Does the idea of spring cleaning fill you with dread? Does the thought of digging through your clutter make you wish for another six weeks of winter?
Even though a clean home feels like a clean slate, and a refreshed space can feel like a fresh start in a season for fresh starts, knowing you’ll feel better when it’s over doesn’t always make it easier to get started.
So, what’s the trick to getting started with your spring cleaning? It’s that – just start!
Here are our top 5 favorite tips to help you feel refreshed vs. overwhelmed by the idea of spring cleaning.
1. WEIGH THE COSTS
First, a perspective shift. In their “The 27 Best Decluttering Tips of All Time,” Apartment Therapy urges you not to “treat your home like a storage unit,” and to recognize that “there’s a cost to keeping something.” Lots of people have a hard time letting go of items that have fallen out of use or changing tastes. But it’s important to look at it this way – holding on to something that no longer serves you comes with other kinds of expenses. Apartment Therapy describes it “like paying mortgage to a storage company,” not to mention what it costs you in time, stress, and the capacity to store what you actually need and makes you happy. So, when you’re eyeing that pile of clutter in the corner that hasn’t moved in months, it’s time to look at that pile as an expense you could shed.
2. BREAK IT DOWN
Overwhelmed? We don’t blame you! No matter the size of your living space, it can be a daunting task to tackle the clutter that has accumulated over the months. And with many of us spending a lot more time in our homes due to the pandemic, perhaps there’s been more accumulation than ever.
Tackle the job by breaking it down room by room. “Create cleaning checklists for each room to help you get organized and to remind you of the areas that need extra attention,” according to The Spruce’s “6 Tips for Successful Spring Cleaning.”
And while you’re at it, prioritize. Give more TLC to the rooms that haven’t gotten the clean sweep in a while.
The Dolly Blog’s Ditch or Donate guide recommends you start in the bedroom. From culling your clothes and shoes, to swapping out your seasonal clothing, to evaluating your mattress and furniture, they say that “the places you sleep should support your efforts to get as much of it as possible, and excess stuff can get in the way of this.” Well, you’re in luck if it’s time to get rid of that mattress or old clothes and shoes – ReStore Oakland is an official drop-off site for the Mattress Recycling Council and USAgain. And if you’re ready to move on from any of your furniture, all three ReStore locations have you covered with multiple ways to make a donation to ReStore.
However you get started, breaking the spring cleaning job into bite-sized pieces can make it feel more manageable and satisfying.
When you’re approaching clutter, categorize it! The Spruce suggests separating clutter into 4 categories: trash (or recycle), give away, store, and put away. Have a box, bag, or pile for each of these categories so that everything has a place to go when you start sorting. The Spruce says to then “move the clutter out as soon as possible, whether it’s bringing a donation box to a charity or planning a yard sale.” Done with an item? See if you can donate it and, if not, look into recycling or reuse options before you head for the dump. Seasonal clothing or décor you want to hold on to? Those don’t need to be handy for months to come, so those should get stored away. That, then, leaves the things you want to keep and can put away in your newly de-cluttered space.
4. TIS THE SEASON
The Spruce says that springtime is the moment to “tackle the seasonal chores.” In addition to cycling out that “winter clothing, bedding, décor, and other items,” it’s also time to take on the outdoor-related stuff as the weather starts to heat up again. This might mean “cleaning the grill, patio, and outsides of windows.”
The Dolly Blog is on board, too, with some advice for going through your garage and basement. They suggest ditching things like old paint (which you can recycle at ReStore Oakland), and donating things like “functional power tools or lawn equipment you no longer need or use,” as well as “lawn and patio furniture” that no longer serve you. Wondering where to go with that? With springtime upon us, ReStore is looking for donations of just that – tools, garden supplies, patio furniture, planters, and potted plants.
5. PUT IT TO THE TEST
We love these suggestions from Apartment Therapy that help you knock back clutter. The first is as simple as a roll of tape. In the kitchen, for instance, you can “set a designated length of time, such as six months or a year, to give you a chance to see what tools you actually use. You’ll know which items pass the test by sticking a piece of washi tape or masking tape to each thing at the start of your experiment. When you use the tool, peel the tape off. At the end of the time, get rid of any unused thing that still has tape on it.”
Try a test like this throughout your home to give yourself a clear visual of what is serving your needs and what isn’t.
Once you’re on the other side of spring cleaning and you’re ready to refresh your home’s décor, furniture, light fixtures, or even appliances, head to you’re local ReStore! Just head into ReStore to see what goodies we’ve got in stock to help you revamp your space.