This simple 'spring purge' mantra will make organizing easier, says designer Caroline Winkler

'It's a very emotional process!'

bright seating space with pillows and coffee table
(Image credit: Future PLC)

The warmer weather and longer days are inspiring us to not only clean the windows and dust every visible surface but we're also in the mood for some good old-fashioned decluttering and home organizing, too.

Having a decluttering mantra can cut through the noise when we get stuck and can’t decide whether an item should stay or go.

Interior designer Caroline Winkler, @thegoodsitter, has just the thing to help.

Caroline Winkler’s 'spring purge' mantra

In an exclusive interview with H&G, the YouTuber and designer shared her advice for getting our homes organized for spring and, surprisingly, her best decluttering tip involves wine.

Blue sofa, white matching armchairs, stripped rug

(Image credit: Nicole Salceda)
Caroline Winkler
Caroline Winkler

Caroline Winkler is an interior designer, YouTuber and co-host of the Not For Everyone podcast. She shares home decorating advice through digital content creation, inspiring people to make the most of their interior spaces.

‘I’m a big fan of the spring purge,’ Caroline Winkler tells us. ‘But deciding which items to keep and which to donate is easier said than done – because it’s often a very emotional process!

‘Try my favorite tip of asking yourself “If this item got covered in red wine, how hard would I work to revive it?”

‘If the answer is that you’d just be relieved to finally be able to let it go with justification… Then it’s something you’re holding on to out of guilt or obligation. Set it free!’

So simple and effective.

bathroom with blue cabinet under sink

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘In addition, I recommend opening windows intermittently to refresh the air in your home after a cold, stale, furnace-heated winter indoors,’ Caroline continues. ‘Spring is also when I like to go specifically purge my toiletry closet! 

‘Half-used lotions and old makeup have likely built up over the year – it’s time to make some space for your sanity! (And your new lotions).’ 

Organizing makeup and skincare is never as daunting as we think it's going to be and makes our morning routines so much easier as we aren't rummaging through items we never use. Once you're done, the best bathroom organizers will help maintain order.

Some areas, like the closet, are a little trickier to clear out, though. For Chiana Dickson, junior writer at Homes & Gardens, this is the hardest space to tackle, but she has come up with ways of framing it mentally to make it easier when undertaking a seasonal closet clear-out.

bedroom with wardrobe

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘I find the hardest thing to declutter are clothes I have bought (and maybe spent too much money on for what it is) and barely worn them. To help me to declutter clothes fast, I try to think realistically,' says Chiana.

'If I look at something and feel guilt or regret over buying it, no matter how slight, it needs to go. It clearly isn’t making me feel good so it doesn’t have a home in my house!’

Chiana Dickson
Chiana Dickson

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for six months, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers.

And for those of us who find decluttering and organizing totally overwhelming? Caroline Winkler recommends following these three rules:

  • Just do 15 minutes at a time. That’s all. No need to purge the whole house. 
  • Put on a podcast, or a TV show, or call a friend while you declutter to make it an activity that you can actually look forward to a bit.
  • Limit the scope: choose one drawer, one countertop, or one storage box you want to tend to. Make it bite-sized. And feel accomplished when you’re done!

How do I declutter my house for spring?

Spring into action with our decluttering checklist and take on one item from the list at a time. As Caroline mentions, it's much easier to take on decluttering in small chunks rather than attempting too much at once. Think about how you'll be using your home in the new season – for instance, if you'll be hosting a lot, organizing the kitchen will make preparing food and drinks easier.

So, next time you're feeling torn about whether to keep hold of something, ask yourself if you'd be bothered enough to revive it after it got covered in a glass of Merlot. Any hesitation, and it's time to donate, chuck or sell.

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.