15 Areas to Declutter Before Spring Cleaning
Prep your home for a deep clean by clearing out all the clutter that accumulated over the long cold months.
©Image courtesy of transFORM
Photo By: Laura Metzler
Photo By: CamilleStyles.com
Photo By: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography
Photo By: Jalynn Baker
Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn, FlynnsideOut
Photo By: Sarah Dorio
Photo By: Spacecrafting
Photo By: Elizabeth Joan Designs
Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images
Photo By: Melanie Acevedo
Decluttering the pantry ranks as one of the easier tasks. No memories are attached to a specific box of crackers, and there's no debating whether or not you find joy in a bag of cookies (of course, you do). Toss anything past its expiration date, and create a donation box for food that's still good but your family doesn't use. Fill up your food storage containers, like flour, sugar, pasta and beans, so all your ingredients are on hand and easy to find.
Get rid of any over-the-counter or prescribed medications past their expiration date. Check the FDA website or with select local pharmacies on how to dispose of medications properly. Take a look through your first aid supplies and confirm everything is still useable. Make a restock list of items you may be missing or had to throw out.
You've spent all winter curled up with a good book. (We hope so, at least!) Now, it's time to find new homes for those you've checked off your TBR list. Pass on ones you loved to friends, family and co-workers. Lug the rest to a used bookstore for a little extra cash or credit to get to all those new summer beach reads.
Before you can deep clean, clear off all your surfaces — dining tables, coffee tables, buffets and consoles. Not only will you start off with a blank slate for the new season, but it also gets you ready to dust and polish all those surfaces that have been hiding away during the cold months.
The Catch-All Area
We all have that one spot — the mudroom, entryway, spare guest room — where the odds and ends seem to collect. Whether it's your daily walk-in-and-drop or items that don't have a designated place, the stuff can pile up quickly. Tackle your all-the-things space by finding homes for everything or getting rid of anything you no longer need or want.
Oh, the dreaded junk drawer. Just like our catch-all room, it magically fills with receipts, pens, paperclips, school or work papers and everything in between. Our advice: Empty the entire contents on a table and be ruthless. Throw away all the bits of randomness; file any receipts or paperwork; then, organize similar supplies together.
Sunny days are here again. Stash all your winter decorating accessories: the snowflake pillows, glittering foliage and "Baby, It's Cold Outside" sign. Pare down your blankets, storing your heavy knitted and wool ones. Keep out a few lightweight options for cooler summer evenings.
The to-be-filed paperwork can get out of control in seemingly no time at all. Set aside some time to catch up on all your filing. Then, purge anything that isn't necessary. One way to cut back on paper storage is to scan anything for which you don't need an actual physical copy.
It's the perfect time to shed some layers (literally). Whatever you didn't wear this past winter and fall, donate. Store the rest of your cold-weather clothes, and pull out your spring and summer attire. One easy way to tell what you're actually wearing? Turn your hangers backward. Then, when you wear an item, turn the hanger to the front. At the end of the season, see which pieces of clothing you never touched and pass on to a local charity.
As the season of outdoor play draws near, now is a good time to take a discerning look at your kids' toys. Go through their playrooms and bedrooms and see which action figures, stuffed animals and dolls you can donate or hand down to friends and family. Toss any toys and games that are broken or missing parts.
Makeup and Bathroom Products
Go through your bathroom cabinets and pitch old shampoo bottles, out-of-date lotions and the face wash that made you break out. Clean out your makeup bag, throwing away any products that are expired or that you no longer use. Even if you spent money on a high-end body wash or mascara, if you don't use it, it's just taking up much-needed real estate. Toss it!
So long, winter coats...and gloves and hats and scarves. Stow away your bulky cold-weather gear to make room for lightweight rain jackets, rain boots, hats, sunscreen and other spring and summer essentials.
Where do all the cords come from anyway? First, gather your abundance of cords. Then, figure out which ones actually go with electronics you still own. Discard the rest. We give you permission to let go of the charging cord for your first flip phone. While you're at it, cull through your electronics and donate any you no longer use.
Winter months add a few extra items, such as a box of tissues and a handful of cough drops, to our nightstands. Clear off the surface for a fresh start. Try to keep your bedside essentials to a few elements that evoke a tidy mindset before going to sleep, like a reading lamp, your latest book, a relaxing candle or a pretty houseplant.
Since we are prepping to spring clean, take a look through your cleaning supplies. Throw out any old or unused cleaners and tools. Then, create a list of what you'll need. You don't want to be in the middle of a deep clean and have to run to the store because you're out of glass cleaner.