Tips on decluttering your home now that you have time

If you didn’t immediately jump into cleaning and decluttering mode when your friends began posting photos online of their tidy closets and basements, it might be time to purge.

Spring cleaning for a lot people started early as a result of teleworking and staying home because of the coronavirus crisis.

If you have put it off or if you’re confused about where to begin, remain calm. With a few easy tips, decluttering your space for spring should be a breeze.

Where to start? 

If it’s been a while since you organized your home, it might feel daunting. Interior design expert, Wendy Donohue of Wendy Donohue Solutions, suggests not to overwhelm yourself.

“Start with a small room first like a bathroom,” said Donohue, whose business is based in Alexandria, Virginia.

“Go through everything, all the cabinets under the sink, the vanity, drawers in your bathroom, the linen closets. The best thing is to empty everything and clean it out.”

After you’re done emptying out your cabinets and drawers, Donohue suggests wiping everything down to get rid of dust. Once you are finished, it will be easier to differentiate which items you want to keep or throw out.

When you eventually work your way to a larger room, Donohue recommends creating donate and ditch bins. If you’re not entirely ready to rid yourself of an item, put those items in a box and store them away for the future.

What if you’re on a budget? 

If you don’t have the bank account to fund a large organization project, there are affordable tips you can follow. Some can even be found in your local grocery store.

“There are so many ways to use containers,” Donahue added. “For instance, the containers you get in the grocery store, in the vegetable aisle that hold mushrooms or blueberries. Wash them out and put them in a drawer to house something small, such as barrettes, combs or clips.”

Shoe boxes and plastic tumblers also go a long way, said Donohue. Use a magic marker to label them in order to have everything in one spot.

“Instead of having one thing all over the house, have it one place,” Donohue said.

What if you live in a small space? 

If you live in a studio or live with roommates, it can be challenging to find a home for all your belongings. Donohue recommends going vertical.

“Stacking items, using the back of a door or shoe racks that are clear so you can see what’s inside are fantastic ways to use space.”

Utilizing space under the bed or couch is a great spot for items, she said. Place whatever items you don’t want to see in a bin or box and hide them under there.

How to maintain order 

After you’re done with your initial reorganization, make sure to have a certain place for every item. Donohue said when you’ve already designated a place, you know exactly where things should go and there’s no confusion.

Dedicating time to figure out what you use on a daily basis and what you don’t can make a huge difference.

“I always tell people that there are so many needy people out there right now, that if you can donate something you are doing a wonderful thing to help somebody out,” said Donohue.

And before you put everything out on the curb for the trash, make sure there aren’t any restrictions.

Arlington is one jurisdiction that asked its residents not to put out their spring cleaning junk because it’s been overwhelmed by the amount of stuff people have put out since the coronavirus outbreak started.

The county also suspended its curbside bulk trash pickup and canceled its spring E-CARE recycling and disposal event.

Alexandria eliminated its popular four-week curbside, bulk pickup program that used to happen in April, but the city will let people put large items out with the trash on regular pickup days.

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