Yes, spring is here in California, unlike many parts of the country where it is cold and winter-like. Spring lasts, this year from Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 - Thursday, June 21st, 2018. If you ever wondered why spring is associated with cleaning wiki has a good explanation. The article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_cleaning explains the history spring cleaning. Also there is a checklist approach to cleaning from Martha Stewart that you will really admire, at http://images.marthastewart.com/images/content/web/pdfs/2007Q2/la_0407_spring_cleaning.pdf.
My personal take on why spring is a cleaning time, is because we, like animals, tend to hibernate all winter and then when spring arrives we have more energy. It is that simple. More energy, more motivation, and more cleaning gets accomplished. During cold, gloomy, wet and snowy weather our time in the sun declines leaving us with decreased energy and motivation. During autumn and winter season we are fraught with a very hectic holiday season and run on low energy. 'Tis the season starts with Halloween, then Thanksgiving, Christmas and the finale of New Year's Eve. Winter is a time to rest and get renewed, but generally we are running around like a "chicken without a head".
Spring, should bring relief from all the holiday chaos you've been through, and the "spring break" will usually do the trick. Hopefully by now you are feeling refreshed and ready to refresh your home and or business space.
So where do you start for a thorough spring cleaning? The first step is to clear all items clogging up your space with a good de-cluttering session. But take caution and take your time making good decisions about what stays and what goes. Being too hasty can mean keeping things that don't work out and parting with items that could be reinvented and just superb if figured out. Also there may be a lot of "dust bunnies" on surfaces, drapes, and the floor. Be sure to have the proper tools, and a dust mask to protect your lungs.
Here are the 8 grand steps to an organized lifestyle
1.Take a good look at your inventory of clothing, shoes, purses, scarves, socks, hats, gloves, belts, underwear, and jewelry accessories. Figure out what you have not worn for the past year and either donate or gift.
2.Toss items with holes, buttons missing or torn and tattered into your rag pool.
Donate clothing that washes you out, unflattering patterns, outdated clothing, shoes and accessories or items that don’t fit. A good friend can be an objective eye for choosing colors and styles that compliment you. Identify items that are taking up your precious space and see what is purposeful, useful and that you love, while making good decisions about what to part with. Items that are not being used or that aren't purposeful can’t afford the rent in your closet. People tend to buy new clothing every season, and this closet cleansing will make way for the new duds.
3.Next, look through your cabinets, closets, garage and clear out all the objects that you have not used, that are not working, and that are obsolete. Sort the items by category and then decide where they are going. Don't put items away until you have all like items, from the entire home, with like items. You choose the space for categories based on how many of each category you have and then find a drawer, cabinet, closet or space where all kept items will be contained well. If you have not used something in the past year you probably never will, and so give it to charity, a neighbor, recycling or creative friends who can re-purpose it. Your goal is to not have anything go to the dumps.
4. Identify objects with no use or purpose. If you are a person that stocks up on laundry items, toiletries and food, stop it. Unless you have oodles of space just sitting around for you to warehouse stuff buying in bulk is not smart for small spaces. Get rid of anything that is toxic, unhealthy and just plain old ugly but in a "green way". Google how to dispose in a green way, and find resources for disposal and re-purposing unused items. Dispose paint and toxic products and e-waste properly. You can look on http://earth911.com to see where to dispose in your area.
5. The next place to de-clutter is the kitchen.
Get rid of any pans or pots with a coating of any kind, and or that are aluminum, scratched or dinged. Check out this article on pans to keep and pans to let go of at http://eartheasy.com/blog/2009/01/healthy-cookware. Pare down all your gadgets and tools you have two or more of, and weed out what you do not use and or will never use. If you have three sets of plastic mixing bowls, and realize you only want one, unless you plan to go into catering donate the others. If you have 50 wine glasses, and rarely entertain large groups, pare down to 12. Ask yourself what is the point of an overstocked kitchen with 20 knives, if you are not the Barefoot Contessa. Even Ina Garten lives with one set of dishes and two different sets of pots and pans. She uses my favorite All-Clad and Le Crueset. People collect kitchen tools thinking they will master cooking, like the TV chefs. It is not the tools, but the time, effort and creativity that make you a great chef. http://www.i-deal-lifestyle.com/1/post/2011/07/how-kitchen-organization-makes-a-great-chef.html
6. Next clean everything out of your furniture, drawers and under your bed (bad Feng Shui to have ANY items under your bed), and again weed out stuff that is not being used and or will not serve a purpose. Sort items by category, like with like, to see how much of everything you own, and then consider what items are lonely, abandoned and not utilized. Find a new contained home for everything you keep by how often you use it. Learn more about Feng Shui at www.fengshuiorangecounty.com in order to place your decor items in a special way, to increase harmony and well-being.
7. Bathrooms are a great place to get organized. It makes getting ready in the morning easier, and it soothing and calming to have an organized bathroom. Go through and categorize hair with hair, teeth with teeth, nails with nails and all like products together. See what you are using or not using ever. You many have stocked up on soaps from every hotel you ever stayed in, on-sale products, hair products, every hair clip or brush imaginable. You will realize there are nail polish colors you will never wear, and creams, potions and lotions that you will never smear on yourself. Look at the products to see if they are safe for your body, Some have hydrogenated and or mineral oils in them which cause cancer. Some products may be dated.
8. After decluttering you are ready to actually clean. If you do not know how to clean, hire someone who does, or get a referral. Cleaning is cleaning is cleaning! First you dust with wet cloth and dry cloth, not a feather duster, since it just spreads the dust around, then vacuum everywhere, even under and behind furniture, then sanitize kitchen and bathrooms, then clean the walls, fixtures, and floors. It is not rocket science just manual labor. Be sure to use non-toxic cleansers and green products, like white vinegar, lemon juice and just plain old soap and water.
Now take a deep breath and welcome the beauty of spring into your ideal lifestyle.
Marla Stone, MSW, Professional Organizer will help you get your life, space and self organized with great techniques and a team effort
Call 949-709-7000 for a free 30 minute get organized consultation now!
Marla earned her BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work and is the founder of I-Deal-Lifestyle, a Self and Space Organization Service.