Spring-Cleaning with a Vengeance!

Hey everybody!

Can you feel that? Yes, it’s April! You know what that means? Spring is finally here! Hip, hip hooray!

But while I’m so excited to welcome back warmer weather and longer afternoons, the dusty promise of spring-cleaning looms in front of me. This year, however, I’m taking a new stance on spring-cleaning! It’s time to get organized, and April is the perfect month to get started.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has trouble committing to the task of organization. Most people only use a fraction of the stuff crowding their garages and the back of their closets, probably only about 20 percent according to The National Association of Professional Organizers. Can you imagine? That means that 80 percent of the clothes hanging in the back of our closets never even get to see that beautiful spring sunshine! What’s even worse? A whopping 25 percent of adults admit to paying bills late because they have lost them. That’s why I’m determined to do things right this year. I’m going to streamline my spring-cleaning and kick my organizing into high gear. Think you might be interested in doing the same? Check out some of these tips.

1. Prep! One of the biggest problems with spring-cleaning I always encounter is a lack of preparation BEFORE the process begins. I typically rush into a closet, take everything out, and THEN set out to organize the mess now not only crowding the back corners of my closet, but also all the surrounding areas. While this may seem tempting, once you’ve got the spring-cleaning bug, I’ve found the project quickly loses its appeal when I look at all that stuff and realize I’m going to have to fit it back in there…somehow. This year, I’ve decided to start with a plan on how to attack a whole house organization and then invest in some preemptory spring-cleaning helpers—a label maker, color-coded bins, and lots of large trash bags.

2. Separate items by season. Whether you’re sorting through clothes in your closet or holiday decorations in your garage, sorting things by season will help you find what you’re looking for all year round.

3. Use items you already have in your home to do the heavy lifting for your home’s organizing. Try using jewelry boxes as drawer separators or glass jars to house loose-roaming screws in the garage.

4. Labels are your friend! And they don’t have to be boring, either! Find a way to label boxes and spaces in a way that makes sense for you. Maybe you’d like to use traditional labels, or perhaps pictures would be a better fit. The most important part of labels, though, is to make sure it’s a system that everyone is committed to. Labels are only effective as long as everyone puts things back where they belong.

5. Sometimes it’s hard to say good-bye, especially when you feel an emotional attachment to an object, but memories don’t always earn a place in your closet. Sure, you looked really great in those jeans two years ago, but try asking yourself some simple questions—Do they still fit? Are they still in style? Have you worn them in the past year? If not, they could probably find a new home via donation to a local charity. Donating objects can make them easier to part with, too. Instead of throwing the items out, you’re giving them a new chance at life, an opportunity to bring happiness and usefulness to someone less fortunate’s life. Create a special box for things that seem to near and dear to get rid of and put it in the back of your closet. Revisit the box in three months to see if it still has the same power over you. If not, it may be time for those items to find new life too.

6. Make organizing practical for you and your family. Above all, whatever the organizing method you put in place, it needs to work for YOU. That may mean a slightly sloppy shoe drop box by the front door or a regular morning to-do list to keep everyone on schedule.

The tips and suggestions for how to organize your home are endless. (Just try a quick online search!) But these particular tips have brought me peace of mind as I embark on my April goal of a clean house. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends,” I say, broom in one hand, labeler in the other. See you next month!