Let the Fresh Air In and the Clutter Out
Ask the Organizer
By, Mrs. Devora Farrell
Tired of breathing the same air over and over again while endlessly stuck inside to avoid unnecessary risk? We can all relate. With just a few tasks, you can welcome in a fresh, energizing breeze to chase away all the cobwebs and infuse your space with new potential. Let’s start with the Master Bedroom to practice tasks to bring in the feeling of Spring. With a small amount of tailoring, these can work for almost any room in almost any home. Not in order of priority, nor are they all necessary. Springboard, people. Springboard.
- Schedule a home pickup of items to be donated as soon as possible, followed by another one two weeks later by the charity of your choice (most people are embarrassed to have nothing prepared, so this is a great motivator)
- Open the windows (screens closed and secured)
- Breath deeply. Again.
- Put a box/bag outside the door of every room for things to be put away/discarded/donated, to address only when room is complete
- Any “not sure”s go into that container as well
- Clear each horizontal surface (including “The Chair,” Eve), one at a time
- Dust/Wipe down each now-cleared space, one at a time
- Any item that can be stored inside a drawer (not immediately visible) goes there
- Nothing gets put back “just for now” — current reading material can go in a nightstand drawer, rather than on top; remember about the “not sure”s
- Going drawer by drawer and shelf by shelf, remove contents, sort by category/color, with strong attention paid to letting of anything/everything you can easily live without/never liked/doesn’t fit/no longer serves its intended purpose/is broken or missing pieces/wouldn’t rebuy if getting to decide anew
- Vacuum/wipe out/reline any drawers/shelves that need it
- Breathe deeply. Again.
- Up to down, right to left (if a righty)
- Where does something belong? Where is the first place you’d start looking for it? Where would you most likely use it? That’s where it goes
- Fold each bed pillow and let go — only if it immediately returns to its initial degree of unfolded fluffiness is it still in good shape. Lower quality pillows flatten and pretty much stay that way. If you prefer a flatter pillow, buy a firm one. If purchased at an amazingly low price at a store that does not have a bedding area with several choices, it’s probably not good quality
- Strip the linens in each bedroom, one at a time, to air out
- Keep only complete linen sets (no, nobody wants incomplete sets of used linen, with or without stains), about 2-3 per bed, and all in the same color palette to coordinate (not necessary matching) with everything else
- Launder heavier blankets to be stored until seasonally appropriate, while airing out lighter blankets (washed at end of summer) to layer as needed
- Breathe deeply. Again.
- Mattresses need a protective, fitted covering under the fitted sheet (waterproof if needed); pillows need one under the pillowcase/sham (prevents staining or yellowing)
- Singleton socks? Chuck ‘em unless you have a sock puppet business
- Singleton sock prevention — each family member who cannot do their own laundry gets assigned one brand/one color of socks. Have enough to only need to do laundry once a week or so. As individual socks get eaten by the sock monster living in the washer, their wearer still has a bunch of others to wear without having to look for this one
- Replace all smoke alarm batteries
- Dust all top surfaces
- Vacuum under/behind all furniture
- Breathe deeply. Again.
- Remove and launder curtains
- Replace light bulbs with Leds
- Wash trash can, inside and out, reline and store additional liners in base of can to have new, clean ones immediately accessible
- Rethink/Remove/Straighten home decor, spackling nail holes (consider Command strips instead of nails to avoid holes)
- Clean glass/mirrors (newspaper sheets — with disposable gloves to prevent newsprint transfer — leave an especially streak free finish)
- Any drawer/shelf/closet whose amount of contents make it hard to take out or return any item quickly and easily needs to be downsized further
- Do not build a shed/rent a storage space/buy a bigger house as a strategy to avoid letting go of things
- Anything needing repair? Make a list
- Anything a coat of paint might solve?
- Inexpensive refresh idea: change out drawer knobs
- Magic Eraser removes most marks on walls or other smooth surfaces
- Hide cords under or behind furniture
- Clean fixtures (including bugs in ceiling lights, I know, EW!)
- Look at the MB from different vantage points (doorway, closet, bed…) and notice where your eyes rest or can’t rest. The latter category is your definition of visual clutter
- Start removing or simply moving anything that does not evoke calm or coziness
- What would you like within arm’s distance from your bed? Tissues? Skin cream? Reading glasses? Journal and pen? Access to cold drinks? (Some people have a minifridge) Current reading material?
- What do you not want in your room? Tools? File drawers? Luggage? Desk? Household’s laundry basket? Children’s things? White board? Bookcase? Craft supplies? Yes, you do get to choose
Breathe deeply. Again.
All of this? Am I kidding? Trust yourself to know whether any of this applies to you. If reading it excites you, go forth and conquer. If any of this makes you anxious or feel incompetent, you have my permission to turn it into confetti. One thing, though, make sure that all of those teeny, tiny pieces find their way into a proper receptacle.
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