Friday, January 9, 2009

Clean it up!

For some reason, I always tend to do the bulk of my spring cleaning during the winter months. It may have to do with the desire to get myself out of doors and into my garden as soon as the thaw hits, or it may be related to breaking the cycle of winter doldrums by involving myself in some productive home-related action. Regardless, there are a few things that I do to simplify and streamline my organization projects, both at home and with my clients. Here are a couple of tips, for those of you who want to get a head start on your seasonal purge:

Try to work on one room or task at a time, as any more than that can get overwhelming, and may encourage you to leave the project unfinished. First, categorize your belongings into five groups:

· Indispensible - All the things are part of your ever day routine, (like car keys).
· Enjoyable - Normally decorative pieces, this category would also include things like photographs and jewelry.
· Borrowed - Things on loan from friends, family or work.
· Irritating - Junk mail, laundry, old magazines, et cetera
· Junk - Things that are unarguably garbage. I always start this process with both trash and recycling bags on-hand, so that the “junk” pile can be immediately disposed of.

Once you’ve categorized your belongings, you’re ready to start the next steps:

· Throw away, recycle or compost the junk piles.
· Deal with the irritating stuff. Recycle the junk mail, wash the laundry, and file any papers that you might need in the future. If you don’t have a filing system set up, buy some manila envelopes, and group papers in them by category. Then box them up, or put them in a drawer or on a shelf—- just make sure that they’re out of your space. This may be the longest part of the process, but you’ll feel immeasurably better when you get it done.
· Return borrowed and rented items, and donate unwanted items to a local charity. Check out for a great place to pass on unwanted possessions.
· Your indispensible items need to be easily accessible. The best way of dealing with this issue is to create a system that you stick to. Keys can go on a hook by your entryway, remote controls in a basket on the coffee table and laundry in a hamper near your washing machine. You may want to make a list to post on your refrigerator of items that you’ve borrowed from or lent to friends.
· Your favorite things deserve special places where they can go. Put your jewelry in a padded box, buy inexpensive frames for cherished photographs, and arrange your art and treasured belongings in places where you and your guests will see and enjoy them.

For down and dirty scrubbing, try all natural Biokleen or Mrs. Meyers products.

And if you’re in the Portland area and need a little assistance with your environmentally friendly cleaning regime, be sure to give Jessica at Brighter Days House Cleaning Services a call. You can visit their website here.


  1. Vinegar works great in a pinch too! Love your new blog :)

  2. Yup. Dilute it with a little water to cut the smell and reduce waste, and it works wonders on glass, mirrors and stainless steel. Thanks for the comment!