Worst Spring Cleaning Advice Ever
Spring is a time when the world reawakens. Plants, dormant during winter months, begin to bloom. Trees blossom. Hibernation is over; beasts and bugs re-emerge. With all this renewal and activity, it is a natural time to pop an allergy pill, throw open the windows, let in the light and fresh air, and assess your surroundings. If you’re like most people, your home could do with a little de-cluttering and organization. That’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a list of 7 of the best worst pieces of cleaning advice we could think of, especially for you. You’re welcome.
1. Start BIG
Jump in and start with a whole room! Pull all your clothes and shoes out of the closet, empty the whole dresser, put all the kids’ toys in a massive pile, and clear out all the cabinets. Go big or go home!
Um, no. Start small. It may be tempting to empty the entire closet or dresser, but don’t. Even veteran organizers can become overwhelmed tackling a large space. Pick one small area to de-clutter and organize first: A box, a drawer, or a shelf. Rather than ‘go big or go home,’ think, ‘one step at a time.’ If your goal is to organize and de-clutter, the last thing you want is to get overwhelmed halfway through and shove everything back where it was. If you do have a large area to de-clutter, setting a time-limit for working on the space and/or taking frequent breaks will help keep you from becoming overwhelmed. Remember, the clutter didn’t appear overnight and it won’t be resolved organized overnight, either.
2. Follow others’ cleaning advice blindly, even if it doesn’t really work for you.
If a professional recommended an organizational method, it must be legitimate, right? If you read it in a book or found it on pinterest it must be good advice, right?
Not necessarily. Figure out works for you. One popular method of de-cluttering is the dump-and-sort. Dump out the drawer, box, or shelf. Sort the items into piles (a trash/recycle pile, a donate pile, a this-belongs-elsewhere pile, you get the idea). While the drawer/box/shelf is empty, clean it (use one of our eco-friendly cleaning recipes!) Only put things back in the drawer/box/shelf that actually belong there. We like this method, but if it doesn’t appeal to you, find one that does and use it. The internet is replete with great cleaning ideas, printables checklists, and other tips.
3. Don’t bother with problem areas
You might as well give up on those high-traffic areas and common dumping zones. There’s no point in getting them in order because they’re hopeless.
Or are they? Identify problem areas. What are the areas in your home that collect the most clutter? For some it’s the computer area. For others it’s the entryway. For you it might be that tiny counter right next to the fridge that isn’t good for anything except collecting junk mail and random bits of this and that. Whatever the area is, we all have them and once you identify what yours are, you can do something about it.
4. Let it all hang out
Whatever you do, do not invest in any type of container or basket. Sure, there’s a whole store dedicated to containers, and sure, containers have been used to store things for millennia, but you don’t have to jump on that bandwagon just because other people have.
The truth is, there is nothing wrong with trying to contain the clutter. Containers can be great resources for organizing your belongings and hiding your clutter. They don’t have to be strictly utilitarian, either—there are loads of lovely baskets and decorative boxes on the market in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. You can even make your own using some of the ideas we’ve curated on our Pinterest board, Eco DIY Projects.
5. Do it once, then forget about it
Organizing and de-cluttering is a one-and-done job. You only need to do it once. If it was meant to be done year-round it wouldn’t be called Spring cleaning, right?
Wrong. Daily acts add up. You might not feel like sorting through the mail, but if you want to have an organized, clutter-free home, you’ll need to hold yourself accountable for staying on top of small daily de-cluttering activities…like sorting through the mail.
6. Don’t involve your housemates
Organizing and de-cluttering is a one-person job. Not only should you be the only one to do it, but you should be the only one in the house who even knows anything about it. Definitely don’t enlist anyone else’s help or support.
A better idea is to get everyone involved! Whether your housemates are family members or roommates, they can (and should) help! Getting them on board with de-cluttering will have many benefits. For one thing, they can share the workload. For another thing, though, you can each help the other maintain the newly cleaned and de-cluttered spaces.
7. When it doubt, toss it out
Don’t worry about donating your used shoes. No one would want to wear them, anyway. And those jeans? Yeah, toss those out, too. Landfill schmandfill. They’ll decompose…eventually.
Stop! Don’t even think about putting those sneakers in the trash can. Donate! Nearly 100% of used clothing and other household textiles (bed linens, soft toys, towels, etc.) are recyclable in some way. Even kitchenware and other housewares are re-usable and/or recyclable. Gently-used items can be donated to charitable organizations and thrift stores (More information available here and here and, *BONUS* your donations may even find their way here!). Torn and stained items can be sent to mixed rags recycling centers to be broken down and the fibers re-used to make upholstery stuffing, carpet padding, and home insulation.
8. NO junk drawers allowed
Once your home is organized and de-cluttered, you shouldn’t have any junk or secret stashes anywhere. Ever. Do not allow yourself to have any clutter, anywhere, ever.
Yeah, right. A designated junk drawer can be your best friend. Allow yourself a space where order doesn’t matter so much and where it’s OK to collect odds and ends. Just remember that it, too, should be purged periodically.
Above all, strive for balance. An overly cluttered home isn’t comfortable or inviting, but neither is an always-immaculate, sterile home. Find what works for you. Make small daily efforts, focusing on problem areas. Donate unwanted items instead of throwing them away. Involve your housemates and don’t be afraid to allow yourself a designated place where clutter is acceptable.
What’s your worst spring cleaning advice? Tell us in the comments section below!