Spring is here. The air is warmer, the sun is brighter and this motivates us to want to clear out the old and make everything fresh and new again. Here are three things you can do to get your home organized for spring.
1 Declutter The first and most important step in spring cleaning is to get rid of clutter. The less clutter you have, the easier it will be for you to clean and organize.
Whatever space you’re working in, you’ll want to start by sorting through everything and donate, recycle or toss any unused or unwanted items. Start with obvious junk like magazines and papers. Pay special attention to getting rid of anything past its prime by checking all expiration dates on canned goods, dry goods, medication, sunscreen and cosmetics. You will be surprised by how much is beyond the date and can move along, creating valuable space!
Getting rid of things can be a struggle for a lot of people. Make it easy on yourself and have trash and donation bags at the ready. Make sure you compile a list of local charities and what kind of donations they will accept.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re decluttering. Be realistic about selling items. Is it really worth something? Will it be easy to sell? Will I get around to doing it (soon)? Ultimately, is it worth the time and effort? You can always donate the item instead.
Items for donation should be in good, usable condition. If it’s not, it should be recycled or tossed. Some donation locations will take stained, torn clothes for recycling.
Use Freecycle, craigslist, and local Facebook groups. These are a great way to sell or give away just about anything. You know what they say: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Get it out of the house! You also want to make sure you get sale and donation items out ASAP. Nothing is more deflating than working really hard to clear out and clean up a space and keeping a pile of bags or boxes stacked in a corner. Likewise, nothing is more rewarding and inspiring than getting everything out the door and seeing all of the space you’ve re-claimed.
2 Put your winter clothes away (and organize your closet while you’re at it)
Spring is here! We can finally put away those bulky, itchy winter coats and sweaters and break out the sandals and shorts. Use this opportunity to clean out your closets and de-clutter your wardrobe.
The first step is to sort through everything. Get rid of anything you haven’t worn all season, anything that doesn’t fit or anything that is worn out. This goes for shoes and accessories as well as clothing. Don’t take up valuable storage space holding on to something you’re not going to wear again next year.
For seasonal clothing storage, use clear plastic bins and label them well. To keep suits and dresses from getting wrinkled, store them on a clothing rack in fabric bags. For long-term storage, make sure clothes can breathe. Wash the garments and store them in a breathable container, such as a rattan trunk or fabric case. Add cedar blocks to keep clothing-eating critters away.
To keep your closet organized, try one or all of these solutions: Use matching hangers to create a visually consistent look (Huggable Hangers help maximize hanging space). Organize clothing by type and/or color. Install a few hooks on an empty closet wall to hang belts, umbrellas and handbags. Pick up a clear, over-the-door shoe bag for small accessories such as hosiery, scarves and jewelry.
Don't overstuff. Keep your closet and drawers 80% full, so you can see and access everything easily. To keep clutter at bay, live by the rule: one item in, one item out. Love what you own and only own what you love!
3 Identify your clutter hot-spots and make them work for you. Organizing means everything needs to have a place. When deciding where to put items, it’s best to start by identifying your clutter hot-spots. We all have areas in our home where clutter tends to collect. We walk in the house and drop our mail on the counter and it piles up right there. Instead of fighting the habit, just contain it where it is. Look at where clutter collects and set up ways to organize it. Place a decorative bowl where you usually drop your keys. If your coat closet is on the other side of the house, then hang hooks where you tend to walk in the door. If mail and papers pile up on your counters, place a nice box or basket there to contain them until you have a chance to go through it all. Having items contained also helps when you need to do a quick clean up!
Sarah Buckwalter is a Certified Professional Organizer® with over 17 years of experience. She is the founder of Organizing Boston, the most renowned organizing firm in New England and winner of Best of Boston Home™, Best Professional Organizer.
Highly regarded and nationally recognized as an organizing industry expert, Sarah frequently lectures on organizing and business development. She has shared her organizing expertise in print and on dozens of news and television programs. Sarah has appeared several times on the hit television series, “Hoarding: Buried Alive” on TLC.
With a desire to help more people get organized, Sarah created Organizing U. Organizing U offers an organizing service directory, personal home organizing courses, and professional organizer training programs.