Now that the weather is getting warmer, you may be thinking about how to declutter your home – and keep it that way. We sat down with Ange McNamara of Klear Inc., who had some useful tips for organizing your home quickly and effectively this spring, so you can spend more time enjoying the weather.

Where do you start?

When you start your spring cleaning, begin in the garage and make some space. It’s the best place to start because once you begin to clean the rest of your house, the garage can be used as a space to dump things as you start to de-clutter. Then, go into your home and start in the room that’s bothering you the most (such as a bathroom, kitchen or a bedroom).

Once the temperatures climb, go into your garage and look at the things you’ve already cleared out of your house with a fresh eye. I think many people hold onto things because they have a plan for it or they’ve used it and think they may use it in the future. I find that sometimes, people don’t declutter certain items because they spent a lot of money on the item. You may have spent $500 on a tape deck, but we don’t have tapes anymore. Think of the space you could clear if you got rid of those items that you just don’t use regardless of cost.

Do you need to binge-clean?

A lot of people get into the mindset that they need to clean their whole house in one day, but that’s simply not the case. It’s really important to just start by cleaning one drawer at a time, and then one closet at a time – over time, that small effort builds up, so you can tackle the rest of the home.

What products or stores do you recommend for getting organized?

Purging doesn’t have to break the bank, so you can use what’s on hand! However, if you’re looking for storage solutions for the things you can’t get rid of, I recommend the store Storage Solutions for mud-room and bathroom-related organization. If I’m doing a garage project, Home Depot is a great place because it has great heavy-duty totes that will hold holiday decorations or tools. Ikea also has great storage options for organizing toys.

Now that you’ve purged, how do you make sure you don’t accumulate future clutter?

Keeping clutter away is more about maintenance than the initial organization. I think that when you go shopping and you’re adding ten t-shirts, but you’re not taking any t-shirts away, then the drawers will get packed again. The trick is that when you go shopping, you take away as much as you buy.

It’s also a good idea to look at some of the items that you own and ask yourself: How long has it been since I last used that? When’s the last time I wore this shirt? If you’re no longer drawn to these items, then that’s a good indication that you should put them in the donation pile.

Where are your favourite places to donate?

I like Thrift on Kent because you know where their stuff is going, and it’s all volunteers who are donating their time. Sometimes, it’s not always the easiest to get to. Since I bill people by the hour, if I’m on my way to the dump and there happens to be a Value Village or a Goodwill, I’ll go there. 

How and when should someone hire a professional?

Assess whether you really need to hire an organizer. A good indication is that if you feel that you need help, then trust your gut and hire one. Professional organizers are particularly helpful for moving, when a baby is on the way, or you’re just overwhelmed by the clutter. Professionals can help give you the gentle push that you need. However, if your home is relatively neat with a few problem areas, then you can probably handle the work yourself.

To find a professional home organizer, you can use the website called Professional Organizers in Canada.This website will allow you to search organizers in your area and review qualifications. Many organizers also have websites or social media accounts that you can browse and look at past projects to get a sense of the work they could do in your own home. Another good way to find an organizer is to reach out to your friends and family to see if they have any good recommendations.

Spring is here, so what are you waiting for? Get a jumpstart on your spring cleaning today. 

Have kids? Keep an eye out for next week’s post on ActivaLearn, where we’ll chat about how to get your kids active in helping keep your home clean (it sounds impossible, we know, but trust us – it can be done)!