By the time February comes around, we are probably tired of resolutions around decluttering, cleaning, and transforming our homes – especially when also dealing with gray skies and cold weather.
However, professional organizers suggest that February is a great time to start switching up some minor things in your home to prepare for the brighter seasons ahead.
These are the six things to declutter in February to help see out the winter and prepare your home for next month’s spring cleaning.
Things to declutter in February
Decluttering your home monthly is a great way to stay on top of recurring clutter that accumulates naturally as a result of living through the different seasons.
1. Garden supplies
'With spring right around the corner, it is the perfect time to touch on decluttering a backyard and organizing your garden supplies,' suggests Caroline Roberts, professional organizer and owner of This Simplified Island:
‘By February, I'm tired of winter and will do anything to have warm, springtime thoughts! February is when I start planning my garden and going through garden supplies. I also take inventory of what winter items need to be tossed or donated at the end of the season and what I may be able to purchase during an end-of-season sale.’
Caroline Roberts is a KonMari consultant and founder of the home organization company The Simplified Island. She and her team help clients declutter their belongings. Then they find the best places for your items so that their family members can find things and put them away. She is also a contributing expert at Homes & Gardens.
2. Cleaning supplies
'Although it is not the most exciting category to tackle when decluttering, organizing your cleaning supplies before spring cleaning can help to make your big clear-out more successful,' urges Marissa Hagmeyer, professional organizer and co-founder of NEAT Method.
‘In anticipation of that spring cleaning itch, take a moment to safely dispose of cleaners you no longer reach for,’ she suggests. ‘If space is limited and you have an excess in any one category, consider giving items to a friend or neighbor. Contain the rest in categorized eazy-wipe bins.’
You might want to consider using color-coded cleaning to help keep your supplies in check and ensure you have all the products you need for each room. Making sure you have everything from the essential cleaning supplies list will also set you up for successful spring cleaning.
Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer are the organization-obsessed co-founders behind NEAT Method. Started in 2010, NEAT Method is the result of the duo's inspiration to bring a fresh perspective to the industry. Originally servicing the Bay area of San Francisco, NEAT Method began to build a small, passionate group of organizers. Murphy, the CEO, led the team from localized markets to expanding across the US and Canada, while Hagmeyer, COO, advises on designs, builds spreadsheets, and implements efficiencies.
'In February, however, it is a great time to start assessing your winter items and taking out anything you haven't been using or has been damaged by bad winter weather (such as umbrellas or boots that may have sprung a leak) before you bring out lighter spring attire,' he suggests. Doing this now will take some of the pressure off of your spring cleaning.
Jamie is the co-founder of Horderly, a professional organizing company that brings order to countless homes and offices, from the most cluttered New York City apartments to some of the largest homes nationwide. The team's goal is to make their clients’ lives clutter-free, streamlined, and more functional.
4. January paper clutter
January is a big time for paper clutter. From junk mail about sales and deals to information on bills and taxes, it can be quick to accumulate on tables and counters.
Marissa Hagmeyer, professional organizer, recommends taking some time in February to get rid of paper clutter before big deadlines hit:
February is the perfect time to address that mail drop zone that’s been piling up, as well as any paperwork you’ve filed away that is no longer relevant or necessary. This will allow you to prepare for tax season by reducing the amount of paper you need to sort through.
‘If you don’t already have a file system, arrange file tabs for each purpose in a straight row and label.’
'February is still firmly in cold and flu season, so now is a good time to organize a medicine cabinet and check for any expired or used-up medicines taking up space,' suggests Marissa Hagmeyer, a professional organizer.
‘Prepare for that next cold or the upcoming allergy season by streamlining your medicine cabinet for quick access to cough syrup, pain medication, and everything in between. Toss anything expired and sort the rest by type, making sure to label for easy locating in the middle of the night.’
6. Games cabinets
'Christmas and New Year are big times for toys and family games, but with the excitement truly having died down, it is time to reassess those collections and whittle them down so they do not collect dust throughout the year,' says Jamie Hord, professional organizer.
Whether you have a simple games cabinet or are organizing a playroom, run any decisions by your family first to ensure you are not getting rid of anything they have taken a particular liking to. There are ways and means of decluttering toys when your children aren't on board, such as turning the process into a fun game.
How often should you declutter?
To stay on top of everyday clutter and keep your home in order, it can be helpful to declutter once a month – even if you only work on a small space or area at a time or get rid of a few small items. Remember that decluttering doesn't have to be big to be effective; just clearing out a pantry or a nightstand once a month can be enough to help prevent feeling overwhelmed.
Is it possible to declutter too much?
It is entirely possible to declutter too much, and it can be just as stressful as having too much clutter in your home. If you are having to actively search for a spot to declutter or are feeling stressed or guilty because you have not been able to donate or sell items around your home and have brought new items in, then you may be decluttering too much, and it is important to take a step back before it becomes obsessive. If you start to feel bogged down when not decluttering, consider talking to a friend or professional about your feelings so that they can help you through the process.
Just because spring weather hasn't started to warm us up yet, doesn't mean you can't take some time to start off your spring cleaning and organizing in February. Starting early is a great way to get ahead and spring clean without feeling overwhelmed – especially with your home freshly decluttered and cleared out.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, 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 dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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