The Spring Clean Along: Organizing All That Stuff

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This here’s the month to get cleaning! Want to come along?

Last week we talked a little about dejunking. For many of us, it’s not the dirt and dust that gets us down, it’s the stuff. And I will hazard a guess that most of us have more stuff than we truly need. I know I do.

I’ve filled one bag to donate in the past week and have two more to take to Children’s Orchard. And I’ve yet to even scratch the surface!

As part of the Spring Clean Along, I want to encourage you not to think you have to do your entire house this month. Sure, if you have the time, energy, and motivation, go for it! But, if life is crazy, just try to take baby steps.

Pick a Zone

For me, I know that there are 52 different kinds of trouble areas in my home, but I’m tackling just three for this month. Last week, I showed you my linen closet. This week it’s the foyer. Next week, it’s my bathroom. Maybe.

I know from experience that I can be an “all or nothing” kind of girl. And I’m finding that this usually sets me up for disappointment as I bite off more than I can chew and then feel bad about it. I want to set you — and me — up for success. So, this week, pick one zone.

Dejunk that Trouble Spot

If you missed it, review the questions to ask yourself about what to keep, what to store, and what to give away. And then do attack that zone with a vengeance. If you’ve really limited yourself to that one zone, you should be able to get ‘er done within a reasonable amount of time, and you’ll feel sooo good when you’re done!

Next – Organize That Stuff

There are a number of ways that you can organize your possessions.

  1. Store like with like – In my storage closet last week, I showed you how I sorted the different toiletries and supplies and kept shampoos in one spot, dental supplies in another, pillowcases in another, etc. This is a huge help in finding the product you need. And it just makes good sense! Grocery stores (generally) keep all of one kind of item in the same location.
  2. Store things that you use together in the location where you use them – I read this in a kitchen organization book years ago, and it astounded me. The author recommended keeping all your baking supplies, tools, and pans together in one cupboard as opposed to having a pantry, gadget drawer, and baking pan cupboard. She reasoned that it made much more sense to store all these things together and near the place that you use them. So you might not want to have a “cleaning cupboard.” Instead, you might want to store just the bathroom cleaners and tools in the bathroom and store the furniture polish in a living room closet.
  3. Store items in containers – I am a geek for containers. I love baskets and boxes. If they’re pretty, that’s great, but I’d much rather have them be organized so that I can find what I need when I need it. I find clear Sterilite boxes with lids to be super handy for storing toys, school supplies, and craft stuff.

Be Proud of the Transformation

I don’t know about you, but once I’ve set an area to rights, I love to brag on it, look at it, and make my husband go look at. When somethings is nice and clean, it makes you want to keep it that way, doesn’t it? So, now’s the time to show off! What did you do this past week?

One of the areas I tackled was our foyer, specifically, the shoe area and the coat closet. Our kids have always loved to kick off their shoes as soon as they come in the house. With new carpet, I’m very thankful for this deeply ingrained habit. However, our shoe area was getting to be a bit much. Last fall we started using these red buckets to corral all their shoes. Putting them away was certainly easy, but as you can see, it was somewhat of an eyesore. And some still didn’t make it in the bucket.

This is what it looked like on a good day. Usually, shoes were everywhere.

Time for some reorganization! So, I sorted out all the shoes and relegated the black rubber boots to a storage closet. They are great for rainy weather, but the rain is gone now until Fall.

I allowed each kid access to one pair of shoes downstairs. (Parents were allowed two pairs.) Then I brought out this shelf to use to hold shoes. There’s plenty of room for each person’s shoes, and it looks a lot better. this was a pretty quick fix, but one that has the potential to change the room dramatically.

Next, I tackled the coat closet. Prior to this springtime makeover, it was a jumble of scarfs, jackets, shopping bags, blankets, hats, a bocci ball, and a roll of toilet paper. Talk about your scavenger hunt fodder!

Winter coats and scarves were relegated to deeper storage, blankets to the upstairs linen closet, toilet paper to the bathroom, etc. Except for a few light jackets and some baseball caps, I really didn’t see the “need” to store much else in here, so it was an absolutely perfect storage spot for our travel and adventure bags.

As you can see, the top shelf works great for holding them until our next family field trip. Hats and extra shoes fit nicely on the closet organizer and a bag ready for the beach sits on the floor.

So, come clean!

What did you do this week? If you didn’t do anything, that’s okay. Tell us what you’re going to do — either in the comments or by linking up your post about the Spring Clean Along.

Everyone who participates through a link or a comment on this post will be entered in a giveaway for a copy of Houseworks – How to Live Clean, Green, and Organized at Home by Cynthia Townley Ewer. CEO, as she’s known on the web, founded the site, OrganizedHome which played a major part in my early homemaking years.

Giveaway will be open until Sunday night, April 25th, at 8  pm PST. Winner to be chosen at random.

What’s your favorite way to organize stuff?

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  1. I didn’t blog about it, but we got rid of 2 trash bags full of VHS tapes this weekend. They’re in the ‘donation zone’ in the garage waiting for a trip to the library or Goodwill or somewhere that still have a VCR. We don’t own one anymore. What in the world was I going to do with VHS tapes anyway?

    We also cleared out the backlog of newspapers that were supposed to go to the recycling container at church every week, oh and the magazines piled on the shelf under the coffee table went to the breakroom at work. Goodbye, clutter. Good riddance.

  2. We are moving in a little over a month. So, this year spring cleaning entails packing and getting our townhouse cleaned up and ready for a renter. Of course, all of this is on top of both my husband and I working and me finishing up my Master’s degree. Any tips for adding more hours to the day would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

  3. I spent last weekend doing a big spring cleaning. This past weekend was spent shreading all of the personal papers in the box that had overflowed.

  4. Spring cleaning hit me hard last week, literally when I slid on a toy, so I decided we had too many toys and spring cleaning I did. I have a bag of toys for charity, a bag of toys for my nephew, a bag of clothes for someone with a baby, who money is tight for and I felt 100% lighter. I keep a yearly list of various spring cleaning projects around the house, but the toys just seem to grow and I don’t keep on top of them like the rest of the house, so I finally spring cleaned the toys and it was great. A renewal.

  5. I have not started big spring clean yet…In two weeks I will become SAHM and have big plans for cleaning out the play room while the kids are at school.

  6. Okay, you just don’t have enough stuff… your pictures depressed me even more because the areas that were “disorganized” still looked manageable to me. And, when you were done, the spaces looked empty. As for my areas they are straight MADNESS, pure foolishness & mayhem as Neicey Nash would say. If I sent you my photos, you’d probably post & ask the others Moms to pray for me… Lol, but seriously it’s bad with a capital “B”. I start in a room, get overwhelmed & simply end up taking things from area to the next or in some emergency cases when unexpected guests come, I grab a box & dump & Now I have 3 very large boxes to go through…. andas much as I ‘d like to trash them since it’s been awhile, I know there’s important stuff or photos in them. HELP!!

  7. I’m trying my best to get organized in our 1929 house with two tiny closets, a shed (that still creeps me out to go into) and no garage!

  8. I’m not really ‘following along’ like I should be because I am LAZY. But I manage to sort laundry in my daughter’s room (which is now the laundry storage area, cuz all she needs is a crib), get things off the floor to actually vacuum, and clean MY room and vacuum. All in all, it was a successful day, I think. I need to remember to do before and after pictures to guilt myself into not letting it get this bad again.

    I do read your posts, and they are what gets me motivated to clean and declutter, because I want a clean house too. Its stressful when its all full of crumbs and toys and clothes and useless things.

  9. I am in Spring Clean madness at home.

    The pantry is ready, with all the food I bought with coupons, looks like a minimarket, I love all the food in one place.

    We decided last year that the Christmas staff will not be in the attic anymore (Thanks God as my DH is having heart problems and will not be able to pick up heavy boxes anymore), so they are going to be storage in the garage. I am working now in the garage, it will take couple weeks.

    I am trying to go around every area of the house by Summer.

    Maria T O

  10. Last week I had a break from school and I cleaned out all the closets, the guest/craft room that had become the “hurry clean up-people are coming” room, and rearranged my cleaners/ cupboards to make them more baby friendly. I now have a whole trunk full of stuff to go to the DI and a workable crafting space! I love me some organized space! Thanks for giving me somewhere to brag! I also make my hubby come look at my cleaned up spaces.

  11. I am tackling my Master Bedroom this month… yes, it may take me the whole month to do it but that’s okay because I want to finish one area and be proud of it. I am cleaning out my closet to switch clothes for the summer and am making myself give away or sell many items even though they are still “good”. I know I don’t wear them and someone else can. Freecycle is a great way to give them to someone who needs them.

  12. Cleaning out boxes of curriculum and scrapbooking supplies, reorganizing boxes in garage, organizing recipe binders, and finishing shredding papers from last week.

  13. I like baskets and bins, large or small. Unfortunately, they don’t deter kid messes. I have managed some spring cleaning and have dealt with a half dozen “hot spots” around the house. Those always give me a pretty good feeling.

  14. Love to organize with containers but somehow my grandchildren and daughter never put things back–I need a full time organizer to live at my house

  15. Just found your site and am excited about beginning my decluttering. Used to be much more organized but have kept a lot of stuff since having kids and in the hopes of having more. Finding that space is better than stuff, though, and looking forward to gaining more of it! 🙂

  16. I put in two links. I’ve gotten rid of even more than that, but it was kind of random and scattered, although it was five full boxes of things that I took to the Salvation Army. There’s more in the garage that I still need to take after I get it all listed on paper for tax purposes.

  17. I am in serious need of doing this. I haven’t done anything – I am like angela, my house is BAD (ok hoarders makes me look good, but I’m still not in the clear by far). I am a clutter queen and am a very visual person so putting paperwork away etc means I forget about it – not good.

    I haven’t done anything (except fuss and yell about clutter when I need something) but I am planning to go through some kids clothes to donate, pass along…I need a shovel.

  18. I’m not going to focus on one area of my home as much as I am one thing – finally getting all the winter clothes put away. That will help clear out some clutter.

  19. I’m expecting my fourth in a couple of weeks and the “nesting” urge hit me about a month ago. I spent 4 hours one afternoon cleaning out our file cabinets and after that I tackled the kitchen. And over the past few weeks, I’ve had the urge to clean out every closet in my house. I depend on checklists to stay organized- I love the satisfaction of crossing things off my “To Do” list!