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Five rooms to 'Spring' into cleaning

With the onset of Spring, there's only one thing to do now- clean. Okay, so maybe there's more than one thing to do... but if you're anything like me, decluttering in the Spring absolutely helps me enjoy my space and bask in the sun come summer.


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As I look around my own living room, I see the clutter that has accumulated since last fall- stacks of papers we've ignored, Christmas toys that still don't have a home, and all of the other piles we've let grow. Honestly, they're taking up more mental space than they are physical space and that's space I don't have to spare as I'm guessing you don't either.


My best piece of advice? Break your list into five different rooms.


Breaking your list into more manageable bites will no doubt help.

 

Where You Eat


Every kitchen has a junk drawer and why is this? Because everyone has random...well, junk... that has no real home. So, it gets tossed in a junk drawer because we'll 'deal with it later.'


Today is later, friends.


The disaster that has become an overflowing nightmare that will no longer even fit the random pencils, chip clips, chargers for who knows what device, and lighters that no longer work needs to be addressed. I'm willing to bet that over fifty percent of the drawer can go straight to the trash. But, there's only one way to tell, so dump the contents on the table and start from scratch.


Clear storage solutions are always a huge plus when organizing your kitchen as well. Packages of beans, rice, and more can get lost in the shuffle standing alone on a shelf. However, when placed in clear containers, not only will your foods stay better organized but you will be able to see them, leading to less waste and, just as important, less digging through the cupboards.


Another way to reduce clutter in the kitchen is going through the pantry to check expiration dates. But if you feel guilty throwing too much away, it may be alright to give expired items a second chance.


The Food Network offers up a few ideas of products we can hold onto after (sometimes well after) the expiration date, including cake mixes, canned goods, and even eggs. Many sources also point out that expiration dates frequently refer to a date at which time the product loses flavor or potency, meaning they are perfectly safe for human consumption post-date.


Side note- did you know honey never expires? It can become cloudy or crystalize after a certain period of time depending on how it's been stored, but it's still good- and quite tasty!

 

Where You Sleep


Bedrooms are notorious for clutter. Clothing items seem to pile themselves all over the room for various reasons. Maybe it's a pile of clean laundry that you just didn't have time to put away or an item that needs to be repaired or donated.

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Did you know the average load of laundry only takes about 90 minutes but an average of two days to put away? (**these statistics are confirmed merely through personal experience with absolutely no scientific backing...).


One simple solution, and I use the word 'simple' very lightly here, is to go through your closet and dresser drawers and remove all clothing you haven't worn in six months or more. Are you really going to wear the sweater you got for Christmas three years ago? The thought was nice... but it's not doing you any favors sitting in your closet staring at you every time you choose a different sweater over that one. Cut the cord on the guilt and pass the item on to a new owner.


The chore of cleaning out a closet is daunting, I get it. But, it's necessary. A few months back, when writing an article on capsule closets, I removed literally everything from my closet. Every drawer was emptied and all hangers were set aside. Then I painstakingly went through each item individually. Did it fit? When did I wear it last? And, emotional attachment aside, could I see myself wearing the item at least once a week? These three simple questions helped me eliminate over 80% of my clothing. Bonus: I sold several items, making some side cash along my cleaning journey!


Still not able to detach yourself from that Christmas sweater? Turn every hanger in your closet backward. When you wear an item, rotate the hanger. Then, at the end of six months, take all of the items still on backward-facing hangers and get rid of them- or at minimum evaluate if they're really worth keeping.


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Where You Enter


Step outside your main door- the one you use most frequently. Take a deep breath, clear your head, and walk back into your home. What do you see? What would a guest see? Does your first impression need improvement?


The entryway or mudroom is most often where we dump bags, coats, shoes, and more as soon as we enter come home. Taking the time to organize this space will create a huge sigh of relief as we create organization among the potential chaos.


Check out Better Homes and Gardens' for seven easy ways to create a functional and beautiful storage space for all the items we will continue to drop off as we walk in the door.

 

Where You Live


Clutter makes it difficult to relax. This isn't a science; I'm sure you feel it as soon as you kick your feet up at the end of a long day and sink into your favorite living room chair.

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The excessive amount of throw pillows must go.


This is a current, and modern, reality. The trend of simplicity is upon us and decorative pillows are no exception to the rule. Instead of having several pillows pulling in the color combinations you love, opt instead for one or two pillows. Think minimalism.


While we're on the topic of sofas, consider moving your blankets to a decorative basket close by. They're still right there when you need them but keeping your couch free of unnecessary clutter.


Have a coffee table that primarily serves as a home for magazines and books? Go through and get rid of or store old magazines. Throw out old catalogs as well. Chances are if you haven't ordered anything yet you really don't need it...


A great storage solution for magazines you do want to keep is- you guessed it- another basket. However, magazine holders can be decorative as well and help keep the ones you just can't let go together as well as wrinkle-free. Place this on an end table of bookshelf as a functional component of your decor.

 

Where You Start Your Day


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Our bathrooms have a tendency to compile what I'll call secret clutter. The two primary, moderately hidden, culprits include expired medications and past-their-prime makeup products.


Medications do indeed have expiration dates just as food does. These expiration dates more often than not simply refer to the time at which the medication loses its potency, but the last thing you want to do is put old eyedrops in an already irritated eye on the chance that you may have some sort of reaction to the two-year postdated med. Toss it in the trash and start fresh with medications you know have full potency. After all, this is really what you want. Who wants a headache pill that might do the job. Not you.


Disposing of prescription medications should be done appropriately. Many towns have prescription disposal sites where your meds should be disposed of. It is not advised to simply toss them in the trash and definitely don't flush them down the toilet. Look into your local options and 'trash' the items appropriately.


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Speaking of expiration dates, makeup expires as well.


Certain products can last up to two years but others can expire in as little as a few months. Because each brand is unique and how you store your products varies, it's best to do a little research beforehand, but I wouldn't recommend applying three-year-old eyeshadow.



 

Well, there you have it- FIVE rooms to start your Spring cleaning journey.


READY to begin? Let's do this.


Still overwhelmed? 'How do we eat an elephant?' my husband would ask. One bite at a time.


 


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