Cleaning out all the junk tucked away in the nooks and crannies of your home can be a daunting task. But parting with things like old knickknacks, clothing and receipts actually comes with some serious perks. (Decluttering your home is associated with a wide range of mental and physical health benefits, according to a 2007 New York Times report.)
With a new season upon us, spring cleaning represents the perfect opportunity to purge your home of clutter - and bring some fresh, new energy into your space. Professional organizer Jeni Aron shares her best tips for tackling the job.
A great piece of advice? Approach spring cleaning bit by bit, working in one-hour increments until your home is decluttered.
START WITH YOUR CLOSET
With the cold weather (hopefully) behind us, now is the time to reevaluate your winter wardrobe. When it comes to coats, boots and scarves, identify any items that need hemming, repairing or dry cleaning.
"If anything needs to be repaired, do that now so that it's ready for next season," says Aron. "And if you're done with that coat and it's seen better days, then it's time to donate it."
Donating and selling old clothes can actually be a killer way to bring in some extra income. Look for consignment shops and thrift stores in your area that pay for donations. If you strike out, giving them away at least comes with a nice tax write-off. As for the winter stuff you are keeping, store it up high so that it's out of sight in your day-to-day closet.
"And take a good look at your spring wardrobe from last year," Aron adds. "Are you still excited about it? Are these items you would purchase today if you were in a store? Does anything need to be repaired or hemmed? Now is the time, before the season truly kicks in, to take care of all those little things so that you're in good shape for when it gets warm."
CLEAN OUT YOUR KITCHEN
If you haven't done it in a while, take the time now to clean out your fridge. This includes detoxing your food items and trashing old products.
"Give your refrigerator a good cleanout because we're now entering the fresh fruits and vegetables stage, so you want to have a nice clean fridge for all of that," says Aron.
Revitalizing your kitchen also includes taking a close look at your cooking supplies. If you made a lot of soups and stews this winter, it may be time to replace your pots. The same goes for glassware, plates, and other products that are worn out.
REPLACE YOUR BEDDING
Ditch the heavy winter bedding for a lighter, fresher option that reflects the new season. Aron recommends storing heavier bedding and opting for either a floral print or an all-white setup, which both reflect the crispness of spring.
"Now is also a good time to do rug cleaning, so it isn't a bad idea to either hire a professional or do it yourself," she adds. "And now that you're going to have your windows open more, think about changing over heavy curtains for something lighter and breezier."
In other words, choose accessories that will optimize natural light and fresh air.