Cleaning Up,
Cleaning Out

What is it about spring and the desire to clean? Clean up and clean out. It’s that starting fresh thing, the rebirth thing….totally spring-appropriate. A desire to dive in and get it done as the days get longer and air gets warmer. But how often, in years past, has that backfired? This year, plan for your spring cleaning to make it the most efficient cleaning up and cleaning out yet.

messy garage

Before you jump headlong into a clean out, stop and think about what you want to accomplish. Cleaning out and freshening up, yes, but what else? What other transitions are happening in the family? How can you do it most efficiently? And where will all the "stuff" go?

Prioritize!

While you may have the desire to clean everything, you need to prioritize. What needs the most cleaning out and organization? Has your daughter, for example, been making the transition between little girl and young lady? Perhaps her room is the place to start. Or has your kitchen been the source of stress lately? Maybe start there. Is it the basement?

The point is, there's no way you can do it all at once. You just can't. You have to make a list and decide what has to be done first, second and so on. And plan this spring cleaning over days and weeks -- not hours. If you try to do too much at once, you'll just end up frustrated and you may have more of a mess at the end than you started with.

>> Get some spring cleaning checklists here!

Stock up on storage & organizational supplies

Orange broomBefore you even begin, stock up on storage and organizational supplies. If you'll be working in the playroom, you'll need bins for toys and boxes for outgrown toys you plan to donate. If you are working in your office, it might be folders or document boxes -- or a shredder for old records. Try to anticipate what you'll need and be prepared in advance. That way, you won't interrupt your momentum with yet another visit to the store for supplies. Oh, and make sure you keep that receipt! You can always return any supplies you don't use.

>> Smart organizing tips & tricks

Check your cleaning supplies

Just like you don't want to interrupt your momentum for more storage bins, it would be frustrating to run out of spray cleaner or other cleaning supplies when you are in the thick of the clean out. Check to be sure you have all the rags, cleaners and such on hand before you begin.

>> Cleaning supplies and ways to clean efficiently

Plan where it goes

If you are removing quantities of toys and old clothes from the house, plan in advance where they might go. There may be some things you want to go to your cousin -- just make sure she wants them!

While some items might be better for the local shelter, others would be best for Goodwill or other charity. And yes, some might be best at the town dump, er, transfer station. Sort as you go -- and put taking the items to those locations in your calendar so they don't clutter up the basement until next spring.

>> How you can get new life from old clothing and linens

Rewards for a job well-done

When you are done with your big spring cleaning effort, a reward is in order -- but perhaps not by bring more stuff into the house!

Follow your big effort with a lovely long walk on the beach or a trip to your favorite museum or inviting you son's best friend and his family over for dinner. Make it something the whole family will enjoy.


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