Spring cleaning? Okay, I’ll admit first off. I’m not exactly the neatest person. So I look at spring cleaning as the annual time I tackle clutter and reorganize my closets, kitchen, medicine cabinets and more. Tackling it all at once would be a daunting task, so I usually choose a project a weekend. This also gives me time to take pride in the success each weekend and look forward to the next.
Tools You Need for Spring Cleaning
There are countless things you can buy to get more organized. There are also some pretty good Web sites and magazines that have a lot of advise. I’ve spent a lot on pretty boxes, garment bags, under-bed containers, wire racks and storage bins. If purchasing additional stuff helps you – great. For me, they just became additional flat spaces on which to pile other things or more clutter in closets. I prefer to look at Spring Cleaning as the time to purge my house of unnecessary things.
The key things needed for spring cleaning are Sharpie markers (silver works best on light or dark backgrounds), a bag or box for donating, a garbage bag for discards, and an open mind that you really do not need that shirt that hasn’t fit for years in case your size changes. When in doubt, kick it out.
Tips On Specific Jobs
Here are the top priority jobs I’ve got planned for the coming weeks:
- Kitchen Pantry: Take everything off the pantry shelves and you will be surprised at the old packages or cans that got shoved in the back, the sauces you bought for the recipe you didn’t make, etc. As you take each item down, check its expiration date and toss the out of date stuff right off. If there are items to donate to a food pantry, set them aside. Then clean the shelves thoroughly with soap and water. You may want to reline the shelves or spruce things a little. Now’s the chance.
Step back decide what items will go back where. I put cooking items (spices and such) in the middle level, storage wraps and containers below, cans up higher, things that are not used often up higher. The cans are organized by type (beans, soups, tomato products and such.
Years ago, I found out that most spices expire after three years. So I use the Sharpie to label the date I purchase them on top for easy reference. The first year, I just put the year and gave those two more years. Anything new from then on got a month and year. I also got more organized about buying smaller packages of the ones I rarely use.
- Medicine Cabinet: The medicine cabinet doesn’t get that messy, but it’s a good idea to take everything off and clean the shelves once a year. I also get rid of old makeup or creams I bought and stopped using shortly after, the sample items from free giveaways that didn’t get touched, and anything else not in use. Makeup and creams do not last that long once opened, so they get a Sharpie date when purchased too.
- Garment Closet: This is the big project for 2014. For the past few weeks, I have been pulling out items that I haven’t worn for a while, putting them on and deciding if they are donated, tossed or resurrected. Some people say if you haven’t worn it within the past year, it should go. I give items a longer shelf-life. I live in Southern California and this winter very few sweaters or winter dresses were worn. But if it doesn’t fit right or looks too dated, it will be purged. I plan to take everything out in the next week or two and finish searching for any buried treasures or things I worn at my old job and wouldn’t wear now.
- Shoes Shelves: I admit it, I have a lot of shoes. Just in black alone, there are low sandals, high-heeled fancy sandals, casual sandals that can go to work, casual sandals that can’t, ballerina flats, wedge pumps, regular pumps, clogs, ankle boots, low trendy bootie shoes, knee high boots and sneakers.
I keep my shoes in their boxes on shelves by color and/or type. Since there is a lot of black, I separate those into casual and work shelves. There is a shelf with greys, blues and browns. The bottom shelf has tennis shoes, rain boots, and casual shoes for walking the dog. Years ago, to save myself time staring at five similar boxes from the same designer, I wrote (with the Sharpie) what is inside each box on the edge to save time hunting for or putting away shoes. Once a year, I go through them and purge what hasn’t been worn since last time, is starting to look worn out, or I just wound up not liking. The boxes all get dusted and put back neatly.
Whatever tasks you have planned, spring cleaning is a great excuse to reassess what you own, what you use and what you do not need anymore. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and clean – even if it’s only a priority once a year.
Sources: If you are looking for great tips on how to tackle particularly areas of your home, I learned about the spices and other things from Real Simple and Women’s Day.