By Cannon Christian
Every spring, homeowners are confronted with the task of figuring out new ways to organize messes and cut out clutter. Spring cleaning can be a stressful undertaking after home accessories, clothing and paperwork gather throughout the year, creating disorderly and busy spaces. The best way to begin a cleaning routine is by tackling smaller projects and focusing on specific tasks first. Here is a seven-day plan to easily organize each room in the house.
Sunday: Develop your plan of action for the next six days. Make a quick list of what needs to be done in each room and designate jobs for each family member. Known as the Four Box Solution, you can use three boxes labeled “Put Away”, “Give Away/Sell” and “Storage,” and use a trash can or bag as the fourth box. Throughout your seven-day cleaning session, classify extra items in these categories or throw them away if not a match. This method is great for homeowners dealing with a plethora of items that need to be tossed, sold or reorganized for more efficient spaces.
Monday: Tackle the bathroom, the most unappealing room to clean. Getting the bathroom organized before the middle of the week will be a major relief. Use Mason jars to store Q-tips, cotton balls or toothbrushes near the sink for easy reach and organization. A set of 12 jars is only $9 from Target. Clear off vanity countertops, dispose of empty or old shampoo and soap bottles and combine multiple boxes of toiletries into one container to minimize mess. Organize medicine cabinets and bathroom caddies by type of product like first aid, beauty products and hair products, so everything has a home.
Tuesday: Bedroom blow-out! Spend time cleaning old clothes out of your closet and select items for donation. At the same time, color-code all remaining items. When colors are grouped together, it’s more appealing to the eye and will help reduce feelings of stress and disorder. Create a storage solution for items like jewelry, belts, ties and purses, such as hanging multiple hooks in the closet for each item or using plastic storage containers to store seasonal items underneath the bed. Check underneath the bed, dresser, vanity and other furniture for any trash and knickknacks that may have gotten shuffled into hiding over the last few months.
Wednesday: Kitchen cleansing. If you enjoy cooking and have a large stash of spices and cooking ingredients, combine bottles of the same products, categorize and alphabetize for easy access. If you have young children, have them help you with the alphabetizing to practice their ABCs. Store leftover items on the countertop in their respective places. Secure adhesive hooks on the inside of kitchen cabinet doors to hang the lids of pots and pans, keeping cabinets in order and creating more storage space.
Thursday: Zen your living room. Remove decorations that are smaller than a melon. Many interior decorators use this as a rule of thumb for making rooms appear less busy. Going forward, look for large vases or tabletop décor to replace the many small items placed around the house. Hide electronic cords in nightstands or coffee tables by using a spade bit to drill a hole in the part of the table’s drawer facing the wall. Place a power strip in the drawer and charge phones, tablets and electronics in the drawer without messy and tangled cords (also a great option for bedrooms and offices). Recycle old coffee table magazines and store comfy blankets. Tip: decorative small ladders are a stylish accessory to store living room blankets when you aren’t using them for TV watching or book reading — just fold and hang on the ladder steps.
Friday: Organize the home office or family desk. First things first, go through all loose-leaf documents and mail, recycling items no longer needed. Plastic filing sleeves are another all-purpose item to have on-hand. Not only is it great for organizing receipts, bank statements and other financial documents, but you can also file recipes and photos. Organize items by month or type for simple future reference. If sharing a desk with children, designate a drawer or bucket near the desk for craft and homework supplies. Throw away dried up pens and other broken items and clean off surfaces, storing most work items in drawers.
Saturday: Garage and closets. The Four Box Method will come in handy for garage and closet cleaning, since both are common places to throw unneeded or old items. If you have multiple storage closets, designate each one to a specific item like holiday decorations, cleaning supplies or cold-weather coats. With all of the items gathered in the “give away” piles over the course of the week, you can host a family garage sale to close out your week of deep spring cleaning and make some money for your hard work.
You are now seven steps closer to having a spick-and-span home. Creating a clutter-free home makes more intense cleaning, like disinfecting and washing, easier and less stressful. Now kick back, relax and enjoy the comforts of your tidy home; you deserve it.
—Cannon Christian is a licensed real estate broker and president of Renovation Realty, a full-service residential renovation contractor and real estate brokerage with offices in San Diego and San Francisco. The company adds value to customer homes by using its own capital to renovate the property before placing it on the market for sale as the listing brokerage, with no out-of-pocket cost to the homeowner. For more information, visit www.renovationrealty.com.