Ahhhh……Spring! The fresh air and sunshine make it feel good to be outside and we want our homes to feel just as light and fresh. Doing a spring “clearing” is just as important as cleaning to help you achieve that goal. Here are 10 areas to focus on that will make a big difference in how your home looks, feels and functions and some pictures that may inspire you.
Clear out the:
Let go of the books that you won’t read or reference again (unless they are truly sentimental or valuable) and you will be amazed at how much space you create. Sort the remaining books by subject and then size. Arrange some vertically and some horizontally and leave some white space on each shelf to create interest and a place to highlight decorative items.
Clear out the medicine cabinet, vanity and shower/tub of any products that you won’t use, are expired or almost empty. Keep the items you need daily in the most accessible spot and if possible, try not to keep anything on the counter top besides what you absolutely need to have there. The things you only need occasionally like travel items and extra product can be kept in lower drawers or shelves.
Closet and Dresser Drawers
Now is the time to eliminate those clothes that you haven’t worn in the last 2 years, are out of style, uncomfortable, don’t fit well or not in good condition. Arrange what’s left by category and then color code to make getting dressed easy.
Doing laundry will be more pleasant if your laundry room is organized and free of clutter. Say good bye to unmatched socks and excess rags, consolidate cleaning products where duplicates exist and consider donating those products you won’t use to a homeless shelter.
Take everything out of the closet and only put back those coats, jackets, gloves, hats and scarves that will actually be worn. Separate spring from winter and put each family member’s outerwear together making it easy for them to see what they have.
Look at the collections of puzzles, games, blocks/Legos, dolls, stuffed animals, video games, action figures, etc. and ask yourself (and your kids) what they actually play with. You may find there’s quite a bit that can be cleared out. Kids enjoy their play space more when the excess is gone. The picture below shows what was left when this family kept only what their 1st and 3rd grader actually play with.
Go through your pantry and check expiration dates. You may be surprised at what’s out of date since you last checked. Items that are unexpired but that you won’t eat can be donated to your local food pantry. Arrange what’s left by category like: condiments, canned goods, breakfast foods, pasta and grains, snacks, and products for baking. Consider labeling the shelves/drawers to keep everyone on track.
If you have magazines in stacks or on bookshelves you know they take up a tremendous amount of space. Be realistic about what you will read or refer back to and recycle what doesn’t make the cut. Going forward set criteria for how long you will keep a magazine. For example, maybe only keep the current issue and the previous one.
Oftentimes the garage becomes a dumping ground for broken, unused and unnecessary items. This is the perfect time to let go of sports equipment, garden supplies, etc., that your family won’t use .Old paint cans can be put in the trash if they’re dried out or you can use kitty litter to do so. Hazardous chemicals can’t be put in the trash so consult www.swalco.org if you live in Lake County or www.swancc.org if you live in Cook County to find where to take them for disposal.
Unused laptops, computers, monitors, stereo, and audio/visual equipment serve no purpose and take up a lot of space. Destroy or clear hard drives and take these to electronic recycling (see websites listed above for locations) or use a trade in program like Amazon’s.
Linda Goldman is a Certified Professional Organizer® and the owner of Altogether Organized. You can learn more about how she helps people get and stay organized at http://www.altogetherorganized.org