Spring has arrived so that means … yep, you guessed it: it’s time to get organized, de-clutter and do some annual spring cleaning.
Take a look around your house. This is a good time of year, with the weather warming up and the kids out of school for spring break, to get some once-a-year cleaning jobs done and get your kids to help!
Consider the following jobs:
Clean out your closets. The rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing for one year – meaning it’s gone through each season unworn – then it’s time to get rid of it. Old clothes can go to a consignment store or a charity such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Most articles of clothing over five years old are now out of style anyway. Have your kids do the same and go through their closets. Kids grow fast and outgrow clothing within months. There’s a very good chance that the clothes they wore last spring won’t fit them for one more spring. Also ask your children to donate old toys to charity.
Clean out bookshelves. Make space for new books. Donate unwanted books to your city library (both Temecula and Murrieta’s public libraries have used book stores and accept donations of gently used books), and donate kids’ books that the children have outgrown to their schools for the school library or classrooms. Or, sell your used books online on www.Cash4Books.net.
Clean your outdoor spaces. Moving forward, you’ll be spending more time outside. Clean your front and back porches by sweeping for cobwebs and debris, treat mildew spots with a solution of one part oxygen bleach to three parts water using a deck brush, and wash off fixtures. Wash outdoor furniture including aluminum, plastic, wood and wicker with a solution of mild dishwashing liquid and water and use a soft-bristle brush.
Vacuum and shampoo your rugs and carpets. You can either do this yourself with rented equipment or call a carpet-cleaning company. Either way, get the dust, pet hair, dirt and grime from winter’s muddy shoes out of your rugs.
Wash window screens. Using warm water and a mild dish-washing liquid, scrub each screen with a brush and rinse thoroughly.
Take stock of the refrigerator and freezer. Empty out all the food. Check the expiration dates on foods and dump anything that’s been in the freezer so long that ice is growing on it. Dump any food items, fresh or in a jar, that has been around too long or that is beginning to look like a science project. Before you put everything back, clean the inside of the fridge by wiping out the interior shelves.
Feeling overwhelmed? If you need help organizing your home office or finding a system to de-clutter your house and keep it free of clutter, hire a professional organizer. Find an organizer in your area by using the search-by-zip code directory on the website of the non-profit National Association of Professional Organizers.
Nanci McGraw, a professional organizer, author and motivational speaker who lives in Wildomar, works with clients all over the Inland Empire and San Diego County. When asked why someone would hire a professional organizer, she said, “They have too much, they’ve kept it too long, they have boxes they haven’t put away, they don’t want to do it, they have procrastinated for too long. The reason you hire someone is you need a professional that will help you. You know you can’t do it by yourself. You don’t know where to start. You can’t get through it and a professional is the way it happens. They need Nancy in their house, working side-by-side.”
McGraw, who has been a professional organizer for more than 15 years, said she is discreet and can help people organize clutter, troubleshoot problems and get over the reasons for being so disorganized. Visit www.nanci.org to learn more.
Amy Bentley is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.