S.H.E.: How to get your home ready for spring

Daffodils, birds chirping and dirty windows are all signs that spring is quickly approaching. Getting your house spic and span for the warmer months ahead is a task some embrace, while others suffer bouts of hives from the anxiety. 

Spring cleaning involves a more thorough cleaning of the house and may be a huge undertaking for those who have difficulty parting ways with items shoved under beds, pushed to the backs of closets or tucked under basement stairwells. Mary Dykstra of Within Reach Organizing Services in Comstock Park provides tips on what to keep, what to discard and what to recycle. 

Decluttering

Unnecessary paperwork is largely to blame for disorganization. Dykstra recommends only holding onto papers that have tax or legal implications. Typically, you need to keep tax documents for seven years and legal paperwork through the life of a judgment. If you are paying bills on a monthly basis – especially if doing so electronically – there is no need to retain those bills.

“What I do first and foremost, is help my clients set up decision making criteria,” Dykstra said. “What are we taking in? Where does it go? What is going to be done with it? How do you know when you are done with it?”

Dysktra emphasized that you have to have a plan for items coming into the home, whether it be mail or otherwise. “What is the exit strategy?” Dykstra added. “Those are really key points. Once that is in place, it is easy to go through all this stuff.”

Paperwork is not the only thing that sends a household into an organizational tailspin. Too many clothes, toys and other items also can rob a house of precious storage space. Children can be especially attached to their items so it is of the utmost importance to develop a plan with them to avoid a meltdown when trying to clear a bedroom or free up space on the refrigerator.

“I recently had a client take digital photos of their child’s artwork,” Dykstra explained. “They kept the best 10 percent of the art and that artwork had a cycle of being displayed.”

An overabundance of clothing not only causes clutter and wastes closet space, but it also frequently results in having to do laundry more often than necessary. Dykstra said most people do not wear 80 percent of the clothing they own, so she always asks clients: “Does it fit?” “Do I love it?” and “Will I wear it?”

Dykstra said that organizing closets and dressers according to season, can help maximize space, too. She also suggests that once you’ve put items in a box to donate or dispose of, don’t open the box again. That way, you won’t develop an attachment to your clutter all over again.

Organizing 

Once the clutter has been cleared and there is a clear pathway throughout the house, it’s time to turn to someone like Greenville’s Jenny Knickerbocker, who has had her own home cleaning business for six years. She has suggestions for making the spring cleaning process less overwhelming and a doable task.

“When I go into a house, I focus on one room and then I normally come in every other week and it is usually kept up pretty well,” Knickerbocker said.

Most homeowners can manage tidying up, but tend to overlook deep cleaning. Washing walls is a task Knickerbocker reserves for spring cleaning and said it can be a more time consuming task, but it helps clear the home of dust that has collected during winter months while windows have been closed. Simply using a rag and a cleaning solution is a good way to help deter too many dust bunnies from breeding on surfaces. Knickerbocker also washes windows, which is another chore often overlooked.

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