Spring is here in full force—the season of renewal. It’s the perfect time to breathe new life into your home after being closed up all winter long. From putting away cold weather gear to rearranging dusty bookshelves and tidying up the laundry room, you can reinvigorate your living space and enjoy the newness of the season both inside and out. Whether you want to deep-clean your entire living quarters or focus on neglected areas, a good way to begin is to declutter and organize.
Seize the season
This time of year is “prime time” for annual home cleaning. “The slush and mud are gone, and we can finally open our windows!” says Sara Lohse, owner of Rescued Room (therescuedroom.com), a local home organizing, cleaning and interior design business. “There’s something about fresh spring air, sunshine and singing birds that give us an extra spring in our step. It’s incredibly energizing.”
Lohse describes spring cleaning and decluttering as bringing more order into your home, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on the homeowner, the process could take a short weekend or an entire month, with some opting to use a comprehensive checklist and others eyeballing each room to identify problem areas. “Whatever approach you take, tasks could include purging unnecessary clutter and organizing the remaining items in a functional way,” she explains.
Implement a process
The more time you spend in your home, the more attention it might need. If you work remotely, clutter could be more of an issue when work equipment displaces personal items in a newly evolved workspace. “The upside is that if your work is flexible enough, you can start dedicating lunch and break time to some spring cleaning tasks,” says Lohse.
“People have much more time than they realize,” she explains. “I’d recommend trying a spring cleaning swap for two weeks by replacing 30 minutes a day that you’d spend on ‘time wasters’ (web surfing, TV watching, etc.) with dedicated spring-cleaning tasks that are most important to you.”
She provides three tips to easily clean the clutter:
- Take 15 minutes to look for the “low hanging fruit” in your home. These are items that you know, within a second of looking at them, can be tossed or donated. Getting these items out of your home can be just as freeing as not having to wear a winter jacket outside.
- If you get overwhelmed while decluttering, set a timer for 30 minutes. Start by decluttering the largest items first—and don’t start with paperwork or junk drawers. Starting with bigger items like pillows, blankets and sweatshirts allows you to see more visual progress, which can be motivating.
- Actually bring your donations to the donation center. To help accomplish this, put them in your car immediately after purging. Too frequently, piles of donations sit around for months, if not years.
“Our private Facebook group, Home & Life Simplified, is packed full of home-organizing tips and cleaning hacks. It will inspire and motivate you to start tackling the problem areas in your home,” says Lohse.
Utilize bins, baskets and other storage solutions
Jes Peterson, store manager of At Home Rochester (athome.com), recommends getting a grasp on the necessary and unnecessary items you are storing. “Doing so can be a money saver by eliminating the possibility of over-purchasing things you already have enough of, as well as obtaining items that later become unwanted or expired,” she says. At Home offers an array of storage solutions, including shelving and drawers that make it easy to access items; metal and wood storage units, which fit in well with popular home decor; and clear bins that offer a view of container contents. All varieties of baskets are popular storage solutions, in addition to small shelving units and rolling carts, which work well for office supplies, kids’ items and craft supplies.
When considering how to best organize your home, Peterson advises taking on one space at a time, so the process isn’t too overwhelming, and asking yourself if the current storage location makes good sense. For example, are your most-used kitchen items easily accessible, and is all your holiday decor stored in one area, but not taking up prime space in your home? “Consider ease of access to items in closets and cabinets,” she says, “and take the time to label bins and shelves.”
Organize your holiday items in containers labeled by category, such as “candles” and “wreaths,”or by the name of the holiday, which will save you time, money and stress. Whether going through decor or clothing, Peterson offers a helpful rule of thumb: “If you haven’t used or worn it in a year, get rid of it. Trash it, donate it or sell it.”
Enjoy fresh, sunny days ahead
“Things tend to pile up while we’re hibernating, but spring provides the breath of fresh air we need to get motivated,” says Peterson. “It inspires us to free up space in our home, reevaluate current decor and consider new decorating ideas. It can be a huge weight off your shoulders to know your home is functioning at its best.”
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be extreme. Decluttering your home can lead to a great sense of accomplishment that comes from transforming a chaotic space into a “beautifully organized oasis!” adds Lohse. “Dedicating springtime to cleaning and organizing means that you’ll be extra ready for summer playtime!” ::