Practical Tips on Preparing for a House Clean-up

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One of the main reasons we never get around to this task is that it’s overwhelming.  As a result, it looms over our heads for months, even years.  The trick is to realize that tackling one of these spaces is not really a “big project†but rather the sum of several small projects. Viewing it this way makes it manageable.  Even so, don’t expect to organize these rooms in a day, or even a week. After all, it took some time for them to get the way they are! Here are the basics to get you started:

1.  Armed with pen and paper, go to each area.  Analyze the room and make a list of the “small projects†that will comprise the organizing job, such as gardening tools, your old high school clothes, piles of outdated magazines, and “mystery boxes.â€

2.  Gather the supplies you’ll need.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Cardboard boxes

Label them: CLOTHING CONSIGNMENT, LIBRARY DONATIONS, GARAGE SALE, GIVE-AWAY, BELONGS ELSEWHERE IN THE HOUSE, TRASH, etc.

  • Recycling bins for plastic and newspapers.
  • Extra light – a clip-on light with an extension cord will allow you to see into the dark corners.
  • Music to keep everybody motivated.

3.  Schedule a time to clean out.  Weekends and holidays are great because you can enlist family members to help…especially if some of the accumulation is theirs!

4.  On Clean-Out Day, assign each person an area, such as a shelf in the garage or a pile of boxes in the basement.  Provide parameters on what to keep and what to toss.  Be ruthless—if you don’t know when you are going to use it again, it needs to go.  (And think twice before dumping something there again a few months from now.  Does it really belong there, or are you just postponing a decision about finally throwing it away?)

5. Once you have pared down the bare essentials, you’re ready to reorganize!  Gradually you’ll uncover storage possibilities you never dreamed of!

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