So, it's that time of year again when we get down on our hands and knees and scrub our home top to bottom. Okay, well, it's the time of year you promised yourself you would do THE BIG CLEAN. Sponge? Check. Eco-friendly cleaning solutions? Check. Rubber gloves? Check. Ready, set, clean. What? You still haven't started? Or, you've pushed the task off to summer break? Come on now, here are two tips to get you spring cleaning:
- Have a spring mantra. How about "Less is More." Sure, you have heard that mantra before but have you really applied it? Visualize having to move. Do you really want to move all this stuff into your new place? If you don't, then it's time to put on your imaginary Mother Theresa habit and start giving your unwanted stuff to your favorite charity. Moving is the time in our lives when we get rid of the most stuff, so why not just pretend you're moving and make your spring clean a meaningful experience.
- What? You're still not cleaning? Okay, so you aren't motivated by doing good for the needy? Maybe, you need a little negative reinforcement for your lack of action? How's this: Set a date the spring cleaning has to be complete. If it's not done by that date you have to donate a $100 to your least favorite organization: you know the one.
Okay, now we've got you cleaning! Here are 10 ideas to make the most of your cleaning frenzy and have you love the final result:
- In the spring, it's time to put heavy fabrics, throw blankets and extra toss pillows in storage or if you are never going to use them again donate them to your favorite charity. Less things and textures will make you feel cool and clean.
- Clear clutter. If things like papers and magazines have been piling up, decide if you really need them. If so, this might be a good time to pack them away. If not, recycle them or donate to your local library.
- Out with the Poinsettias. Go to a local farmer's market and pick out spring plants to have in the house. Fresh plants help improve the flow of oxygen in your home, bringing in that clean spring-like air. Who doesn't love an orchid or a tulip plant?
- Closet purge. Pick one closet per weekend, and empty everything out of the closet onto the floor. I mean everything! Create four piles: "keep," "give away," "throw away," and "store." If you can't remember the last time you used something, get rid of it! Think about the reuse your worn clothing will get from those who need it. Consider the benefits of digital photos: take pictures of nostalgic items you toss, and file images of items you store so you know exactly what is in each box.
- Seasonal turnover. Assess winter shoes, coats and purses. Will they make it another season? If so, put them in storage. If they won't make it another season donate them, they'll keep someone else cozy next year. And, no shopping for new spring clothes, that is until you make room. Get rid of an old item for every new item.
- If you have items to store think green when selecting a storage unit. Be sure to seek full-service moving and storage companies that use boxes made of 100% recyclable materials and use warehouse-style facilities that store items in reusable wooden vaults - greener for you, greener for the environment.
- The kids' rooms. Purchase bed raisers for under-the-bed storage. You can store everything from shoes, laundry basket, books and any bulky items that might otherwise clutter their room. Get the kids involved in taking some items to the Goodwill or the charity of your choice. Are you kids lucky enough not to know what the under privileged look like? Time for a "drive by" of a neighborhood they haven't frequented. My parents took me on a little drive like that when I announced at the dinner table that so and so was poor because she rode her sister's bike. My mother was horrified that I had no concept of what "poor" really meant.
- You get rid of food when moving so why not do it now? Sort through kitchen cabinets and box up canned foods that you have not used in three months. Donate them to Move for Hunger or your local food bank. One in four children in Los Angeles go to bed hungry. Are kids going to bed hungry where you live?
- Once you have sorted everything, throw a reverse housewarming party! When your friends say "housewarming?" tell your friends "I am not moving, but my stuff is." You will be starting a new party trend. Set aside your unwanted items and instead of having your friends bring a housewarming gift, they are to pick one of your items and take it home with them. This is a great way to reunite with friends, find your unwanted things a good home, and de-clutter all at the same time!
- Last but not least, step back and take a pictures of your "new" home and place them on the inside of a drawer to refer to, so you can keep it that way! Really, do it. You won't have to revisit organizing for a long time!
Come on, you'll love your new clean space and yourself for it!
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