Why wait for spring to start cleaning?
In January, the end of the year inspires us to make resolutions, healthier choices and, importantly, to let go of everything weighing us down from the previous year. In March, spring starts - and with it the inspiration to clean and organize away the heaviness of winter to get ready for lighter clothes and warmer weather.
But what about February?
In contrast, February is a lazy month. Most of us have finished our 30 day cleanse, have started going to happy hour again, that new gym membership has fallen by the wayside and your holiday decorations continue to tumble out from behind that heavy coat in the back of your closet. It's a month of mixed sunny and cold days when you just can't seem to get your layers right, romantic Valentine's day dates and failed attempts to ignore the winter purge we never quite finished. For many of us, giving our home the attention it deserves is the last thing on our minds.
Our homes take care of us year round - so why not give as much love as we receive?
I am fascinated (mainly because it's such a challenge for me!) by the concept of minimalism, not having more than we need and making sure that the items that we do have serve a purpose. Now, that purpose can be practical, like the dishes and silverware we use on a daily basis, or can be more subjective, such as sentimental gifts and items or books and art that add to our living space and inspire us to pursue our dreams.
I live in a 500 square foot condo with my husband and 100lb dog, and I find I am easily overwhelmed with excess. One of our biggest problems with space, that we are constantly working on, is furniture. Because much of it came from my childhood home, it is just too big for our rooms - and yet somehow they are still stuffed to the point that some drawers are too full to shut comfortably. As we work towards a more minimal lifestyle, getting rid of extraneous items, we have also been able to trade in (think LetGo, OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace!) these more stately items for gently used modern and more compact furniture.
Here are some tips I have found helpful in my never-ending quest to purge my hoard.
Do you have too many winter coats (in Fort Lauderdale, where the weather hardly dips below 75 degrees)? Think about donating or selling all but your favorite one or two of them that match your wardrobe. Keep a tailored, dark one for professional events and a cheerful, bright one for chillier days. Not only will you make space for all your summer clothes, but you may make some cash that you can invest in some fresh options!
Is your sink constantly full of dishes to the point where they don't all fit in your dish drain when you do decide to do them? Get rid of all but service for 4-6 or however many you frequently use for yourself, family and guests. If you have a larger set you don't want to get rid of or host larger groups a few times a year, you might even consider storing half of them - the same goes for silverware, glasses and mugs. This relieves the temptation to constantly add to your pile of dirty dishes - if you need one, you wash it. Problem solved!
Something I personally have trouble letting go of is makeup and toiletries. I have extremely sensitive skin, so I go through a lot of trial and error with makeup (I almost exclusively use N*7!), moisturizers, soaps, serums, masks - the list goes on. Now, a normal person would immediately throw away the ones that cause irritation, dry skin or breakouts - not me! My medicine cabinet is full of bottles of products of uncertain origin at varying degrees of emptiness. Do they work? Did they cause my eyes to swell shut? Does makeup expire? Who knows. If you haven't touched it in 3 months - get rid of it.
In fact, that's a good rule of thumb.
If you haven't used, touched or even seen an item in 1-3 months, you probably won't miss it. Why keep it? You'll be surprised how clearing up and organizing your space can clear up and allow you to organize your mind.