This Polar Vortex was enough to give us all a taste of cabin fever – and now they are saying there could be a round 2 next week? I don’t know about you but I have been taking this time indoors to make lemonade out of lemons and do some deep cleaning and de-cluttering before spring! Don’t know where to begin? Here are some great ideas to get you started! (taken from Southern Living Magazine)
5 Day Cleaning Spree
Day 1: Fill one trash bag of junk from anywhere in the house. Then, toss or donate it.
Day 2: Pick up 5-7 things that don’t have a place, and find a place for them. These are things that you use daily, but don’t have a home. Here’s one of the biggest rules of an organized home: Everything should have a place.
Day 3: Pick a counter and clear off all the junk. Another big organizing tip: Every flat surface should be clear of clutter.
Day 4: Clear a shelf, any shelf. Keep five of your most display-worthy items, and donate the rest, or at least set them aside for storage (but keep in mind that you’re aiming to simplify, not end up purchasing a storage unit).
Day 5: Take this day to strategize. We’re going to walk you through general ways to eliminate clutter in every room, but you’ve got to make note of your home’s personal clutter “hot spots.” The table by the back door? Your bathroom counter? Your desk? All of the above? Make note of the spaces you want to declutter, and set deadlines for getting organized. Make boxes for keeping, donating, and storing – these will come in handy. If you’re prone to separation anxiety, make a box called “maybe” – when you can’t quite make yourself throw something away, store it here. After 6 months, pull it back out – if you haven’t so much as thought about an item, that means you should throw it out.
- Take everything out of all of your drawers. If you haven’t used it, read it, or worn it in a year, donate it. If it doesn’t belong in the bedroom, put it in an “elsewhere” bin (and put the collected items in their rightful places when you’re finished).
- Now that you have drawer space cleared up, focus on your bedroom surfaces (like the bedside table, TV stand, vanity, etc.). Donate the items that no longer have value; and limit yourself to displaying only five things on each surface.
- Check under the bed. Getting rid of things you forgot you owned will clear up space for seasonal clothes and shoes.
- Start at the bottom. You’ll free up space to spread out and sift through your sweaters. Get rid of clothes and shoes that you haven’t worn in the past year, that don’t fit, or that are damaged. As for items with sentimental significance, you’re not a bad person for throwing away your best friend’s bridesmaid dress. Snap a picture, and then donate it. Remember that memories exist in your head, not in a piece of fabric.
- Put everything in its place. Now that you’ve cleared up space, you can make sure that all of your favorite pieces are visible. Organize tops by sleeve length, pants by type, and shoes by occasion. Stow away any seasonal clothing (bathing suits, heavy coats) under your bed until it’s their time.
- Tackle the Tupperware cabinet. Once you’re able to open this seemingly endless cave without risking a plastic-container-waterfall raining down on your head, you can do anything! And the technique is simple. Throw away every single container that doesn’t have a matching lid, and every single lid that doesn’t have a matching container.
- Abandon your useless appliances. If it doesn’t work or if you haven’t used it in over a year, throw it away or donate it. The same goes for pots and pans – keep the ones you use daily; but you don’t need eight sheet pans.
- Refresh your refrigerator, and your pantry. Get rid of all those random condiments you bought three years ago (they expire), and spices that have seen better days. While you’re at it, donate the cookbooks that you’ve never cracked open.
- Now that you have all that extra space, clean off your counter tops. Again, limit yourself to five items per surface. Store all appliances, besides the ones you use daily, like coffee makers and microwaves, in your clutter-free pantry.
- Don’t be intimidated, but some experts recommend decluttering all of your bathrooms at once, so you can take an accurate inventory of all of those long-lost soaps and lotions you forgot existed. Empty and wipe down all of your drawers, shower caddys, cabinets, etc. Throw away what’s expired, what’s nearly empty (that you don’t use), and that overwhelmingly-scented coconut bath bomb your grandma gave you five years ago. The same goes for medicine and makeup.
- Put like things together, and put them in their place. This may involve buying new drawer storage organization, but a clean bathroom is a happy life.
The Basement, Attic, and Garage
- Divide the space into sections. You’ll be emptying out everything so that you can see what you have; these sections will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
- Empty everything, one section at a time. Divide your stuff into “keep” or “give away.” Now, go get the rest of the stuff that you’ve marked as storage over the past 28 days. Is there anything that you’d rather give away, now? Adjust accordingly.
- Group like things together, and assess your inventory. Once you see what you’re working with, purchase storage containers that will fit your needs.
- Sort, stack, and label. Be amazed.