As the weather turns warmer, your list of activities that you have been looking forward to doing has grown—hibernation is over! And you are likely ready to get yourself and your home ready for the adventures of spring. As you shed the weight of the winter, you are also probably dreading the “spring cleaning” of your home. But with these helpful spring cleaning tips, you can be excited to reclaim your home and make it a place you are proud of in the light of a bright, sunny day.
Spring cleaning can certainly be a daunting task. You need a strategic plan that can make the process easy and efficient—and maybe save you valuable resources: time, money, and energy. You want to begin a spring cleaning checklist by following these spring cleaning tips for organizing.
Home Organization & Storage Ideas
After spending months inside, you are probably well aware of the difference between messy and dirty in your home. A good spring cleaning checklist will respond to both conditions of your home. You want to begin by organizing the mess in your home before you clean up the dirt. Start your spring cleaning by doing a room-by-room organization of your home. As a general rule of thumb, you want to be begin organizing in the parts of your home that are designed for organization (e.g., closets or the garage) before moving to more commonly used task-specific locations (e.g., bathrooms or kitchens).
This spring cleaning tip might be contrary to your strategy, but it is a good one to consider. First, if you organize in the opposite order than you are likely to just be making those organization locations even more daunting tasks. Second, if you begin with commonly used locations than you are likely to only have to re-organize them before you complete your checklist anyway. And third, as you clean organization locations you can be making room for the items to be moved from the busiest parts of your home. (You are unlikely to move things in the opposite direction as frequently.) As you consider your spring cleaning checklist, you may want to move through your house in the order of this list.
- Garage Organization. This is probably the largest task of organization. Pick a nice day outside. Open up the garage doors so that you can enjoy the warm weather. This also increases your work space so that you have room to get things done. You want to consider what you uses you have for your garage and organize towards those functions. If you need to use your garage to fix cars, then designate an organizational space for it. If you do home improvements, makes sure you have a design for the garage that permits that work. (This is a great time to consider purchasing a Bench Solution organizational system to maximize the space.)
As you are appropriating spaces for tasks, be smart about the design. Better Homes and Gardens contends that the design of your garage is the single greatest contributor to the maintained organization of your garage. Position the designated areas of your garage strategically. For example, garbage and recycling containers should be kept closest to the doors leading to the house. Athletic equipment should be stored nearest the garage doors. Locate items closest to where they will be used. And order them so that the most used items are the most accessible. (These same spring cleaning tips can be used in organizing all rooms of storage such as an attic or a basement.) A strategic spring cleaning checklist and plan will make organizing these rooms a one-time affair.
- Closet Organization. Before you begin organizing your closet, take a close look at the ways in which your closet is cluttered. Not only do you want to organize your closet, you want to use spring cleaning as a chance to strategize how your storage system is (not) working. Take a picture of the space. Changing the size and perspective of the problem might give you a better understanding of what is wrong.
After you have identified the major problems, then you can remove the items in your closet and start arranging them in a way more conducive to staying organized. For example, if you find that your shoes are not fitting into the space and are crammed everywhere, then perhaps you want to consider a better system (or location) for storing your shoes. You do not want to assume that just putting things back to closer to where they were will fix your organization problems. You want to re-organize the closet to function better than before.
- Bedroom Organization. After you have re-organized your storage spaces, you can start moving through the functionally important rooms in the house. The bedroom can be a difficult space to organize because it serves so many purposes: you get ready in this room; you rest in this room; you relax in this room; and you spend quality time with a partner in this room. The key to maximizing the organization of this room is utilizing all spaces and being strategic.
First, make sure that you are making as much use of the room as possible. Begin with the most obvious places for storage. For example, under bed storage systems can be the perfect spot to store out-of-season wardrobes. Once these spots used for storage, you can get more creative. Your furniture and design should match your needs and not traditional expectations.
Interior designer Laura Meyers says that your bedroom should be what you need it to be—and not what others say it should be. So if you are avid reader, consider using an elevated bookshelf for your headboard. Or if you find you need more drawer space, replace small nightstands with slightly larger pieces of furniture with more drawers. The bedroom should be functional for you. Second, be smart about organizing your room. You should design your life into the space. If you know that you like to read magazines, then design that into the space so that you are not fighting your preferences.
A stack of magazines next to a chair can be made artful in their placement. You can use your clutter to your advantage. If you know that you are likely to leave your jewelry on your dresser at the end of a long day, then organize towards (and not against) that fact of your life. Perhaps you could find an old tea set that you can place on a dresser to organize this jewelry without having to put it out of sight at night. One cup can be for necklaces and another for earrings. This way your room is styled to match your organizational needs. You can design and organize your room to be everything that you need and everything that you want.
- Bathroom Organization. The key to organizing your bathroom is determining how often you use the items in it. You want to create three categories in the bathroom: used daily, used weekly, and used monthly. As you organize your bathroom, you want to be mindful of these uses. Much like the organization of the garage, you want to store items so that the accessibility of them is directly relational to the frequency of use.
Items stored in drawers should be used more frequently than items stored at the back of a cabinet. Having a system of organization through spring cleaning will improve the likelihood that the organization of the bathroom will last many seasons.
- Kitchen Organization. You want to organize your kitchen cabinets in the same way you organized other parts of the home. Identify what it the most used items and store them so that they are accessible to the part of the kitchen most relevant to them. (Your kitchen probably already does this…but you always want to go back and make sure that it cannot be done better.) You also want to design your kitchen around your needs in it. If your family eats toast for breakfast every day, then perhaps you want to invest in a toaster that matches the décor of the room so that you can leave it on the counter all day.
If you are not avid coffee drinkers, then perhaps the coffeemaker can find a home in a cabinet instead of taking up prime real estate on a counter. As you are spring cleaning your kitchen, be honest about how frequently you use particular items. If a juicer is something that only gets used on special occasions (even though you have been meaning to start that juice fast for months), then perhaps it can go in a location with accessibility which reflects that usage. Your kitchen will only stay as organized as you are willing to be honest and discerning about your uses of the space.
A house with a plan for home organization is one that is easily maintained. And removing the clutter from your home, can make the cleaning of spring cleaning considerably easier.
Stay tuned for the second week in March for Part 2 – Cleaning Tips.