Along with warmer weather and blooming flowers, cleaning is another thing that defines springtime. With more than 75% of the United States population participating in some form of spring cleaning each year, according a 2018 study done by the American Cleaning Institute, t’s become a tradition to kick off the warmer months with an organized home.
Homeowners might find this task intimidating, as there could be multiple rooms that need to be cleaned and organized, but professional organizers offer some tips to make the job easier.
When it comes to a daunting project such as spring cleaning, getting started could be the most difficult part, said Brian Yetwin, owner of Get Organized LA. “A little bit each day is better than nothing,” Yetwin said. “Whether someone decides to sort it one room at a time, or one task at a time, as long as they follow through until it’s complete, that’s what will eventually get the area cleaned up.”
The best way to begin a substantial cleaning project, Yetwin said, is to sort items into piles. Beginning the cleanup in this way can make it easier to manage, and people will have the ability to see what they have, what they want and what they need.
“A shocking amount of people don’t even know what they have,” Yetwin said. “I think it’s because of online shopping. They see sales and don’t even realize they already have that item. Then you end up with 10 pairs of scissors.”
When it comes to getting rid of items, donation might be the best route, but only if the item is in good condition and can be used by others. Yetwin’s rule of thumb when deciding to donate or throw away items is to ask yourself, “Would I buy that If I saw it?”
Some research beforehand can also help decide whether something should be donated or not. Many local organizations accept donations of specific items, such as e-waste, and can be repurposed then resold at a discounted price.
Another hurdle of cleaning project is letting go of nostalgic items. He’s always asked about what to do with sentimental pieces that will never be used again, such as a wedding dress, Yetwin said.
“The tricky thing is items like wedding dresses — something only worn for one day and then takes up space, but is also hard to get rid of,” Yetwin said. “There are places and people who can take that dress, or other sentimental pieces, and transform them into artwork. That’s something that can still have that nostalgic, sentimental feeling but takes up much less space.”
Yetwin suggests bringing another person to help with nostalgic items. Whether it be a friend of family, having someone to assist can make it easier to decide if items are worth keeping.
When it comes to organizing, the kitchen might be the room which needs it the most, said Jamie Paye, owner of Mo & Me Clutter Free.
“Not only do people have a lot of things and appliances in the kitchen, you also have food,” Paye said. “First step is to look through the fridge, freezer and pantries and throw away all the old food. That will help people getting into the cleaning mode.”
Paye said while going through the kitchen, people should think practically and decide if appliances are used or just taking up space.
Once all old food and unused or broken appliances are disposed of, organizing the kitchen is important. Paye suggests using containers and labels to “give things a home,” especially in the refrigerator and freezer, as it will keep items organized and easily accessible.
“Now that everyone has reusable grocery bags, they take up a lot of space and are hard to organize,” Paye said. “Give everything a container, bags, spices, cleaning products, and that can help make the kitchen look and feel more organized.”
Now that the kitchen is organized, keeping it organized is another task, Paye said. She added people buy groceries unnecessarily. Buying items weekly or keeping a list of what is already in the kitchen can prevent duplicate purchases.
It can be easy to get caught up with making things look “perfect,” Yetwin said. But the main goal should be to make things organized, not perfect.
“When people dive into organizing, they think of Marie Kondo or the magazines and social media accounts that have everything look so perfect and staged,” Yetwin said. “But that only looks good for the first 72 hours. It’s not practical. It doesn’t matter what things look like, as long as you’re able to find them.”
Many people might find things hard to get rid of, but using the “one in, one out” method can help keep houses clean in the long run. If an item is purchased to replace an old one, either donate or dispose of the old one.
“Focus on what is gained,” Yetwin said. “Don’t dwell on what is being thrown away, think about what is being gained, whether that be clarity, space, new things, and stick to a daily routine. It’s easy to talk yourself out of starting but once you do, you get the momentum going and it can become cathartic.”
Mo & Me can be reached by calling (970) 218-5691 or emailing [email protected]. Get Organized LA is located at 347 N. Pass Ave, Burbank, and can be reached at (734) 945-1661.