I’m definitely a tidy desk tidy mind kind of person. I love having a clean environment and I know that I work best when my surroundings are clear and tidy. Even though I keep my space pretty ship shape most of the time, I’m planning on using the change of season as an excuse to have a proper deep clean and clear out. I find kon marie-ing my life every once in a while helps me kind of hit a reset button and really start work again feeling refreshed. If you’re looking to have a spring clean soon, this is the method I’ll be working through to make sure I’ve gotten into all of those nooks and crannies.
Clearing out your physical space is the most obvious first target of a spring clean. It’s also the one I enjoy the most so I like to get the ball rolling with having a proper tidy, before moving onto anything else.
PULL EVERYTHING OUT
This step is very much taken from Marie Kondo’s now seminal The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, it’s famous for a reason! I pull out all of my stuff and decide what I actually use and love. When I say all of my stuff, I really do mean everything. I go through my wardrobe right down to the underwear, I go through every pen and pencil on my desk checking they work and I use them, I check every beauty product is still in date and something I want, basically I audit everything I own. Now that I’m trying to buy more consciously this doesn’t lead to me throwing out quite as much as I used to, because I don’t have as much, but I’m still always amazed at how much rubbish (sometimes literally) that I’ve accumulated.
Actually cleaning is an essential, if obvious, part of a spring clean. While you’ve got everything out clean all of the things you wouldn’t normally bother with, I’m talking wiping out your wardrobe, dusting all of your bookshelf, vacuuming behind the bed etc.
MAKE SURE EVERYTHING HAS A PLACE
As you’re putting all of your stuff away make sure everything has a place. What I mean by that is if, for example, you’re keeping all your old journals but you’re planning on just leaving them in a pile on the corner of your desk do something about it. Put them in a box, or on display on a bookshelf, or keep them organised in a magazine rack. This might require you going out to buy some supplies, but it will mean your space feels that bit tidier and is easier to keep uncluttered in the future.
HAVE A RESHUFFLE
Whenever I have a big clear out I like to also have a bit of a reshuffle so my space feels different. Not only does moving things around help change up your perspective it also acts as a bit of visual evidence that things have been cleaned and changed, because a lot of the work you do in a spring clean you don’t actually see because it’s in cupboards or behind beds. For me, that normally means I move around the display of pictures on my wall, or I move them to a different section of the room. When I was in my old room I would also move all of the furniture around, which isn’t as much of an option currently. But I will be moving some of the bits I have out like lights and books, to try and imitate some of that effect.
If you’re anything like me, you spend a significant chunk of your time on your laptop, meaning that your digital space needs to be cleaned out just as much as your physical space. While I’m good at trying not to accumulate pointless junk in the real world, I am as big of a tab and free download hoarder as they come. So, this is quite a big task for me.
CLEAN OUT THAT INBOX
Step 1 of this is just getting rid of any blinking unread emails, it always feels so good to get rid of that little red bubble on your inbox. Step 2 is going through and deleting anything I don’t need and saving anything I do need in the best way, even if that’s not in your inbox. In step 3, I delete my deleted box, and junk mail folder. Step 4 is then to use the control panel to make sure I’ve deleted any wasted data in my mail folder. By doing all of this not only do you end up with a much nicer, easier to manage, inbox, you also free up a load of all important disk space.
While I’m going through my inbox, I unsubscribe from any mailing lists I don’t actually want to be on. This is normally mainly made up of brand newsletters that I just automatically delete. I normally just search “unsubscribe” before I do the main clear out and go through all the emails I don’t want. I won’t lie, going through all of the unsubscription processes does take some time, but it’s an investment in for the time and happiness of your future self.
Once I’ve finished with my inbox I then move onto the rest of my hard drive. I go through all of my folders and archive anything I don’t need any more onto external hard drives. I also delete literally hundreds of things from my downloads folder that I had forgotten even existed. I also have a clean-up of my folder system so that it’s as efficient as it can be to try and make the job easier next time.
DON’T FORGET YOUR INTERNET BROWSER
This one is more of a note to self than anything else, because I am one of those people who has 50 tabs open at one time, who pockets absolutely everything, and has a random assortment of bookmarks just in case. As the final stage in my digital clear out I will be clearing my browsing history, my cookies, and my stash of bookmarks. I’ll also be having a bit of a social media audit, unfollowing anyone I actively scroll past or who doesn’t brighten my time online.
I feel like it can be easy to forget to clear out your workspace, and by that I mean all of the work bits you have to do rather than your desk. Having a sort out of any rolling tasks or niggly pain points is a great way to feel like you really are starting afresh, and you’ve not just made surface changes.
CLEAR YOUR TO DO LIST
I think we all have a couple of items on our to do lists that keep coming up, and we keep putting them off. For me, they include a couple of marketing things and taking out my recycling. A spring clean is a time to finally do them (or cross them off if you don’t actually think they’re useful) so that you can start with a clean slate.
CHASE ANY INVOICES/CLEAR ANY PAYMENTS
While I don’t have any outstanding invoices, now would be a great time to chase them. I will, however, be going through my own finances and getting them in order.
TAKE A DAY OFF
If having a clear out is about resetting, it’s really important that you give yourself chance to reset. So, this one is a bit of a spring clean for your mind The final section of my clear out plan is taking a full day off work, off thinking about work, and just get my mind in order. I’m going to set aside some time to look after myself and blow off any cobwebs, so I can come back fresh and raring to go as the days get longer and brighter. I think this might actually be the hardest one on the list, but probably the most worthwhile.
Are you planning a spring clean this year? What’s on your hit list?