Starting to Declutter? Learn This Skill
Today I'm going to share one of my favourite skills: a surface level declutter!
I am not sure if I coined this term or not, but if you haven't heard of it before it is a quick and easy way to get a boost in your space, and who doesn't need that when you are feeling clutter all around??
So many of us have been there in our homes: we have a space that is really bothering us or really needs some love and attention but you don't have either the time or the energy to tackle the deep spaces yet.
The surface level declutter is the perfect way to experience a quick win.
When you complete a surface level declutter, you can immediately boost your mental health and help yourself to feel capable and confident so the next space is a breeze. If you need more convincing, check out this journal article by Psychology Today on the benefits of an uncluttered space.
Now that we know why we want to master this simple declutter, let's walk through exactly how to do it!
My piano sits in my living room and is one of the only surfaces in the space - today I'll go through the simple steps with you and get my piano space cleaned up at the same time. It's a win win!
Step 1: Remove Everything
The first step is a simple one: take everything off of the surface.
Place it all in one location away from the surface.
You may have more items than are shown here and that is totally fine. I do this regularly with all of my surfaces as I find things start to gather there.
You can use this time to look at the items that land there frequently.
Is there a way you could create storage for these items on that surface? Is this something you would like? For our family it is our music books - I'm currently searching for the perfect tray to sit atop my piano for the music books we use often.
Once you've got the space cleared off, go ahead and give it a good clean.
Whatever type of surface you have, use something appropriate to clean it.
I use a homemade hardwood cleaner on my piano that uses olive oil, essential oils and other natural ingredients.
I plan on eventually doing a blog post on natural cleaners but will admit that cleaning is by no means my specialty and it's a learning process for me daily!
Clean that surface off, dust it, and let's get down to the decluttering!
Step 2: Reassess
Time to ask yourself those 4 questions: do you love it, do you need it, do you use it and does it belong here.
I got this painting above at a garage sale that happened to be going on at a house we were looking at about a year ago. I had been searching for that perfect old painting for YEARS and this one just fell into my lap for $2. To say I love it would be an understatement. So it stays!
My plants are something that I have come to love, even if I am still learning how to be a green thumb. One of the plants on the piano however was in desperate need of repotting so it went, but this one got to stay!
The song books do not belong in this space yet as I mentioned before, so they were placed in their storage location.
Once you've asked yourself those 4 questions about every item, it's time to...
Step 3: Reorganize
Now take the items you love, need and use and put them back on the surface!
You have taken everything off, you have looked at every item to decide if you love, need and use it and you've relocated the items that do not belong there.
Now you can set it up however you like with the items that remain! Here are a few of my favourite tips for making the surface functional and organized.
Have quite a few small items? Find a small box or container (this doesn't have to be fancy!) and place like items with like items
If you have a few medium sized items, try grouping them together on a tray
Whenever I am styling a space, I like to pretend I am staging my house for sale. How would I make it beautiful if it was on the market? This sometimes helps me to look at the space with fresh eyes
Do you have any items left on the floor that do not go back in the space? Take them out of the room and deal with them accordingly.
And you're done!
Once you have completed the surface level declutter, you will have a clean and clear space that not only gives you confidence to complete more, but will help clear your mind and bring you a sense of accomplishment without feeling like you have to tackle it all at once.