Though many areas in the country have had especially harsh weather this winter, springtime is just around the corner. It’s starting to warm up, and soon Charleston area homes will be ready for spring cleaning! Though it’s not quite time for that yearly deep cleaning we tackle when the weather warms up, now is the time to get your home ready for it. Cleaning will be much easier if you take the time now to de-clutter. Here are some room-by-room organizing tips and tricks to help you get your home shipshape in no time flat.
- Make small goals. Organizing can be a daunting, overwhelming task. Instead of looking at it as one giant project, divide it into small goals.
- Play some music! Make up an upbeat playlist that will get you up and moving.
- Start in one room and stay there until it’s finished. Zig-zagging all over the house tiring and distracting, and you’ll get discouraged by the lack of visible evidence. If you have a particularly large room to deal with, divide that up into smaller sections so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Set a timer. Give yourself 5, 10, or 15 minutes to complete a task. If you beat the timer, reward yourself! If you don’t, just set it again and keep at it.
- Small space? Invest in dual-purpose furniture. Use an ottoman with a removable top to store blankets, pillows, and DVDs. Turn a desk into a dining table with a large leaf insert. The possibilities are endless.
- Keeping things monochromatic can also create the illusion of a bigger space. Create a “landing station.” Set up a small space near the front door to catch all those little items you drop as soon as you come home. Things to include: a bowl for keys and wallets, a hook for your coat, a container for loose change, and an in/outbox for mail.
- Put remote controls in a pretty basket or vase on the coffee table or side table.
- Clean out the refrigerator every trash day. This will keep unwanted items from accumulating and leading to a bigger mess later on.
- Group like items together. In the pantry, keep salty snacks in one basket or bin, sweets in another, canned items on one shelf, and dry goods on another. In the fridge, put all dairy items in one spot, vegetables and fruits in another, prepackaged foods on a separate shelf, and condiments and drinks in the shelves on the door.
- Don’t spend a lot of money on countertop organizing. For things like flour, sugar, and pastas, paint old coffee containers and stick a chalkboard label on the front.
- Keep the dining room table set with pretty dishes and flowers. This will discourage your family from tossing things on the table that don’t belong there.
- The closet is usually the most difficult area to rein in. Sort your clothing into groups and designate hanging sections for shirts, pants, and dresses. Keeping like items together makes it easy to choose an outfit.
- Bins and baskets on shelves are the perfect place for belts, purses, and scarves.
- Add a narrow shelf closer to the floor for shoe storage.
- In the kids’ rooms, sort various belongings into appropriate bins. Make sure to label them for easy access. If your children are too young to read words, label the bins with pictures instead.
- If keeping the kids’ clothing organized is a hassle, think about putting coordinating items in gallon-sized kitchen bags before putting them away. Getting dressed will be a snap when they only have to reach into the drawer and choose a bag.
- If toys are taking over the bedroom, consider donating the ones that the kids have outgrown. It’s also a good idea to have kids purge their toy collection before every birthday or holiday.
- Keep countertops clear of clutter.
- Designate specific areas for hygiene items. Keep the ones you use most front and center. Those that are only for occasional use can be stored in cabinets or baskets.
- If storage space is an issue, get creative! For example, paint an old wooden ladder to lean against the wall and hold towels. Mount repurposed crates on the walls to house necessities and décor.
- Leave a decorative bowl on the counter to hold jewelry.
- Use a binder clip to keep cords together and out of the way.
- Bolt jar lids to the bottom of shelves to create storage space for jars of paperclips and rubber bands.
- Organize a bookshelf by keeping similar-sized books and magazines together. If you really want to get creative, sort the books by color on the shelves. It might not be functional when it comes to looking for a specific book, but it is visually interesting!
- Organize mail and other documents using accordion files. Designate separate files for receipts, warranties, tax information, etc.
Most importantly, don’t do it all by yourself. Enlist your family (or even a friend or two) to help. Turn it into a game by setting a timer to see who can de-clutter their area fastest. Once you’re all finished, sit down, take a rest, and appreciate your handiwork. And don’t forget to treat yourself for a job well done.