Spring is generally touted as the perfect month for cleaning and resetting your home. But summer is usually when we’re using our spaces most — whether we’re off from work and enjoying a staycation or having friends over for parties or outdoor barbecues. That makes summer the perfect time to finally declutter and downsize your space.
If you struggle to keep your home clean, the problem might not be your habits — it may be that you have more stuff than you’re able to keep up with. Keeping your house looking flawless means you need to have a set space to store every item you own. And if you don’t, it may be time to scale back. This will make maintaining your home easier and make it simpler to sell your house (if you decide to) later on.
Here are a few easy decluttering projects you can tackle this summer with the kids and family, or on your own.
Depending on how large your clothing closets are, you might rotate clothes throughout the year, according to the seasons. If you do, summer is the perfect time to go through those bulky jackets and stacks of heavy jeans and pants, rather than taking up precious storage space.
Start by laying out all of your clothing items. This may take a while. Now, consider the clothes you wear often and get the most use out of. You can use the KonMari method to help you decide which items spark joy, but be honest. A tee shirt you haven’t worn in a year can probably better serve someone else by donating it.
If you have kids, you can have them go through the same exercise. If you’re worried they’ll want to hold on to clothing that doesn’t fit them, go through their closets when they’re outside playing.
You don’t have to get rid of everything at once, though. Create three piles: a keep pile, a maybe pile, and a donate pile. Put your maybe pile away in storage. If you move an item out of this pile throughout the year, it might make it to the keep pile. If not, it may be time to donate it.
Whether you have a lot of indoor and guest towels, or are overrun with beach towels, summer is the perfect time to downsize. First, start with your everyday towels, decide how many you need (and how many you want to wash regularly) and get rid of the rest. You can do the same with guest or cleaning towels.
When it comes to beach towels, consider keeping one for each member of your family, and maybe one or two extras in case friends tag along. Donate anything else so you’re not wasting space storing these items.
How many times have you bought sunscreen or tanning supplies over the years? It’s time to whittle down your collection and get rid of anything expired or that doesn’t work for your family anymore. (Tip: If it’s not expired but you no longer want it, consider donating it to a homeless shelter).
Do the same exercise with bug spray, and make sure you keep these items in an easy-to-spot location to prevent you from buying more down the line.
If you have kids, you know papers pile up. From arts and crafts supplies to school stuff, you may have boxes of papers just cluttering up closets or garage space that you no longer need. Set time aside to go through these and get rid of anything that’s no longer useful. You’ll appreciate the extra space.
Even if you don’t have kids, papers can still add up. Go through your mail and any work files, address anything you’ve been putting off, and shred or dispose of anything you no longer need. Take this time to enroll in paperless bills for anything you don’t want physical copies of anymore.
Now it’s time to get your yard and outdoor spaces in check. Go through typical outdoor supplies: hoses, sprinklers, kids’ pools, floaties, etc., and figure out what you no longer need anymore. Donate anything in working condition and get rid of anything else.
Also take this time to pare down on lawn furniture, outdoor home decor, lighting, and outdoor cooking equipment or serving supplies you haven’t used in more than a year. It may seem like a lot of work, but you’ll appreciate having less stuff to maintain — especially if you ever decide to move.
If summer is peak trip season for you, make sure you pare down any travel-size supplies, extra cords, bags, luggage, and other seasonal items you tend to pack. Get rid of old maps or travel brochures that you can digitize, and make sure all important documents, like passports, are in a safe place. You should also test items, like travel cords, to make sure they still work. This will make planning and preparing for trips much smoother.
Taking steps to declutter your home this summer will help make this season more enjoyable — whether you’re lounging at home, hosting a cocktail party, or exploring a new country.