5 Spring Cleaning Tips to Purge Clutter

Posted by John Odalen on Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 20 is the first day of spring. Do you look forward to annual spring cleaning, or dread it? Or just skip it all together?  Don't feel overwhelmed. No one says you have to spring clean your entire home in one day or weekend. Take it in small manageable chunks.

Spring cleaning is a great time to clear out the clutter in your home. Here are five easy places to start:

  1. Cleaning Products: Before you start spring cleaning, pull out all of your cleaning products and tools. Use what you have before buying new. When you have finished, evaluate anything you haven't used, or items that don't work effectively. Be brutal and toss what you do not need.

  2. Toiletries, makeup and medicine: Go through everything in your medicine chest, bathroom closet, vanity top and drawers, dresser tops and that one cabinet in the kitchen. Throw out anything expired. Beauty and personal care products that you haven't used in six months, consider tossing. There is a reason you haven't used it. Don't forget your toiletry travel bag. (Check out http://www.takebackyourmeds.org/ on how to safely dispose of Rx medication.

  3. Kitchen pantry: Do you have expired food at the back of your kitchen cabinet or pantry? Or about to expire? Specialty food you bought on a whim but you know you will never use? Or do you have a dozen cans of chicken stock or three jars of nutmeg because you keep buying not realizing what you have? A few minutes to review, sort, purge and organize will save you time each day going forward. You'll be able to see everything you have, you will use what you have and you won't overbuy.

  4. Desk/Mail: Before you can do a deep clean, you will need to clear off the flat surfaces. Instead of moving the piles of paper and magazines and catalog to one side just to put them back, take few minutes to review. Sort into piles:  need action, to file, toss/shred. You'll be surprised how large the last pile is. If you aren't ready to file, create a "to file" basket for only paperwork that needs saving. When you have some time, or when the basket fills up, commit to doing the filing.

  5. Wardrobe: Before you pack away your winter clothes, spend an hour reviewing your wardrobe. Are there items you didn't wear this year? Anything that is ripped, stained or torn? No longer fits? Decide to only keep the items you truly love, that fit well and look good on you. Picking an outfit in the morning will be much easier. You can donate any clothing in good condition to a local charity and get a tax deduction.

Bonus Tip: Clutter isn't limited to physical stuff. Anything that doesn't belong can be considered clutter. Think about your email inbox. Do you get lots of newsletters, advertisements, coupons, etc? Take a few minutes and unsubscribe from any that are on longer relevant to your life. Stop them from coming in and cluttering your inbox. For those emails already in your inbox, most email programs have a search feature that will allow you to filter by sender or subject line and then delete on mass. For any that are time sensitive, like retail or restaurant emails, delete all but the most current one or two.

John Odalen, Professional Organizer


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