If you have a sports fanatic in your life, then you’ve probably heard all about March Madness.
In addition to the headache of all the stats and trades (or was that about football), comes the realization that spring is well on its way in.
Along with spring comes the homemakers version of March Madness, AKA, the dreaded “Spring Cleaning Madness”. I'm not sure if it’s a legit idea; a time to part with all the things you have accumulated while being cooped up all winter (hello extra 10 lbs my friend). Maybe it was some strategically planned gimmick by a marketing genius to push sales on anything labeled with the keywords spring and clean.
Think of Mr. Clean: the idea of a clean home and the Mr. doing the cleaning is a nice thought, no? However, they so generously left out the warning on the label that having Mr. Clean will not in any way make the Mister in the house clean!
Cleaning an entire home in time for spring can be a daunting task for anyone. Reality is that cleaning takes time, and time is of short supply. We all have our schedules, appointments, work, kids, pets, etc., so how in blazes are we supposed to be able to do a thorough cleaning!
We are only human!
However, before I start, let me give you a little background about me so you get a picture of where I'm coming from.
I’m Helen. I have an amazing husband Jay (the sports fanatic), and 2 amazing and often patience draining little ones. There is big man Charlie (he’s 3 years old), and Princess Ruby (almost 13 months). Jay works a 9-5 in social media marketing, often taking work home with him. I'm a full-time RN working the graveyard shift (that’s the lingo for the night shift) and loving it. The kids only have school from 9-3, which means little sleep for me before the next shift. On a good day, I’d say I get about 4 hours!
So, my credentials to even write this blog post: I’m a full-time working, ever exhausted wife and mom.
I am an everyday human and proud of it.
My best advice for a perfectly spotless home would be, leave it to the professionals. That being said, not everyone can hire one, and must learn to do it on their own. This is in no way a smack at anyone that hires a professional if you do, I am sincerely happy for you! (I tried to hire one, but it didn't work out, hence this article.)
So this article will be a pact to get the job done with the least amount of stress and dread possible. We can call our pact Caution: Unprofessionals at Work! (#ProudUnprofessional ; how do you start a trending hashtag? 😄)
So, here we go: 4 ways to get your home spic and span for spring (try saying that 10x fast):
1) PURGE THE CLOSET
To paraphrase the cleaning gurus, Imagine it Done’s Lisa and Marie Kondo: when was the last time this was used?
Being a somewhat self-proclaimed hoarder myself, I have a hard time parting with items like clothing. The anxiety of letting go of something that hasn't been worn in 5 years is real. I mean what if I need that item suddenly, like, today. I still have my walk-in closet at my parent’s full of clothes that fall under this category! Each time I visit, I try to rid the space of one item, as to not overwhelm my senses.
Will this purge take a day? Honestly, no, and it shouldn’t. To let go of items can be emotional, they can “spark” memories from the day they were worn.
Try getting rid of the items that don't hold any meaning to you, or are full of stains (hello motherhood) and unwearable first. (Cool Tip: You can bring in 3 items to H&M stores to receive 15% off your next in-store purchase! You know, now that you have all this extra room…)
Next, take those meaningful clothes and try to remember the last time you did wear them. Remind yourself that they aren’t being abandoned to the trash pit, but, they can be given to Goodwill and make memories for someone who needs them.
If there is no way to part with an item and it’s just taking up closet space, put it nicely in a storage box. Give it some time and see in a month or two if you still feel the same way once it’s not in your constant line of vision.
If your answer is no, then it's “sayonara’. Note that the “saving for later” method should only be used on important items, or you will get nowhere at all.
(Word of advice from someone that is guilty of getting nowhere many times before.)
I, however, have found through my many trials and tribulations that this method works; when done right, of course.
To quote Lisa Jacobs, “It’s not about the after, it’s all about the during”. Now that your space may look like a category 5 hurricane and tornado all in one, it’s time to find every item it's proper home.
In order to make sure that all your items go back to their proper place and keep your home looking magazine tidy, each item must first find a proper home.
Take all your items and put them into broad categories, i.e. tops, bottoms, sweaters. Next, divide your piles into subcategories, like short sleeve shirts, long sleeve, tanks. Bottoms can be shorts, long pants, jeans.
Who doesn’t love folding?! I don’t know about you, but I have no problem doing laundry. In fact, I love it! The thought of throwing dirty clothes into a machine with detergent that can make anyone smell like a baby- what can be better! It’s the folding and actually putting the clothes away that I have a problem with. You should see my son’s room in between my 3 straight work shifts. The growing tower of unfolded baby scented clothing can build a fort - which my son actually does! Nothing can make you happier than seeing your fresh linen get stomped on by dirty sneakers, am I right?!
As soon as my shifts are done for the week, the slacking ends and it's time to A. rewash all the now dirty clothes left out, and B. actually fold and put them away.
When it comes to folding, how you fold depends on where they will go. When placed in a dresser, whether it be in separate boxes like Marie Kondo or Lisa Jacobs’ draw dividers, the envelope fold is the way to go.
The envelope fold allows your clothing to be made into cute, neat looking little packages that can stand on their own when placed down. All the “packages” are then stacked into a line and can be seen all at once.
Refer to the picture and video below to achieve that perfect envelope fold.
Clothing on a shelf can utilize the same envelope fold when placed in bins. I have a weakness when it comes to buying bins, especially when they’re on sale and especially when they’re from Target. My home: Hubby: “Hey, why do we have a huge Target box at our door? And wait, why is there 10 new bins in it?!” Me: “Ummm… hey, why don’t you have a guys night?”
But in all seriousness, bins are great to add some color or decoration all while helping to achieve that overall “I've got my act together” look.
A little plus side, the bins can hide the fact that folding big items into tiny cube-like, stand on their own envelopes, might not be your forte.
Bins can be bought anywhere, like Target, Amazing Savings and Walmart. Business stores like Staples and Office Depot carry beautifully decorated boxes in floral and striped designs that are big enough to keep your clothing in and pretty enough to make your walls look like one big floral mural.
Keep in mind when putting the bins on the shelves or clothing in your draws, pack for function, not just looks. The items that are used most frequently should be put closest to your vision and line of reach. Items rarely used, think seasonal or vacation, should be placed higher up. You know, like those top shelves in your closet that seem to be designed by a man that can climb Mt. Everest. Pure genius and super functional.
If you need a functional closet to avoid those Everest height shelves, Modular Closets can be your new best friend. They are semi-custom closets, so yes, they are actually affordable. All you have to do is send in your closet measurements and a little idea of what you want to store in your closet, and they send back a full custom design for you to approve of, absolutely free. They are super professional, functional, quality-made, and.. did I say affordable?
4) The final step to truly clear your home and mind is saying goodbye to that unneeded clutter!
Step 4 can be sent to wherever you decide is the best place. Try choosing a place that speaks to you, like H&M for your 15% off in-store coupon, or a Goodwill store in your neighborhood.
There are likely second-hand stores near your home that you never even knew about. Drop off centers can send your items to third world countries. Imagine getting rid of unneeded clutter and feeling like an angel for doing a good deed - sign me up!
Make sure that after you decide where the items will go and they are loaded in the car, that they actually make it to their destination. Yes, I’m talking to you, box of items sitting in my car since our move 7 months ago!
I hope this article is somewhat helpful or relatable, not just my thoughts jotted down. If this article is, in fact, helpful, please leave a comment - I’d love to hear from you!
Good luck and happy unprofessional professional organizing,
The Modern Day Housewife, Helen
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