It's that time of year again — to cover yourself in the grime and dust that has been collecting in the corners of your home all winter long. Yep, it's spring cleaning season, and your house needs decluttering, big time. But where do you even begin? If you're not the real-life Monica Geller and get your jollies from scrubbing the scum off your shower walls, then spring cleaning can seem like an overwhelming task. Let this spring cleaning decluttering checklist help you out.
Spring cleaning doesn't need to be a living nightmare if you come prepared. And the best way to prepare for every obstacle you will face is to create a checklist. This method allows you to break down a massive project into smaller manageable parts, essentially to keep your brain from a panic-induced explosion — which would unfortunately lead to yet another mess you'd have to clean. Ugh.
Here's how to make spring cleaning suck a lot less, and maybe even make it strangely sort of fun. Throw on a '90s pop playlist, and tackle one room at a time. Before you know it, you'll be drinking a celebratory glass of wine from the comforts of your couch, as you marvel at the epic tidiness of your beloved pad.
If your house is a human body, then your living room is the hard-working aorta at the center of it all. This is your safe haven. This is where you relax, where you entertain guests, where you wind down after a hard day, and where you do a litany of other things that make you the amazing human you are. Here's how to declutter your home's heart.
1. Dust All Surfaces
If you think about decluttering as eliminating all the useless things in your home, then the disgusting collection of dirt and dust should be priority one. No matter how often you dust, there's still more than enough dirt in your home that should be destroyed.
2. Reevaluate Your Coffee Table Setup
You want your coffee table to look like it's straight out of a catalog — with quirky coasters, interesting books, maybe a vase with flowers or a bowl of mixed stones, and a bunch of other adorable tchotchkes that represent your unique style. Buuuuuuuut you also want this space to be functional, and finding the balance between the two can be tricky.
Keep what you'll actually use, and find another home for the items that are just going to be in the way when you a.) want to play Exploding Kittens with your BFFs, b.) eat a bucket of takeout sans obstacles, and c.) just want to put your feet up after a crap day at work.
3. Create Storage For Unused Pillows And Blankets
Throw pillows and blankets are fun, and there's really no limit to how many any one person should have. However, there should be adequate storage for extras, otherwise your couch will look like a death-by-comfort torture trap.
As lame as it was to hear on EVERY. SINGLE. EPISODE. of MTV's Cribs, your bedroom really is "where the magic happens." You sleep here. You awaken here. You have sex here. You cry here. You heal here. This is the place where you're at your most vulnerable. This room needs to be free of clutter that will inevitably tamper with your psyche. Here's how to keep it perfectly zen.
1. Nightstands Should Remain Relatively Clear
I say this as I guiltily glance at the dusty stack of seven books on top of mine. But every time I look at my nightstand, I see a bunch of boxes on a to-do list that I have not checked. It's a stressful feeling, and one that I should not experience in this room. Save the never-ending book stack for the living room, not your bedroom. Keep a dim lamp, a TV remote, and a picture frame on yours, and put the rest elsewhere.
2. Don't Let Other-Room Activities Creep In
Unless you have the flu, you probably shouldn't be eating in bed. You also shouldn't be working in bed. Sure, it's bound to happen, but keep other-room clutter to a strict minimum in here. Otherwise, you can expect your peaceful sleeping routine to be interrupted.
3. Clothes Should Be Put Away
You have a clothes chair, and so do I. It's the place clean clothes are laid out when you're about to wear them, or don't feel like re-hanging them just yet. But as common as this bedroom staple is, piling it high with clothing clutter is a bad idea. You'll look over at it from bed, and the stress of having another chore will bother you.
You probably don't need most of its current contents. Open up your closet and be honest about what you really need to keep, and what you should probably just toss or donate.
1. Toss The Formalwear
It's 2016, so you probably have tons of photos from weddings you've attended, or were part of. Since you have the memories caught on camera, you don't need to keep the dresses or tuxes you know you'll never wear again — unless they're from your own wedding, of course.
2. Clear Out The Winter Clothes
It's FINALLY spring! Time to fold up those sweaters and coats and put them away. It's only going to get hotter, so you don't need immediate access to your puffy coat until next November.
3. Reduce The Shoe Collection
Any pair of shoes in your closet that do not a.) make you look like the sexy goddess you are, and b.) keep you as comfortable as possible should be tossed or donated ASAP.
I have no idea why it's so easy to collect clutter in a room that's all about cleanliness, but it happens to all of us. The bathroom might be the messiest room in the house, despite how clean you are whenever you exit. Here's how to keep it as polished as your beautiful face.
1. Throw Out Old Hair Products
Your shower is where soaps and shampoos go to die. You hardly ever use these products until the bottles are emptied, so the shelves become more and more crowded over time. Toss the products you haven't used in the last month. It'll make a world of difference.
2. Toss The Gross Towels
Why are you so willing to spend $30 on a new tee you don't even need, yet your towels are reaching their fourth birthdays? Don't worry, I do it too. And it makes no earthly sense, because old towels are gross. Go through your towels and retire those oldies.
3. Reevaluate Your Makeup Collection
Makeup expires, just like all other beauty products, and you should be vigilant about getting rid of anything you use directly on your skin and eyes. Toss your old makeup in order to prevent potential infections and other completely avoidable ailments.
Food clutter is certainly the best kind of clutter, but it's still unnecessary in your everyday life. You should never have to encounter the nightmare that is opening an expired dairy product, and really, any food you aren't eating — you're wasting. Here's how to avoid that.
1. Free Up Your Freezer Space
The freezer is like the closet of the kitchen. You can just toss anything in there and deal with it later. That's because freezing food extends its life, so the deadline to use its contents is months in the future. But now is the time to thoroughly review your edible inventory, and throw out the freezer burned items, as well as the stuff you know you will never be in the mood to eat.
2. Minimize Your Pot And Pan Collection
Quality pots and pans can cost a pretty penny, so you tend to hold onto any cookware you get. I just threw out a pot I've had since college, and it was so worn out that it was basically useless. Get rid of the items that you hate cooking with, and you'll be able to see which items desperately need to be upgraded.
3. Stop Hoarding Condiments
What would happen if the world outside your apartment ended tomorrow? You would have to survive on condiments, because that's the only shelf in your fridge that is always stocked. But when was the last time you checked the expiration dates on your wall of sauces? If you haven't been eating them, you don't need 'em. So toss 'em, right now.
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