House cleaning

Spring house cleaning is a chore that practically no one looks forward to, yet every spring we seem to be struck by the "anti-clutter bug." Closets seem to burst with items collected over the year and may even tumble down when you open the door, and the garage can barely hold the car. While you have the urge to complete this task, procrastination often prevents us from going through with it. Here are some tips to make your house cleaning and decluttering go faster and in a more organized fashion:

You don't have to make a day of the entire project. A lot of people start out with the best of intentions-to muck the house out in one fell swoop. The result is that they soon lose interest because the chore proves to be overwhelming, and the clutter is left to accumulate for another season while you feel bad and eat a bag of chips.

Before you even start, call your local charity that picks up donations and make an appointment for them to stop by. Now you have a deadline and thus, a goal! Make sure the pick up day is realistic in relation to your house cleaning; you'll probably have to go through the closets and store the donation pile in the garage, saving that area for last, and then taking it all to the curb the night before the scheduled pick up.

Start with the worst closet and go from there. One closet on one weekend day should be sufficient to keep the spring house cleaning bug at bay, and help you feel as if you've actually accomplished something. (If you're working on the garage, you may choose to use an entire weekend.) Take a deep breath and pull everything out of the closet and onto the floor. Don't stop to sort through, just shove it all out at once. Then start sorting the pile. One pile should be "keepers," one for "donate," and one for "take to the dump." Making the choice to donate or take items to the dump will be easier for those of you who have a propensity for being a pack rat by following this simple rule of thumb; if you haven't thought about where it is or used it within the last six months, it could probably be donated or trashed.

Use translucent storage bins to organize items to be kept but re-stored in the garage, a tall metal shelf can be purchased at any home improvement outlet, and sorting items into bins pre labeled will make your house cleaning go by that much faster. You can even buy colored bins for holidays-green and red for Christmas and orange and black for Halloween decorations. Use a clean, 33 gallon garbage can lined with a bag and set it right next to where you are sorting, it will save a ton of time and back strain instead of lugging out individual garbage bags as you fill them.

With a little forethought and a plan, you can turn the seemingly endless task of organizing and major house cleaning for the year into a few weekends well worth your time.