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Clean, Organize, Donate, Toss, and Repeat

Updated on April 2, 2015
My tiny kitchen in which organizing is key to maximizing the space.
My tiny kitchen in which organizing is key to maximizing the space.

It's that time of year again - Spring Cleaning!

I have a lot of experience with Spring Cleaning. I grew up in a home in which once a year my mom made each of us go through our rooms cleaning, organizing, and tossing. She would send us upstairs with cleaning supplies, several new Rubbermaid bins/organizers, an ample supply of big black trash bags, and a bunch of boxes marked "Sell/Donate."

Our instructions were simple: "Go upstairs and clean out your room. Go through your closet, your drawers, under your bed... everywhere. Ask yourself, 'Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it?' If the answer is 'no,' put it in the box if it's nice/ still useful or put it in the trash bag if it's not."

I hated cleaning, but I loved the aftermath - so clean, and organized, and beautiful. I still get biannual urges to drastically clean my house and get rid of most of my belongings (quarterly if life's been stressful). There's something so cathartic about it...

Are you ready to do some cleaning and organizing? It can be a bit overwhelming but the results are so worth it! So, if you're doing some Spring Cleaning, here are some tips:

Tips from a Master Spring Cleaner

  1. Set aside some time. Don't do a drastic deep clean if you know you have limited time before the house has to back together (or you'll end up dumping everything in the closet or shoving it under the bed so your mother-in-law doesn't see).
  2. Gather your supplies. Grab the vacuum cleaner, some dust rags, trash bags, boxes, and organizers.
  3. Start with one room - and if that's too much, split it down even further. Start with just the closet, the dresser, etc.
  4. Ask yourself, "Do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it?"
  5. Be honest.
  6. Put items that you are keeping in their place as you go. If you are having trouble about where to put something or you can't make up your mind about it, put it in a separate pile and go back to it later. Don't let it make you lose your momentum.
  7. Take breaks when you need them, but stick with it. It's easy to let your "short break" become the end of cleaning.
  8. Have a yard sale. The extra cash you make will be a nice reward for your hard work.
  9. Donate anything left over from the yard sale (or donate everything if you don't want the extra work of the garage sale).
  10. Repeat in 6 months to 1 year for best results.


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