6 Spring Cleaning Tips From A Professional Organizer To Help Get Your Space In Order ASAP

First thing you need to do? Rethink everything you know. 😅

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Professional organizer Allie Shaw. Right: An organized kitchen cupboard

Professional organizer Allie Shaw. Right: An organized kitchen cupboard

Spring cleaning is the least fun part of the season, hands down. However, if you're looking for tips on spring cleaning, de-cluttering or organizing your home, look no further!

Clawing your way out of winter is always a process. With the new weather comes a renewed sense of energy and desire to restructure and reorganize your life. Or, maybe over the winter you've accumulated a bit of clutter and mess, and are feeling like it's about time to get rid of it.

So, to help you organize your life and get better at keeping things in order, Narcity sat down with professional organizer Allie Shaw to get some tips on how to sort out your life so you can make the most of the spring weather when it arrives.

Shaw has been a full-time professional organizer since the beginning of the pandemic.

After losing her job and taking on the new role, she has amassed a significant following on TikTok with her organization, decluttering and cleaning tips, and she has some amazing tips to help you keep on top of your space.

Be wary of the 'O' word

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No, it's not that 'O' word; it's overwhelmed.

It's very easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out when faced with a messy space, Shaw says. But, it's important to rethink the process to avoid getting into that mindset.

Shaw says it's easy to get so overloaded "that you do nothing," or even "feel like a failure."

To avoid feeling swamped, Shaw stresses that "a house is always in motion. Things come in, things are consumed, things go out. It just keeps moving."

She also asks her clients to keep in mind that organization and cleaning are never really done. "When I say this to people, they go 'Oh, so it's not me. I'm not a failure. I can do this.'"

It's not spring cleaning, it's spring clearing

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One of the first things you should do before completing a spring clean is to not call it a spring "clean."

Why? Well, as Shaw says, "The cleaning is the last thing you do and, typically, it's the smallest portion of the task."

The more important part of the process and the first thing you should do is declutter and pair down what you have to a manageable level. After that, you organize, and then finally you clean.

"So I like to call it 'spring clearing' and then some spring cleaning," said Shaw.

Listen to your feelings

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Some items can have a lot of emotion attached to them, which can make getting rid of them confusing, hard, or even sometimes easier! And Shaw doesn't want you to ignore those emotions.

"My approach is feelings first," said the organizer. "I ask; How does that item make you feel? What does it mean to you? Is it serving a purpose? Is it meeting your vision for your space?"

Once you start to figure out how your emotions are connected to each item, you can start to determine what's worth keeping, stowing away or getting rid of.

"If an item is making you feel mad, sad or bad, it should go!" added Shaw.

Let your space make decisions

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If you're a collector of books, music, art, kitchen appliances or whatever, it can be easy to get carried away and realize your collection has outgrown its space.

To avoid this, Shaw recommends letting your space decide how much you keep.

"If you're a book lover and you live in an 800-square-foot space," explained Shaw, "determine that one wall is going to be covered in books because you love books. Well, then that one wall is your limit."

"You have to curate your collection," added the organizer, "and every item has to work hard to earn that spot on the shelf."

"Often, people want to organize to their stuff and not to their space," said Shaw.

Find a system that works for you

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Every single person is different. And one person's organization can be someone else's mess or vice versa. A huge part of getting your home in order is finding what works for you.

It can be as simple as asking yourself, "what do I prefer?" Some of the questions Shaw asks are, "Do they prefer things to be visual or hidden away? Do they need things to be sorted? What's their natural tendency?"

"Once you determine that, and set up systems to match your tendency, life becomes easier," added Shaw.

Be the "CEO" of your space

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While yes, this could mean being the "Chief Executive Officer" of your space, it actually stands for Curate, Enough & Ongoing.

Shaw reiterates that you should "curate" the collections and items you have in your home, making every item earn its spot.

"Enough," means finding out what is enough for you. "Find what's enough and that sweet spot," said Shaw.

Then with "ongoing," let your spring cleaning (or clearing) be an ongoing process that evolves and changes throughout your life.

"Everything needs re-evaluating all the time," added Shaw.

Good luck, Canada. Happy spring clearing!

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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