Tips to make spring cleaning a success

  • By Danielle Braff Chicago Tribune
  • Thursday, March 27, 2014 4:40pm
  • Life

The first step toward spring cleaning is organization. Tackle that first and you’re halfway there.

Embrace your inner shover: If you prefer hooks over hangers, dropping over folding and bins without lids, then you’re a “shover,” said Erica Ecker, professional organizer with New York’s The Spacialist.

“Shovers are broad organizers, not granular ones,” Ecker said. “They prefer open space. They believe that less categorization is better for them.”

Two-year rule: If you haven’t used something or worn it in two years, then it’s time to say goodbye, said Nina Smith, of The Container Store. “These items take up valuable space and probably won’t be missed,” she said.

Set up activity zones: This is best for arranging a kitchen. Kitchens have four main areas: Prep, baking, cooking and washing. “Place the towels near the sink, the knives near the cutting boards in the same area that you actually prep, the pots and pans and stove-top gadgets near the stove,” said Karen Duncan, a professional organizer based in Florida.

Sort and purge: “Put like with like so you can easily decide if you really want to keep a specific item,” Duncan said.

Label your wires: Don’t bother spending the money on a cable zipper or a tube to stow your wires, Ecker said. Instead, get a label-maker, punch in the name of the wire (printer or hard drive, etc.), print it out and wrap that label around it near the plug end.

Finally, use grip-twist or gear ties to wrangle the whole bunch into one unit, or individual cable ties to corral excess cords.

Discover secret storage: “Take, for instance, that gigantic lobster pot that you used three times in the last seven years,” Ecker said. “It’s great for stashing one-time items for their annual use like leftover July Fourth, Christmas or Halloween paper goods, she said.

You can also use empty space in pantry, linen and clothing closets for undershelf baskets.

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