How To Tackle Your Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning efforts should begin by eliminating the clutter that may have piled up around your home. Bringing organization to a home which has been slowly taken over by papers, magazines, clothes and boxes of every sort of once-important stuff can, at first, seem like a daunting chore, but employing various strategies can return order to the clutter chaos.

Whatever strategy you choose will likely require several boxes or areas into which items can be sorted; donations, garbage and recycle. If you plan to turn some of the household items into cash via yard sales or online selling, have an area where those items can be set aside. Also, to avoid getting sidetracked when sorting, have a box set aside into which items you wish to review at a later date can be placed.

The slow-but-steady strategy. Realize that organization takes time. A variety of approaches may prove effective. Select a few hours twice a week to work on a specific area such as a closet, cupboard, shelf or even just a drawer. Make a goal to pick up ten things a day and find better places to put them. Keep similar things together and in locations where they are actually used. Whatever time you devote to the task, a small accomplishment can provide personal encouragement to keep going. 

The dumpster strategy. This may be required if hoarding has been a problem or if you simply want to accomplish organization in a short period of time. Rent a dumpster from the local waste management company. The dumpster will be delivered it to your driveway and picked up after you fill it. This works best when you don’t care to be discriminating about what you toss out or if you are left the task of cleaning the home of an older family member who may have moved to smaller quarters. Bringing the dumpster to you may prove more efficient and cost-effective in the long run compared to repeated trips to the dump.

The family weekend strategy. If clutter has accumulated thanks to the combined effort or neglect of all family members, put them all to work. Choose a weekend where everyone will dedicate an eight-hour a day to the project working solo or in pairs. Prepare by acquiring a large supply of empty boxes and garbage bags. Make a contest out of the task with a prize going to the winner who accumulates the largest number of bags of stuff removed from the house. Alternatively, ask friends or neighbors to join in. Make the chore fun. This approach works well in tandem with the dumpster rental. 

The closet strategy. Clothes closets can quickly become stuffed with items you have not worn in years. In general, 80 percent of the time people wear 20 percent of the clothes they own. Begin by picking out a few items each day that you have not worn for a long time or will likely not wear again. Once you create some space, employ a long term strategy. Each time you wear an item, hang it in the newly created space. Over time you will see what clothes you actually use on a regular basis and which are less necessary. 

The paper reduction strategy. A significant amount of clutter comes from paperwork that piles up on desks and counters and then gets moved to a shelf while new paperwork accumulates. Begin reducing paper clutter by having a central in-basket where mail is kept. Next, label file folders for bills and other major paperwork you feel is essential to retain. Store the files in a single location like a file cabinet. If you use a home office, create small bins or shelves for specific types of correspondence such as bills, invitations and letters to be answered.  Once the filing system is created you can more quickly file paperwork as it comes in. 

After your task is accomplished, learn to appreciate and enjoy the uncluttered look. Make it a priority to prevent clutter from accumulating. Once organized, you probably won’t need more than a half-hour per room each month to keep your home looking clean and tidy.   

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