A Professional Organizer's Spring Cleaning Routine
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Spring is here, and that means it's time to spring clean everything. And who better to give us his latest and greatest tips than our resident organizational guru Peter Walsh?
#1 Keep Your Car Mess In Check
If you're a messy car person, Peter has two tricks for you.
First, he suggests getting into the following routine — every time you refuel your car, spend five minutes going through it and throwing out all of the trash at the gas station.
Also, consider getting simple crates, like milk crates, for your car. Throw them in your trunk and keep one for your groceries (so they don't roll around) and use the other for miscellaneous items. Then, when you arrive at home, you can just grab the crates and bring them inside.
#2 Store Your Gift Cards All In One Place
"For the last 10 years, gift cards have been the single most requested gift during the holiday season," Peter says. "And every year there is a billion dollars unspent [through] gift cards."
No more of that! Peter wants you to create a money box. Go around your home and find gift cards, coupons and anything else of that nature and put them in that box. Before you go shopping, check it and save!
#3 Use The 5-To-1 Rule For Your Shoes
Our expert has a simple way for you to decide what shoes stay and what shoes go.
Take all of your shoes and line them up, arranged by type (heels, flats, sneakers). Then, go down the row and remove all the ones you never wear. After getting rid of those pairs, try the 5-to-1 rule. For every five of the same type you've chosen to keep, choose one pair that will go.
And be sure to donate any shoes that are still in wearable condition, Peter suggests.
#4 Put Your Kitchen Tools To The One-Month Box Test
Peter's got a test for you (and we think you can ace it!) — the one-month box test.
Take every single small kitchen tool or gadget (like tongs, rollers, whisks, etc.) out of *that* drawer and place them into a box.
"For the next month, every time you use an item, wash it and put it back in the drawer," Peter says.
At the end of the few weeks, if an item is still in the box, really consider if you should hold onto it or send it off to charity. (If it's seasonal gear like a turkey baster, we *get* why it hasn't been used!)
As for dreaded storage container clutter, Peter advises that you "bite the bullet" and buy a really good set of glass storage containers that stack easily. Not to mention they have standardized lids and are a cinch to clean.
As for your many plastic storage containers, he recommends holding onto some if you ever want to give a dinner guest leftovers, but get rid of the rest.
#5 Wash Winter Off The Outside Of Your Home
"Over the winter, your house gets grimy and covered in dirt that you don't even notice," Peter says.
To rectify that, use soapy water and wash down outdoor light fixtures and the front door. Then, if you can, hose down the house.
#6 Follow The 10-Minute Run-Around Rule Every (Yes, Every) Day
Peter's 10-minute run-around rule means that at the end of every day, he and his family go around his family room making sure items are put away, the cushions look good and the blankets are in place.
#7 Don't Neglect Your Ceiling Fan
Cleaning your ceiling fan may seem daunting, but Peter has an ingenious solution. He places a pillowcase over the fan blade and then pulls the pillowcase back to remove the dirt. After, spray each blade with warm soapy water and give it a wipe down. Watch him demonstrate in the video below!
#8 Be Picky About Your Storage
Peter loves plastic storage bins, but not just any plastic storage bins — ones with handles. Not only because they're easy to carry, but because they stack beautifully, allowing you to maximize space in your storage cabinets.
#9 Separate Your Dish Towels
In Peter's house, he has two drawers for dish towels. The top drawer holds nicer towels — which are great for everyday use — while the bottom has older, less appealing towels used for cleaning.
#10 Use Vertical Dividers To Store Large Kitchen Items
Wondering how to store larger items in your kitchen? Peter uses vertical dividers to help keep large plates and platters in place. Since these items are used infrequently, he stores them in a less accessible place. But for everyday prep items, like baking sheets and cutting boards, he stores them in dividers in a more accessible area.
For heavy kitchen items, Peter has metal pullout racks in his cupboards. Plus, he keeps his heavier appliances, like a mixer, waist-high so that they're easy to pull out without straining his back. So smart!
#11 Get Your Carpet On a Cleaning Schedule
Peter suggests vacuuming your carpet once a week and steam-cleaning it twice a year.
"You will be amazed at the sparkly difference," he says.
#12 Organize Your Bedding
If you're like Peter, you have different-sized beds in your house. So, Peter organizes his linen drawers based on size (Twin, Queen, King, etc.), and labels those drawers accordingly. And because he only uses all-white linen sheets, he writes either a "Q" for Queen or a "K" for King on the sheets in an inconspicuous place. Sneaky, we like it!
#13 Wash. That. Bath. Mat.
We understand wanting to put this off, but Peter stresses that spring cleaning day is THE day to roll these bad boys up and wash them. (You can do it!)