It’s that time of year again — time to organize, declutter, donate and get our homes (and offices) in tip-top shape! If you’ve read my organization posts from last year, you probably already know that I’ve been working hard to eliminate excess and achieve a simpler, more productive lifestyle. It’s not easy, but it feels so good. For me, it’s like a fresh start — a way to feel more inspired and productive in my everyday life. And by donating items to those in need, I also feel like my family is doing a good deed. So, with spring upon us, now is a great time to tackle these projects.
But first, why do they call it spring cleaning? Apparently, some people believe that spring cleaning can be traced back to the Persian new year. It’s a tradition to clean your house thoroughly either before or during the week of Great Lent (also known as Clean Week). Others say that the tradition evolved because spring brings longer days and warmer weather, so those that experience really cold winter months feel the need to air out the house, do a deep cleaning, and be more active.
No matter the origin, I think we can all agree that a clean, organized home can be beneficial for many reasons.
It can improve your allergies (especially if you’re storing too many items that produce dust), it can get you moving and exercising, and it helps your mental state because it can revive your spirits and help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
Last year I managed to clean out my home office, kids’ bedroom, playroom, kitchen, and more. And it felt sooooo good! This year, I have to tackle my home office (again!), my bedroom drawers and closet, the playroom (again!), and a few smaller areas. And you know what? I can’t wait to get rid of more stuff and live a life with less clutter. Life is busy — I get it! With two kids, school and household responsibilities, work and a business to run, being a mompreneur is challenging. So remember: We can do ANYTHING, but we cannot do everything at the same time, Mama!
Make a list of the areas in your home that need the most work and set your priorities.
What room or area bothers you the most? Start with your biggest pain point and go from there. If you cannot devote an entire day to a project, then just set aside an hour or two to get started and work on your first project little by little. Once you’ve completed that first project, you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment and you’ll be inspired to tackle something else. So grab a pen and paper — or your phone — and start making a list and setting priorities!
Once you get started, it’s a good idea to make three piles.
Make one pile for items you want to keep and need to organize, one for items you wish to donate, and another for things that can be thrown out. Once you’ve made your piles, be sure to take out all the trash and put all the items that are to be donated in your car so you can drop them off and get them out of your home. Decide where you’d like to take your donations (Goodwill, The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, your church, a family in need, etc.)
Now it’s time to organize all the items that you’re keeping.
Set up organizational systems that will work for you; reuse or purchase new containers, baskets, and holders; place like items together so they’re easy to find later (create categories); label each so you know what’s in there; and introduce items that bring you joy so you can feel good when you enter the room (this can be a plant, a scented candle, a pretty basket or décor item, a photo of your kids, etc.).
SPRING CLEANING HACKS
Here are a few spring cleaning hacks to get you started right away.
Clear your countertops!
If you have a lot of vitamins and supplements on your counter, for instance, buy a Lazy Susan (rotating tray) and place the items on there. You can also buy a basket or bread box and put them inside to keep everything out of sight. Purchase a mail holder and put all the mail in there as you collect it, so it’s not all over the counter or on a table. Get rid of junk mail right away so it doesn’t pile up. Keep only what you need on your kitchen and bathroom counters. The rest should be neatly placed inside the cabinets or drawers. Bonus tip: Lazy Susans work great in the fridge, too!
Buy bins or baskets and put all the toys in there.
Labels (or pictures) will help kids find what they need easily. Set rules for playtime. Tell them they are only allowed to play with items in one basket. If they want to play with something else, they need to put that basket away before taking out another one. Although my girls don’t always stick to this rule, they know that they’re responsible for the messes they make in the playroom.
Also, every six months or so, go through all the toys, reorganize them, and get rid of items your kids no longer play with. If the toys are in good shape, you can even resell them! I’ve sold several toys and electronics over the years. Now my goal is to focus more on gifting them experiences and buying fewer toys. Bonus tip: Put plastic toys in the dishwasher and place stuffed animals in a mesh bag and toss them in the washer on a delicate cycle.
Keep your office space free from clutter.
If you work from home like I do, try to keep your paperwork under control. Add personal items that make you happy, keep cords organized, and buy furniture that works for you. It doesn’t have to be expensive — my furniture is mostly from IKEA and it’s simple, modern and visually appealing. It’s all white and the light, airy feel makes me HAPPY!
Go through your closets.
Marie Kondo likes to take everything out of the closet and then go through each item and only keep those that spark joy. But even if you don’t do it the Marie Kondo way, be sure to take out the clothes you haven’t worn in over a year and anything that’s damaged, stained or that you just don’t want anymore. If they’re in good shape, you can donate them. The damaged items can go in the trash. Keep the items that you know you will wear, the ones that make you feel good and you can’t part with just yet.
If you come across a piece of clothing that you forgot you had, move it to the front of the closet. That way you can remember to wear it soon. Organize like items together so that shirts, pants, dresses, etc. all hang together. This will make it so much easier to create outfits when you’re in a hurry.
Tackle those drawers.
Whether it’s that junk drawer in the kitchen or the one in your bedside table, make time to go through your drawers and get rid of what you don’t need or want. Clean drawers thoroughly, then use non-skid pads and inserts to bundle all like things together.
What’s in your purse?
It’s time to take everything out, toss out the trash, keep any important receipts and organize items by category. I like sorting smaller makeup items and first aid/medicines in pouches (or even Ziploc bags). As moms, we tend to carry Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, wipes, Tylenol, allergy pills, you name it. After sorting the items we need, place them back in the purse and voila! Your purse just got much lighter. Bonus tip: You can wipe down most purse exteriors with a disinfectant wipe (and wipe down your phone while you’re at it!).
Whew! Writing this post just made me want to get started right away. It’s time to get rid of the clutter, my friend! What will you tackle first? Let me know in the comments below.
Happy spring cleaning,