Spring Cleaning

Dear Readers,


Alright, it may actually be kinda summer already. Who can keep track anymore??

Spring rushed in...and out...and in again this year, which is both exciting and terrifying in my opinion.   (The sky is falling! The sky is falling!)  Either way, it reminds us that the year is speeding right along, and so we should take some time to prepare for summer, to clean out our lives, to remove any burdens holding us down from enjoying the warmer weather.

You may notice I've already begun spring cleaning my blog!  To lighten up a bit, I'm toying with new colors, new backgrounds, a new section on the bottom, and new "pages" for food and fitness roundups!  I would love your thoughts, suggestions, and comments.  I'm not saying you should judge a blog by its cover, but it's important to me that you like the look of what you're reading :)

So let's talk about cleaning up.  This doesn't just mean your home; spring cleaning can apply to your house, your body, your work life, your mental clutter.  It can be overwhelming, but baby steps make it so much simpler than you realize.

Let's start today with the HOME.

This is the most obvious part of "spring cleaning," and the one that likely gets the most press and attention.  It's also essential not only so that your house looks nice for guests, but a clean, organized home really improves your own peace of mind, too.  As Gretchen Rubin explains about making the bed: "Outer order contributes to inner calm."  So true.  So Make your Bed!!

I say, do one thing at a time.  Unless you're on some kind of vacation and have a week or longer to tear apart your entire home (which would be faaabulous!), then better to keep your tasks simple and focused.  Start with a single closet.  One kitchen cabinet.  A messy junk drawer.  You'll soon realize how refreshing it is to open that closet/cabinet/drawer once everything is in its place and tangential items are no longer wasting space.  Plus, as Gretchen Rubin also points out in her book The Happiness Project , "By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished."

Earlier in April, I began this process, just one little area at a time.  It doesn't need to take longer than an hour or two, depending on the task and how much you are focusing.  You'll get it done in far less time if you are focused rather than multitasking.  You can start with one room, or even one little drawer.  Every little bit makes a difference.

One morning, I emptied the Tupperwear cabinet.

Match every item to a lid.  Label pairs (and identical pairs!) with a letter or number, so it's easy to match later.  Don't be fooled by look-a-likes or lids of similar sizes.  If there is an unmatched item, recycle it.  Do not let it waste space or, worse, your time spent looking for its partner.

Even made room for my ice cream machine!
(I forgot to photograph the 'before', but trust me--this is a vast improvement.)

One afternoon, I tacked the spice cabinet.

Cooking, simplified. 

Take everything off the shelf or rack or out of the drawer.  Toss anything that you don't even remember buying (like those exotic spice blends that may be more than a decade old) and don't foresee using (since you haven't noticed it in the back of the cabinet for so many years).  Look for duplicates of the same items, and store the "extras" in the top shelf or a special place in your kitchen where you can go when you are out of the spice.  Keep the spices you use most regularly right in front for easy access.

I have to say, the spice cabinet overhaul had the most amazing results.  It was SO easy to grab what I needed after, without having to search.  Do it.  I dare you.

In shifting and moving things around the spice cabinet, the PANTRY also got a head-to-toe organizational makeover:

Look at all that space! Wheeee.

One evening, I tore through my bedroom closet.

This is always a work in progress for me, but I was quite pleased with how it turned out.  I re-arranged the clothing which was refreshing for change's sake alone, but also proved functional.  (I switched from long-sleeves on top and short-sleeves on bottom, to full shirts on bottom and zip-ups/button-downs/vests/cardigans/etc. on top.  I tried on things that I haven't worn in too long, and if it didn't fit at all, it went into a donation bag.

You can also do similar clean-outs for other closets, cabinets, even the 'junk drawer' in any given room.  Just take an hour to dump it out, separate what's useful and what's not, and remove the rest. It feels SO good after!  I'm still working on cleaning everything out, one area at a time, keeping, tossing, etc.  It's weird, but I actually enjoy it once I'm doing it.  Just get started, and think about how nice it will be to have extra space in that closet, to see the color of the floor, or to actually have an empty shelf or drawer.

For more tips and tricks for spring cleaning your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and more, check out my Spring Cleaning Pinterest Board!  I'm an organizational queen, but have a lot to learn regarding the disinfecting part.  For that reason, I've been collecting some useful checklists, tips, and ideas on Pinterest for really cleansing and refreshing your entire home.

So pick a room, an area, a single shelf, and get organizing!  You'll feel so much better after.  I dare you!

What part of your home tends to get the messiest?  
How do you deal with cleaning--baby steps or all at once?
Do you find that organization improves productivity? 

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