While most aspects of spring are revitalizing, homeowners may find themselves dreading that inevitable spring cleaning.  But tidying up for warmer months doesn’t have to be hard – just look at it as a way to allow your home to breathe.

“The snow is melting away, and the grass is green,” says professional organizer, Nancy McKinney, owner of S.O.S. Solutions, Madison, WI. “It’s just nice to get rid of that extra dust, open the windows, and feel refreshed in your house.”

Breathe in that fresh spring air and follow these expert tips to get your spring cleaning done right; you may never have to gear up for a massive home cleaning again.

RedCircleWithNumberStart with a purge splurge

“Many of us live with items we don’t like and never use that just clutter our homes,” says Annette Besaw, owner of Design Matters, South Burlington, VT. “When you give the items you absolutely love space to breathe, that is when you can finally see and enjoy them.”

But parting with items is a struggle for many.  To decide what stays and goes, Besaw says to honestly answer the following questions:

  • Have I used this item in the last six months? “Excluding holiday decorations, if you haven’t used an item for half a year, chances are you don’t need it,” Besaw says.
  • Do I love it? Do I even like it? “We all have too many excuses to hold on to things – it was a gift, it was expensive, it was my family’s,” she says.  But if disaster struck and you lost all your belongings, would you repurchase it?  “If you wouldn’t, then maybe it is time to say goodbye,” she says.
  • Is it worth the space it takes up? “Figure out what your home costs per square foot each year,” Besaw says. “Now, when you look at an item, ask yourself if the item is worth the space it sits on.”

Once you’ve recycled, donated, or tossed all of your “no” items, you’ll have already conquered a huge part of your task, and the rest of your spring cleaning will be a much lighter load.

RedCircleWithNumberGear up

Before you start scrubbing sinks and polishing wood, make sure your home is stocked up with all necessary cleaning supplies, McKinney says.  “Make sure you’re prepared. If you want to wax the floor, make sure you actually have the wax.”

RedCircleWithNumberClear out cabinets

Shannon Bartley, ASID, interior designer for Rembrandt Interiors, Ferndale, MI, says even after a major purge, cabinets and drawers often get left behind.  “People tend to shove their items out of sight, out of mind,” she says.

Bartley recommends wiping out every drawer and cabinet to ensure you’re truly looking at each item they hold.  And don’t forget the pantry.  “I make a note if an item is going to expire within the month. Take everything out of that deep pantry and deep cabinet.  Wipe it out and put everything back in.”  And remember: Prescriptions and other medications expire, just like food.

RedCircleWithNumberDitch old clothing

Parting with old clothes is one of the biggest challenges homeowners face, especially those who aim to lose weight.  But owning clothing in four different sizes is a bit excessive. “If people really truly believe they’re going to lose weight, then keep a size up and a size down,” Bartley says.

As for the rest of your closet, Bartley offers a helpful hint to figure out what needs to go.  “Turn all of your hangers one way, so the hook of each hanger is facing the same way.  After you’ve worn an item, turn the hanger the other way,” she says. “Then, in six months or a year, look at what you’ve worn.”  If an item hasn’t been used, you know what to do.

RedCircleWithNumberMake it a family affair

“Spring cleaning your home can be fun and can bring a family together,” Besaw says.  Put on some music and get your family together so you can all appreciate the work it takes to keep a clean home.  Afterward, do something fun to celebrate. “Come up with an activity you all love to do as a reward for getting it all done.”

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