Albert Einstein may have said it best: “Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” 

Create space for opportunity and get back to the basics this spring by clearing unnecessary clutter from your life. Although the idea of spring-cleaning may be overwhelming, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start with baby steps. Spend five minutes every day tackling those smaller messes and work up to a scheduled weekend of cleaning and organizing.

Here are a few tips on conquering the mess this spring:

Clear a counter. Removing clutter from flat surfaces like the kitchen countertop or living room coffee table gives the illusion of simplicity, even if the remainder of your home needs more attention on the clean up front.

Pick a shelf. Once you’ve conquered a counter, move on to a shelf. Don’t get carried away and become overwhelmed by an entire bookcase, just designate one shelf at a time. Go through the contents of the shelf and decide if you need everything on it.

Empty a drawer. This is another small step towards managing all the ‘stuff’ that collects in a random kitchen drawer. Pick one drawer in one room and dump it out completely. Sort through the contents and decide what you need versus what is simply taking up space. Since you already have the drawer out, use a wet cloth to wipe down the inside before putting it back.

Rotate your wardrobe. This is easiest to do at the end of the season before stashing the sweaters and swapping them out for your warm weather wardrobe. As you’re packing up the winter garb, take note of which items you never wore throughout the season and ask yourself, “Am I ever going to choose this item to wear over something else I have?” If the answer is no, don’t bother taking up space in storage thinking you might wear it again. If it hasn’t made it’s way out of your closet in three years, you’re probably never going to choose it. Someone else, on the other hand, may find your old sweaters to be exactly what they need. Which leads to the next tip…

Start a charity box.  There are hundreds of charitable organizations across the country dedicated to helping the less fortunate. Designate a charity box in the laundry room or hall closet to collect lightly used items you think someone else would appreciate. Not only is it a great way to clear clutter, it’s also an opportunity to help your local community.

One of the most difficult parts of cleansing your space is letting go of the items to which you have an emotional attachment – the shirt you wore when you brought your first-born child home from the hospital, the box of books that belonged to your late mother-in-law, the not-so-adorable scarf you made when you first took up knitting as a hobby – you get the point. These items will always hold a special place in your heart, but that doesn’t mean they need to take up space in your storage unit. Take a picture of the things that hold memories and let go of the artifacts knowing you can always look at the picture when you’re feeling reminiscent.

Ridding your space of unnecessary clutter and organizing your things will not only help simplify your life, but also promotes a sense of calmness and relaxation. When your personal bubble is simplified, that minimalism tends to translate mentally and creates the ultimate “happy place” that is your home!