Monday, April 16, 2012

Top 5 Tips for Spring Cleaning and Clutter Clearing

I met my guest blogger, Shannon McGinnis, at the recent conference for the National Association of Professional Organizers.  Because even Professional Organizers need someone to keep us on track for achieving our goals, Shannon and I have become Accountability Partners for each other.  In the beginning, I wasn't sure to what to expect from this but I am excited to say I am much more productive knowing that someone is tracking me and cheering me on.  I heartily recommend this idea.
Welcome to Room-inations, Shannon!       -Melanie

Top 5 Tips for Spring Cleaning and Clutter Clearing

  -by Shannon McGinnis, CPO®
Yes, spring is here, the flowers are blooming, the weather is warmer; its time to open the windows and clear out the house.  Here are 5 quick tips for maximizing your time and effort. By implementing these tidy tips, you will
enjoy a renewed sense of beauty and appreciation in your home.

1.  Choose 1 area per day to focus on.
To be most effective with your time and energy, you need to pick 1 area that you are going to clean and organize.  You may want to start with an area that¹s relatively easy, not too much clutter and gets cleaned on a regular basis. 

The living room might be a good first choice.  Another strategy might be to pick an area that you want to really change, like a clothes closet, in which the winter sweaters and boots get packed when the shorts and t-shirts come out. Once you have selected your area, just focus there and try not to get distracted.  You can also set a timer and challenge yourself to get the entire area done in an hour. 

2.  While in that particular area, remove what doesn¹t belong there. 
Wherever you have chosen to start your spring-cleaning, there are probably some papers, clothes, or other items that don¹t belong in that space. Remember, less clutter means less to dust or look at all the time.

If you want to keep whatever you have found that doesn¹t belong in the particular area you are organizing, relocate the item to its proper home. Just remember to quickly come back to the area you are cleaning.  If you no longer want an item, consider whether it can be either donated or recycled.  Donations are a wonderful way to offer to others what you no longer want.

If you are organizing a closet, consider donating whatever you haven¹t used in a year.  How many sheets or towels do you actually use on a regular basis?  Do you still have clothes that you haven¹t worn in the last year? 
Why not give away the things that you don¹t use?

3.  Clean this area thoroughly.
Once you have only the items to be kept in this area, now you can clean thoroughly, using the proper tools, environmentally friendly cleaning solutions, and a strong motivation to transform your space.  Do you want to
see your closet floors again?  Have the stove shine? Remove the piles from the floor so that you can move the furniture for a thorough vacuuming?

4.  Be sure to make this process fun!
Open up the doors and windows, play upbeat music, and dance while you are cleaning and organizing.  You could also invite friends or family to help you.  Give everyone a task and see how quickly your home is transformed.  Even kids want to help, so have them shake out the throw rugs and vacuum the corners!

5.  Rejoice at your newly cleaned and organized home!
Once you have completed 1 area, celebrate! Then, repeat steps one through four.  Rejoice at how much you have accomplished and reward yourself with time to play outside and do something fun or buy a bouquet of spring flowers to decorate your freshly transformed space. Being in your home will really feel great after you spring clean and organize it!

Shannon McGinnis is a Certified Professional Organizer and the founder of Organized 4 Success, Inc. She has written two instructional organizing books filled with tips for your home and office. If you enjoyed this article, you
will love her book, The 10-Minute Tidy: 108 Ways to Organize Your Home  Quickly. Purchase a book or download one now: <>.

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