Spring Cleaning Tips & Tricks

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Here are 4 easy steps to reclaim your home from clutter and disorganization during spring cleaning season:
Amid the endless piles of laundry, dishes, forgotten bills, and overdue library books, you have a house. A house you would desperately love to show off with pride. It probably makes you anxious to even think about how to get this mess organized. You may feel your only hope now lies in the chance that one of your horrified relatives will recommend you for a cable show home makeover. While you are waiting for that lightning bolt to strike, let’s instead try some simple steps to help you make your home into a place that allows cleaning and organization to be easily achievable.

Step 1: Analysis of Areas

Grab a spiral notebook and a pencil. Take a few minutes and mentally survey each room. In your notebook, jot down the problem areas in the room, putting one problem on a page. You will need the rest of the space on that same page for the following steps. The items on the paper should be parts of the room that really bug you, or that your family finds impossible to keep neat.

2: Analysis of Reasons

For each of the problem areas in a room, figure out why the disorganization and mess is happening. I find this is most easily done if you are actually in the room you are surveying. All answers are acceptable here, including the fact that you live with slobs. Usually there is more than one reason why an area of your home is continually unorganized.

Step 3: Solutions

Now comes the fun part. Let’s find ways we can fix the problems. Think about habits, behaviors, and tools that can make those messes disappear. Do you need some sort of a tool for organization to help your problem? Is the problem a habit that just needs to be enforced and practiced? Is it a combination of containers or tools and habits that need to be changed? Many of the problems you will encounter will require organizational tools and behavioral changes. Keep in mind that the best organizing system of shelves, hooks, and labels does no good if it isn’t utilized.

Step 4: Implementation

Begin by making a list of the tools needed from your lists of solutions (Step 3). Buy the tools that you need and set them up in their new home. Again: organizational tools will not help if you do not use them! You must also start to implement the behavior changes associated with keeping the mess clean.

Keep yourself and your family honest by reviewing the room with your list in hand once a day. It may be best to do this at the same time each day. If it was done right before dinner, the family could then discuss problems or successes over the meal.

If you have substantially more work to do, do not expect that you will be able to instantly achieve the changes that you desire, especially if your solutions involved hundreds of dollars of organizing equipment. It may be necessary for you to pick one room at a time to overhaul. Follow the same steps for the overachievers above who are already almost perfect. If you have a lot to do in one room you may have to set aside a Saturday to put together and install shelves, racks, etc. Try to involve your family as much as possible. Add other rooms and areas of your home as you see how you and your family maintain the ones that you have begun. If you are diligent there may actually be a day when someone says, “Have you seen my…” and you will be able to answer, Yes!”

Happy spring cleaning!