5 Tips for Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning Tips

May 15, 2018

Some people dread cleaning, some people look forward to it and plan dates around it. Either way, it's necessary to clean up, otherwise you may end up on a TV show where everyone can see how much you have "let things go". I like to plan it, but I don't like to get into all the work of actually cleaning! How can we make it easier on ourselves to get motivated to do the spring cleaning? Here are 5 helpful tips to guide you through the process.

1. Make a plan

Like any strategy from sports, to hostile take-overs, there is a strategy, a plan. What week will you do what? Make a list. Then make a list of the supplies you may need. Garbage bags for trash, boxes for donations and yard sale items. Get supplies during the work week before you jump into your project. This will also get you more in the mood for the task coming up. Picture what it will look like when finished. Clean. Organized. Plan out how you want to get this all done leading up to a garage sale. Mark the calendar with the garage sale being the date you need to be ready. This might keep you on task and motivated to get through all the stuff you have around the house.

2. Take your time, do it right!

It's not just the title of a song, it's really to help you understand by taking your time and giving yourself the freedom to finish something is ok. On the flipside to that, it should not take you a year and a half to clean out your garage. Break the projects up over a few weeks. Start with one room, and work your way through the house. At my house, we start in the back room which is the girls bathroom. We will tackle this, then make the girls go through their rooms, and before you know if one half of the house is finished. Here is the issue. That may take the entire weekend. Sometimes it's like opening Pandora's box, and one project leads to another. If this starts happening, make a list. Write it down on a piece of paper and tape it to the door of that room. Keep to the task at hand, then go back for the other things you discover. You may be cleaning a room and discovered in the closet a ton of items you can sell at a garage sale, then you get into a project for the garage sale. Instead, write down that idea on the list, set the items in a box and move them out of the way. Come back to it later. This will help you keep on task, and then allow you the proper time to work on the next task on the list when you can dedicate time to the project.

3. Divide & Conquer

Break up tasks per person. Pick the jobs you want to do, do them together an hold each accountable. Help when needed. Like I was saying, I will let the girls tackle their rooms, and I will help them when they need the help. I can also make suggestions, but I also remember it is their room and their space. I remember my room growing up, and it was my space in the house where I could do my own thing. I try to tell them how it will feel to have a clean room with space to have for other things. Do you really still need the Disney castle on the top shelf in your closet? Probably not, so let's figure out what best for that item. Keep and display it? Store it because almost anything Disney is worth something in years? Donate to a younger family member? Donate to a charity? Sell it on-line? Sell it at the yard sale? We have this habit on our house where we SAY we are going to sell on E-Bay, or Offer Up...it never happens. In fact, I have a mannequin in the dining room for such a purpose and I don't think it has seen a stich of clothes on it yet. It been almost 2 years now. So there's that. If you're going to do it, commit to it and do it. Simple, yet hard. 

4. Purge

You HAVE to get rid of stuff. If it burned to the ground, would you miss it? Can you sell it and make money? Can it go to a vacation fund? Wouldn't it be neat to sell a bunch of stuff than go on a vacation with the money you earned selling it? Are you sentimental? Take a picture of it and save it. That letterman jacket will never fit you again. Get rid of it! If you saved it, and passed it down, what would your kids do with it? How important is it? Documents, pictures- yes. I have not one, but TWO storage units off site from my house. Now, one is primarily for my Grandmother's items from when we moved her, but the premise is the same. If you have it locked away, not to see it and not to use it for a very long period of time, why do you have it. This is a tough question. Only YOU have the right answer for that. What you cherish, others may not see it your way and dismiss your feelings. I had heard the suggestion of taking pictures of the items. You can see them whenever you want. The pictures will allow you to relive them memory of your items without being locked away in a storage unit. So my issue is how much crap I have in storage! One box at a time. That's it. One box at a time. Bring it home with the intention of never putting it back in storage. Item by item in the box. Save it. Sell it. Store it. Try not to do the last one. I have this awesome Old Style Beer sign in a box in my garage. It's been in that box for YEARS! Stored in my parents basement, then sent here to be in storage, then in my garage. Where it sits. For the past 6 years. See my point?!

5. Sell & Donate

How about making some money off this stuff? Remember, you are NEVER going to get what you paid for it. Not even close. "Well I paid $500 for that dining set!" Yes you did, but unless you own a furniture store, you will not get retail prices for it. So with that mindset, prepare yourself to sell your items for pennies on the dollar. OR, you can try to sell your items on-line. If you feel your DVD collection will get more money on-line- then check out E-Bay, or apps like Letgo and Offer-Up or even the Facebook Marketplace. Maybe take your DVD's to Zia Records and get what you can there. Here is the dilemma. Are you going to put in the time and effort to do all that? Then that project sits on the dining room table or in the garage not to be dealt with. You are back to square one. We will take our DVD's to Children's Hospital for the kids to watch. Anything that can help a cause or organization, make a donation and keep your receipt for tax time. Take that old suitcase, stuff it with the clothes and shoes you would try to sell at your garage sale and drop it off at a shelter. Help someone out. Have fun with this. Not only will you feel good about helping someone out,  but you will have helped yourself out by making room.

Spring cleaning can be a great thing! Plan your garage sale. (that's another blog on it's own. Maybe a follow up) Make some money, clean out the junk. Enjoy your new space!

You know what? I'll do that next week.