Finally, we have some spring weather up here in Canada! And now I’m in the cleaning mood. If you are too, then you’ll love today’s post by guest blogger from Foodie Fitness, Adrienne.
Spring is the perfect time to throw open the windows, enjoy the fresh air, and dive headfirst into all those home maintenance tasks you spent the cold winter avoiding.
The problem with spring cleaning is we often neglect to add a spring decluttering. Why not clean around clutter? Why waste time on items that are just taking up space and, ultimately, making your job harder and the end result less satisfying.
As you work through your list of spring cleaning to-do’s, don’t forget to set aside time to tackle these 5 problem spots:
Don’t think you have bathroom clutter? Take another look. What do you call that expired or dried-up makeup? Those stretched-out hair ties and worn-out towels? What about that half-used body wash you don’t like or that impulse perfume buy you never wear anymore?
Bathrooms aren’t known for their boundless storage, so why let trash and junk you’ll never use again take up priceless real estate? Be ruthless, be honest, and keep a trash bag handy.
No matter what space you’re decluttering, make sure you finish the job right by removing any objects that don’t belong in that room and returning them to their rightful home.
A good rule of thumb for any deep cleaning and decluttering is to clear out the space you will be working in. So start by removing everything from your closet of choice.
Then? Be ruthless about what goes back in. Really question what you need and what you’re too afraid to throw out or give away. Four sets of sheets for each room? Sixty-seven unused candles? Really?
For a decluttering to work, it’s important to keep items from sneaking back where they don’t belong. Keep a trash bag, a “donate” box and a “put away” box with you at all times. As soon as you’re done, toss the trash in your outside bin, return your “put away” items to the proper rooms, and put the “donate” box in the front seat of your car. That way it makes it to the thrift store the next time you leave the house.
Garages are meant for cars. Why leave one of your more expensive possessions at the mercy of the elements so piles of disorganized junk can stay safe instead? April is National Garage Organization Month, so roll up your sleeves and dive headfirst into that organizational wasteland.
It’s easy to let your garage stay junky if it looks junky. After you’ve removed everything from the space, take the time to give your garage a little refresh. Paint is cheap and can make a world of difference. Paint and seal that concrete floor. Pick a pretty shade for the walls. Slap some color on your pegboard or use it to make mismatched storage pieces look like they belong together.
Again, be ruthless about what you’ll keep and smart about where you’ll keep it. The garage ceiling is a great, untapped storage space. Grab some two by fours and some plywood and build a custom overhead storage system to keep rarely used items like camping and travel gear out of the way. You can even rotate seasonal tools, so pack away the snow shovel and bring out the garden hose.
4. Sentimental Storage
We all have a different spot for it, but we all have a spot for it. You know what I mean. Prom dresses, kids’ artwork, unwanted gifts; fond memories and guilt keep us from tackling these items.
First step? Drop the guilt. You don’t need to go out of your way to hurt a gift-giver’s feelings — no need to throw it back in their face and scream you hate it — but there’s no reason you can’t quietly slip it into the charity box. Second? Separate the memory from the object. You’ll still remember your prom, even if you no longer have the dress.
Want to keep a small memento of a bigger item? Take a picture. For example, turn your kids’ artwork into a digital portfolio.
5. The Drop Zone
Keys, mail, library books, store returns, important papers: They tend to pile up on the nearest surface, regardless of whether that surface was meant for them or not.
Round off your spring cleaning by creating a dedicated drop zone. However, be careful not to reinvent the wheel. Pinterest-perfect drop zones are all well and good, but you won’t gain anything by adopting someone else’s system. Chances are you have a system that almost works for you already. You just need to invest a little to make it work better for you.
For example, do you drop all your mail and papers on the kitchen counter? Don’t try and relocate them to a different room. Instead, reclaim a little counter space by hanging a magazine rack on the wall and filling it with folders like school, bills, to file, to do, etc.
Decluttering may take some time, but you’ll be amazed at just how freeing it can be.
About the Author
Adrienne is a blogger and freelance designer passionate about healthy living, good food, and fitness. You can see more of her work by following @foodierx on Twitter or visiting her blog, Foodie Fitness.
This was a fantastically helpful article! Do you have any additional organizational and decluttering tips for these problem spots?