Fearless Aging: Using cold days to jump start spring cleaning

Step 1: Identify which room you want to start with and stick to it.

For many being stuck inside during a pandemic prompted online shopping sessions that resulted in collecting more “stuff” that now fill closets, drawers and cabinets. These very cold days spent inside present an opportunity to get a jump-start on our spring-cleaning.

When we think about spring, our minds conjure images of fresh, clean air and sunshine, and getting out of the house more often. So, today is a great time to begin freshening up our homes and streamlining the useful spaces.

In order to avoid feeling overwhelmed, identify which room you want to start with and stick to it. Perhaps it’s the one that bothers you the most or one that is less cluttered giving you an instant sense of accomplishment. Whichever path you take; make sure you don’t leave that space until your goals are accomplished.

Personally, I like to start in the kitchen because it’s a popular gathering space that tends to acquire more gadgets and household items than other parts of the house.

Open each cabinet and examine what’s inside. Do you like where you have placed your plates, glasses, coffee cups, etc.? If not, now is the time to move them to a better space. The items you use every day should be on the first shelf, the items used less frequently can reside on the second shelf and then all other items up top.

Safety tip: Do not put anything heavy over your head. If it falls, you can be seriously injured.

Start on one side of your kitchen and remove all items in that section of cabinet. Wipe down every shelf with bleach, cleaning wipe or with household cleaner and a rag. Put back only items you use regularly and store the holiday items. Kitschy items and those you never use can be given away, donated, or thrown out, particularly if they have chips, cracks or are broken.

Move to each section; repeat the process until you are through. Drawers and lower cabinets can also benefit from the same procedure as above.

Completing the organization of a space or room provides a feeling of satisfaction and motivation to move on to the next challenge. Before allowing yourself too much time to reflect or change your mind, its wise to schedule a charity to pick up the useful items. In recent times, charities have become much more selective about what they’ll accept. They don’t want dirty items, and cloth furniture must be in pristine condition or it will be passed over.

Oversized furniture, such as dining room tables, entertainment centers and hutches, may not be accepted. It’s wise to verify what an organization is willing to pick up. If they won’t pick up your donations, then you might be able to deliver some bags and boxes to your nearest drop-off site or make arrangements with a junk disposal service to haul it away.

If you need help, there are also professional organizers, Senior Move Managers, and possibly friends and family that would be willing to help navigate the process. Let’s get to work and create some spiffy spaces.