Spring is when most of us do the major cleaning and organizing in our homes. As old man winter waves goodbye, we often find ourselves quite revitalized and inspired to do some sprucing up inside our homes and outside. Personally, I like to break down my spring cleaning into easy steps as I don’t want to be too overwhelmed by a potentially daunting task.
We live in a medium-sized house that is ample for the four of us. There is enough breathing room for everyone and enough storage to put away things as seasons change and childhood mementos accumulate. There is not too much extra space, which is good as it makes me more vigilant of what we keep in the house. Don’t get me wrong, our house is not one where everything is labeled and neatly organized. I would say it is functional and semi-clutter-free, which is something to be proud of with two tween girls and a husband who likes to collect many things.
So I thought I would share with you seven spring cleaning strategies that I use each spring (and sometimes in the fall). These things have helped me a lot in the past and I hope they will do the same for you.
1 – Only clean one room per week – This goes back to not wanting to be too overwhelmed by this whole project. I find that when I clean a room at a time I am able to focus more on the task at hand. I also do not feel like I need to block off an entire day or weekend, which is more realistic and doable with my schedule.
2 – Be honest about what you really need and what you should toss away – The thing is that humans are hoarders by nature. We like to keep things for comfort and security but the reality is that we only need a fraction of what we want or own. So be honest with yourself and whatever you don’t need… go see point number three.
3 – Donate, donate, donate – I usually have tons of big, black trash bags to put in items that I would like to donate. Once I am done, I put these large bags in the garage not too far from my car so I am constantly reminded that I need to donate them. Otherwise, if they are not visible, I will forget about them and they’ll start piling up in the house.
4 – Don’t wait for a garage sale – There are so many ways that you can quickly move items that you don’t want to keep in your house anymore but are still in good condition. You can donate them your local consignment or thrift shop or your town’s youth center. Also, you can try listing on Craig’s List and Ebay. Locally, the Nearly New Shop in Morristown is a good place to donate gently used items.
5 – Use a “one in, one out” policy – I am a stickler for this rule. Whenever I buy a new item (a shirt, a serving bowl, a wreath, etc), I toss the old version out. By using this approach, I am not only able to minimize clutter but also force myself to be vigilant about my purchases. Will the new item be good enough to replace the old one I have at home? If I find that I am a little hesitant about parting with the old item, I usually do not go ahead with the purchase.
6 – Do a mini-fall clean-up and look for potential clutter build-up – I try to do a follow-up cleaning in the fall, which is also my way of purging the house of many unnecessary things before the holiday gift-giving. I also try to look for potential build up of clutter in the house. I love magazines and books and often find that I need to really pay attention not to have these items pile up in the house.
7 – Get your kids involved – Make sure that your children understand the value of donating items that they do not play with anymore. They get the speech at school all the time, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” so this idea is not something foreign to them. Also, show them the beauty of a clutter-free environment and how they will be able to appreciate their toys and knick-knacks when there are fewer things around.
Thanks for staying with me on this lengthy post. I hope that some of the strategies I mentioned will be helpful to you. Do you have any organizing or spring cleaning tips that you’d like to share?