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Spring cleaning overwhelm you? Simplify

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If the spring air inspires you to unclutter and organize, go ahead and dust off those cleaning supplies and begin the annual ritual.

Just make sure you don’t aim for perfection, or it will overwhelm you.

“It ain’t rocket science,” says organizing guru Rosemary Chieppo, author of Clutter, Chaos & the Cure. “Organizing just means having a place for everything and making sure everything is in its place.”

She offers five tips for simplifying the task:

1. Start with small tasks so you can celebrate a victory early on. Example: Rather than first rearranging a room, declutter one shelf.

2. Give your things a home at the point of their use. “Think toothbrush,” Chieppo says. “You never misplace it because its home is where you use it. The same concept should be applied to just about everything else in your space.”

3. Group similar things together. “It allows you to keep inventory of what you do have so you don’t end up with 17 black turtlenecks or 67 AA batteries!”

4. Don’t put tall things in front of short things; don’t put big things on top of little things.

5. Return each item to its designated spot once you’ve set up your new system. “Once you’ve done the initial work of creating a place for everything,” says Chieppo, “don’t sabotage your progress by falling back into old habits.”

Tip: Be prepared to do some reflecting as you weed out old items. Bringing yourself to donate or discard an item of sentimental value takes courage. The payoff comes in the form of better organization and clarity every day.

Besides, says Chieppo, “I never saw a hearse pulling a U-Haul.”

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