is celebrated. Your trip sounds amazing – enjoy preparing for it x

  • evie dear

    Fantastic. Today is sunny in Adelaide and I'm so ready to spring clean!

  • mrsbutters

    You know, I can clear clutter from my house fine, it's the disposing of the clutter responsibly that takes a lot of time. I freecycle a lot, donate a lot, pass things on but still my garage is full! Especially with 3 kids! It takes a bit of time to research the best disposal method for things to try to stop the majority ending up in landfill.

    • Jodi

      yes, I wholeheartedly agree. I usually donate to our local op-shop or, if it's kids clothes I'm getting rid of, there's always friends in need. We live on quite a busy road so I often put a piece of furniture etc at the top of the driveway and without doubt it's gone within the hour (and odd method but it definitely works!) x

    • Amandine Lambert

      Hello Jodi! I have started last week already-we are using up all the food in the pantry. It feels good!
      Thank you for the recap above. Off to declutter my hand-bag as it would never have occurred to me to check it! Thanks!

  • Brandi

    I'm not in spring cleaning mode here, but pre-baby declutter…it feels so good. I don't know why it is so hard to maintain? Perhaps my biggest problem is just keeping up with it on the daily basis. It's amazing how much more I seem to have when things are actually organized! Clothes, food, toys, books, etc. I'm completely motivated to stay on top of it!

  • familyfaithfoodfabric

    Thank you for this! I've been on a decluttering mission for the past several months and have found myself at aa stand still…I made so much progress so quickly that now, I don't know how to do the little things. This has given me inspiration again!


  • Inge

    It's almost fall here and I'm looking forward to doing a little decluttering of my own. I LOVE doing it, if I'm in that right mindset of ruthlessly deciding that everything goes! Besides my workspace, most of our clutter is located in one room that is full of boxes that we need to sort through, even though I'm tempted to just throw it all out without giving it a second look. I know I'll feel better knowing that that room is empty if/when we have to move. Another goal for me is to strip everything we own down to bare essentials. But that's a completely different topic!

  • Helen Hung

    Great tips! I've slowly but surely become more aware of clutter at home. It's really hard to throw or give away stuff but I find if I'm using the reason for why I want to keep it ("just in case I…") then it's an alarm bell that it's not a necessity!

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