Early Spring? 7 Tips to Get Clean

BY ERIN CHAN DING ON FEBRUARY 26TH, 2016

Since Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this year, an early spring is on the minds of many warm weather enthusiasts. Even the words “spring cleaning” might bring a smile to the faces of some ready for spring.

It’s a natural point in the year to remove clutter and get a fresh start.

“You just want to shed all the excess and lighten up,” says Annette Reyman, owner of All Right Organizing in suburban Philadelphia, and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. “The clutter definitely weighs you down, just like the winter.”

Amy Tokos, owner of Freshly Organized in Omaha, says the fresh air prompts her to “get a clean, fresh start and be ready for the summer.”

Spring cleaning, however, does not have be done in a frenzy. Reyman and Tokos promote the idea of breaking spring cleaning into daily, 30-minute segments. Here are some of their ideas for decluttering.

1. Make a plan

First, get in touch with your inner editor. Before you start whirling through the house and tossing random items in bins, you need a plan. Reyman suggests asking yourself the three D’s: Does it fit? Does it belong here? Does it have value to me today?

Usually, the options will be to keep, trash or donate. Generally, Tokos says, “the less you have, the less you have to maintain.”

2. Easy stuff first

Use simple home maintenance tasks as a warm-up. Tokos suggests taking care of household appliances and equipment that require periodic adjustments: filters for furnaces, air conditioners, humidifiers and refrigerators. Change the batteries on smoke alarms and check carbon monoxide detectors.

3. Tackle closets

Move winter clothing. It doesn’t have to go out of your closet, but it should not be in the most visible line of sight. Store those clothes on shelves or move them to the sides of the closet.

Then, take time to turn all of your hangers backward. “It’s as nice visual to let you know what you’ve actually worn this season,” Tokos says.

Tackling a closet with a friend could make it easier to get rid of unnecessary clothes, Reyman says.

“A lot of clothes, quite honestly, may not make you feel great,” she says. “Sometimes you try it on, and it sort of fits, and your buddy will look at you and say, 'Do you know what kind of face you’re making when you’re putting that on?'”

4. Focus on the kitchen

Open the cabinets and check mugs and plates. If they have Christmas trees on them, pack them away. Take a cloth and swipe the cabinets so dust doesn’t accumulate.

Check the counters and sort and put away things that don’t belong on them. Paper clutter tends to accumulate on kitchen counters because of the flat surfaces.

5. Zone the garage

If you’re lucky enough to have a garage, create zones for grouping and storing random items. For example, put a sports equipment zone somewhere between the connecting door and your vehicles to more easily grab the kids’ gear on the way out. Create zones for yard work and tools. Check cleaning and DIY supplies like paint cans so you can get rid of what’s old and no longer useful.

6. Involve the family

Get the kids involved to teach them the value of consistent cleaning and to speed up your own chores. Reyman suggests asking them go through a bin of winter clothing, folding scarves and playing games to make sure each glove has a match.

Kids can also help downsize their own memorabilia. If you have a box of their drawings, wait a year, and have them choose ten to 20 pieces that capture the year. The rest can be scanned or photographed before being recycled. Someday, Tokos says, your children are more likely to keep one box of memorabilia than 20.

7. Be single-minded

Designate small, doable chores, and don’t let other things distract you until you’re done. Setting a timer can help. If your goal is to clean off the dresser, plant your feet and don’t leave the room until you’re done.

“Once you leave that room, you’re starting a chain reaction,” Reyman says. “If you run out to put a glass in the sink, you’ll be distracted and start loading the dishwasher. Stay with it. Make it look how you want it to look.”

 

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