Give your home a clean sweep this Spring and make 2011 the year you get organised at home. With our useful tips and advice not only will we help clean your home from top to bottom but also help you to be ruthless and finally part with that clutter!
- Getting started
- Spring clean
- Be ruthless
- Are you a serial clutterer?
- Your year round maintenance programme
Start with an A4 pad and write the name of each room at the top of a new sheet. Walk around your home and mark down all the areas that need to be cleared our and detoxed. It might be an entire room, or just a cupboard or drawer. This becomes your ‘to do’ list. Instead of throwing yourself into detoxing the entire space at once – and running out of time and energy – start small. Make a detox plan by allocating enough time to tackle each section of your home and marking it into your diary.
It is hard to get organised if your house is full to bursting and you can’t find anything. Take a roll of binbags and have a good Spring clean. Divide your items as follows:
- Only fit for the bin.
- Recycling (either go to your recycling centre or give away unwanted items on www.jumbletown.ie).
- For sale (if you have the inclination to set up shop at your local car-boot sale).
- Deep storage (items that need storage but are used only once a year, e.g. Christmas decorations).
- Repair – anything that needs to be altered, repaired or cleaned.
- Action items – articles to read, letters that need answering (if you still have them a week later consider letting them go.)
The key is to be ruthless. The following which are really ‘Excuses for keeping things’ should definitely be on the get-rid list.
- Stacks or old letters, magazines or books that you were going to read.
- Things people have given you that no longer fit into your life.
- Things you have been hanging onto in case you need them.
- Things you have kept because it would be a waste to let them go.
Are you a serial clutterer?
If you have a clutter problem, always ask yourself three questions before bringing a new item into your home.
Will this make a positive difference to my life? Have I got room for it? Am I prepared to let go of something to make room for it? All items that have found their way into your home should have a place to live. If they haven’t, find suitable storage for them (or let them go).
Your year round maintenance programme
It takes time to build up clutter, but if you stick by an easy maintenance programme you should avoid getting into clutter difficulties again. The key here is to get into the habit of putting things away as soon as you have finished with them – for example when your clean washing is dry, put it in the drawers and cupboards straight away. Put books CDs and DVDs away as soon as you are finished with them. In your kitchen in particular, but also in other rooms in the house adopt a ‘clean as you go policy’.
- Open the windows in each room to let in fresh air.
- Put fresh flowers in your hall and living room.
- Water your plants.
- Clean your floors, make the beds and plump up the cushions.
- Clean your kitchen including wiping out your oven and fridge.
- Thoroughly clean your bathroom including the shower and put out fresh towels.
- Deal with letters and bills. (Make setting up standing orders for your utility bills an immediate priority). Always have a chequebook, envelopes and stamps to hand so you can pay bills when you have an odd moment. Write dates for events in your diary or
calendar as soon as you receive notification. Fill in birthdays on the calendar too.
- Add a few drops of essential oil to an aromatherapy burner or water in an atomiser than can be sprayed around the home.
- Keep a box to put unwanted items into and take it to the charity shop every month to make sure that the mess doesn’t build up again.
- Bring bottles and plastic to the recycling centre and put out your green bin for collection (if your local authority collects).
- Clear out your kitchen cupboards every month discarding items that are beyond their sell by date. Similarly, thoroughly clean your cooker and fridge.
- Wash out your washing machine powder dispenser.
- Clean our the filter in your tumble dryer and dishwasher.
- Clear out your closet and discard unwanted clothes and shoes to the charity shop.
- Put seasonal clothes and other items into storage. The large clear bags that allow you to suck the air out with your vacuum cleaner are ideal to reduce your clothes to a third of the space needed. These are available from Dunnes Stores and DIY stores like Homebase.
- Clean the windows, if you can’t do it yourself get a professional. You will be amazed at how much more light you get into your home.
- Clean light fittings.
- Get your chimney cleaned.
- Get your carpet and soft furnishings cleaned.
- Check if your curtains need to be dry-cleaned.
- Do another clear out to charity shops or car-boot sale.
To keep on top of clutter you need support from the rest of the family. Use incentives such as stickers to reward younger kids for helping clear the table and keeping their room tidy. Older children may like to earn points towards a trip to the cinema in return for helping out with chores.