More likely than not, you’ve got a little more time at home these days and maybe a lot more as we wait out the health crisis, so why not tackle your some overdue chores? Spring cleaning is about much more than wiping down shelves and scrubbing the floor. The change of season breathes new life into many people and is the perfect time to evaluate what’s working — and not working — around your home.
Here are four spring cleaning hacks that will help you be more organized this year, so you can spend your time and energy on the things that really matter — like enjoying a nice glass of wine in the sunshine.
Tackle the Worst, First
It’s tempting to tackle the easy projects first, but Katy Winter, a professional home organizer, recommends focusing on the most problematic areas.
“I like to start with what is bothering you the most,” she says.
If there is a section of your home — like the mudroom or laundry — that just isn’t working, take everything out and reimagine the space as a blank slate. This is especially important if you’re entering a new stage of family life, but still using old systems.
“We sometimes get stuck with a system we created and did not adjust to our growing family,” Winter says.
As your kids get older and spend less time at home, you can transform the playroom into an exercise space, or the homework nook into a reading area. Taffeta has some ideas here.
“It’s time to regain your living space,” Winter says.
End Clothing Clutter
Clothes can create chaos, whether they’re creating clutter in the closet, or mountains in the laundry room. So, take time to get rid of clothes that aren’t being worn. Going through your own closet, make a list of any items that you need to add to your wardrobe as you purge what’s no longer working, says Stacey Agin Murray, a professional organizer.
If you need to go through kids’ clothes, Murray recommends some bribery for the younger set. Put on a movie while asking the kids to try on their clothes.
“They get to engage in an activity that keeps them in one place and occupied, and you’ll be able to weed out the clothes that don’t fit,” Murray says.
The ‘Evening Reset’
The last thing anyone wants to do at the end of the day is clean, but professional organizer Andrea Walker teaches her clients to take 15 minutes each night for what she calls the ‘evening reset.’
“The idea is to put things away that were used during the day and reset your home for the next day,” Walker says. Clearing the sink and counter, hanging up clothes, filing away the mail and tidying each night will free up time elsewhere in your schedule.
“Done regularly, this takes only 15 or so minutes and sets you and your family up for success the next day,” Winter says. “Left undone day after day, these things create a much larger project that takes far longer and means you may not have time for other home projects or more fun activities with family and friends on the weekend.”
Streamline Your Schedule
With your house organized, it’s time to organize your schedule, says Lisa Dooley, author of More Space. More Time. More Joy! Organizing Your Best Life. Start by looking for areas where you can block your time.
“We waste so much time jumping from one project to the next when we could be so much more effective if we focused on one ‘category’ of items and really drilled down,” Dooley says. For example, block together projects that get you dirty, like exercising and cleaning the bathroom. After all, you’ll be showering after anyway. Or, block digital tasks like replying to all emails, personal and professional, in the same hour.
Then, see where you can streamline even further. For example, next time you’re waiting for an appointment, tackle a digital task instead of mindlessly scrolling.
Whether you’re organizing the house or your schedule, remember that your efforts will make life easier in the long term.
“A little daily discipline goes a long way,” Walker says.
Kelly Burch is a freelance writer covering finance, family, business and more. When she's not behind the computer she enjoys exploring the lakes and mountains of New Hampshire, where she lives. Connect with Kelly and read more of her work on Facebook or Twitter.