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Top 10 Spring Cleaning Tips

Declutter First
Do you really need to keep that stuffed, hat-wearing puffer fish souvenir?
Do you really need to keep that stuffed, hat-wearing puffer fish souvenir?

Spring cleaning is kind of a misnomer because it's just about cleaning. If all you do is shuffle piles of stuff to clean around them and then put them back, sure, your stack of VHS tapes is cleaner, but is your living room ambiance really better off for all of your hard work? Before you can clean, you have to declutter and organize. There are lots of ways to go about it, but the easiest is to set up three different bins (or boxes, whatever works): keep, toss and donate/sell.

With each item, ask yourself what this particular thing is doing for you. If the answer is nothing but it's still calling to you, next decide whether you could be happy with just taking a picture of it (I'm thinking of some of those souvenir tchotchkes gathering dust). If you don't even want a picture of the thing, then why is it sitting on your shelf? A common mistake is to let the donate/sell bin stagnate. Make time to deal with those items accordingly so you don't have that staring you in the face in the midst of your otherwise sparkling clean home.

Once you have your "keep" items, think about how you can better organize them. If you're a cooking magazine hoarder (guilty as charged), go through the magazines, pull out the recipes you just have to make and haven't gotten around to yet, and either put them in a binder or scan them in. Recycle the rest. You can find inexpensive baskets and bins in all sizes at thrift stores or dollar stores.