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Happy spring: Clean your clutter

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Thursday, March 20, 2014: The vernal (spring) equinox arrived last week to let us know that the days will once again be getting longer and, for that, we are pleased as punch.

With longer, sunnier days comes the hope of renewal, rebirth — and clean houses. Spring cleaning may seem like a chore, but with a little planning and elbow grease, you can tidy up your home in nothing flat.

These five ideas will get you started toward breaths of fresh(er) air:

  1. Turn up the music and sing out loud, and light some incense (or burn a scented candle) while you clean. Make the experience as fun as possible, so you won’t dread it the next time it comes around.
  2. Start the laundry first. Wash all (all!) of the bedding in your home, including sheets, pillow cases and pillow covers, mattress pads, comforter covers and throws. While they’re in the washer and dryer, you'll be ridding the house of dust bunnies and clutter.
  3. Focus on clearing the clutter. Notice where you have piles of papers that have yet to be addressed. For 30 minutes, go through as many piles as you can, taking care of each item by taking care of it, throwing it away (recycling when an option) or filing it away with important papers. Take a break, and repeat until the paper piles are eradicated.
  4. Edit the collectible clutter. Are you a collector? Are your knickknacks taking over your space? Take a good, hard look at what is sitting out on shelves, tables and counters. Do you love it? Does it have true sentimental value? Great — clean it and keep it. Not so much? Or is it broken, does it clash with your décor or would it find more appreciation in someone else’s possession? Then donate it, sell it (think garage sale, eBay, Craigslist) or give it away. Once it’s gone, there’s a tremendous chance that you won’t miss it — not one iota.
  5. Clean out your refrigerator. Take everything out and wipe down the shelves and walls. When returning food to the fridge, throw out anything that’s spoiled or out of date (including condiments — they really don’t last forever) and clean off any gunk that may have accumulated on the outside of bottles.

If it's all just too much for you, enlist the help of a relative or friend. If those opinions are too personal, consider hiring a professional. Wichita has several organizing and decluttering services, including Sandra's Organizing Solutions, Storage by Design and My Essential Space.

Now, you remember exactly what you have, and it’s all clean and fresh. Time to enjoy spring!

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