When my kids were younger they were strangely addicted to “Clean Sweep.” Come to mention it, so was I! “Clean Sweep” was a weekly television show that helped families organize their home. They didn’t simply do a surface clean like you might expect from a maid service–they did a top to bottom cleaning of the room including every cupboard and drawer.
Maybe that’s where my love for organization comes from, I don’t know. But I do know that I love the look and feel of an organized little house.
I’ve come to learn a few rules over time. Some I picked from the show, and others I’ve gleaned through experience.
With that said, I’d like to share them with you, so let’s dig in and get started on your clean sweep!
Start by emptying the room completely. Yes, completely. If you’re cleaning your kid’s bedroom, I want every drawer taken out of the dresser, every hanger removed from the closet, and the bed taken out of the room. The idea here is to start with a blank canvas, just as you would if you were painting a picture. Put it into a room where you can sort it all out.
Set a timer and sort your stuff into three piles: keep, sell/giveaway, or toss. Don’t take all that much time on this step. You have a limit of 30 minutes to do this.
Sort the keep pile. This is where you want to take a little more time to think about what you really need and what you can part with. The goal is to part with unnecessary items to free up space and to make cleaning easier in the future. Trust me, when your home has room to breathe it’s a lot more comfortable. When deciding what to keep and what to toss, I always stick to these four basic rules. You’ll see that they are the same rules I used in “Toss Out 25 Things.”
- Hold onto things if you must for sentimental reasons, but if you’re not using the item, either throw it away (if it’s garbage) or give it away. A lighter load will bring a sense of peace to your home.
- Keep things that you find pretty or useful. If it’s not pretty enough to display and it has no use to you, why do you hold on to it?
- If you have to think about it for a while, you probably don’t need the item.
- Don’t feel guilty about getting rid of junk. Remember that there are plenty of charity organizations that can resell used items. Think of it as a donation.
Give the room a thorough cleaning before anything comes back in. Wash or vacuum the floor, wipe down the walls, Wash the windows. Clean the blinds or wash the curtains.
Move your stuff back in, and while you do, consider creative ways to organize. You can do this with drawer dividers, bookshelves, baskets, or plastic containers from the dollar store. I’m always on the look out for creative storage solutions and I pick them up when they’re on sale.
Make sure every item has a home, and remember where that home is. Take a few photos if you think you might forget where everything goes. This is especially helpful for kids.