April Showers Have Us Thinking About…..Cleaning!
I bet you thought we were going to say, “April showers bring May flowers!” That might be true, but at thE Concierge, all the rain that typically accompanies the month of April has us thinking about a clean, fresh start instead. Just as rain washes away much of winter’s grime in April, so too do we start thinking about spring cleaning, decluttering and refreshing our homes. It seems an especially important task this year as many of our homes are often also doubling as workspace and a school too! For the month of April our focus will be on spring-cleaning; tips for getting organized and getting rid of things and perhaps how to tackle some of those larger projects like a garage or pantry. Big jobs require some careful planning so today we’ll start with two of the easier tasks – closets and pantries.
Planning Makes Perfect!
When it comes to spring-cleaning, you actually want to sit down and do a little pre-planning first. You’ll want to think about what makes sense to do first and what should wait a few weeks. There’s probably no point in cleaning your carpet during the muddy, rainy spring – particularly if you have a pet! That’s a project better suited to early summer. I wouldn’t start in your garage either! You might need it for some temporary storage as you clean out the house and, a garage declutter will generally require the cooperation of the weather. We’ll talk more about that in our next blog. For now, here is your spring-cleaning “To Do” list and as always, if you need help with any of these tasks, thE Concierge exists for the sole reason of making your life easier! We can help declutter your space, cart away your previously loved items or simply do the grocery shopping for you while you focus on the window cleaning!
Who will be doing the sorting, the cleaning and the carting away? Services like those at thE Concierge can help, but so too can your family. Even little ones can help sort their toys choosing what to donate and what to keep. Teens and young adults are particularly useful when it comes to climbing a ladder to wash a window! After all, they’re young and chances are they can handle it. Designate not only the tasks to be done but also who is going to do them. A teen with a driver license might be more helpful if their task is to drive the items to the recycling centre rather than scrubbing behind the toilet in the bathroom!
Everything doesn’t need to be done all in one day. In fact, that’s impossible. Determine a schedule that works best for both you and your family. If you have young adults, remember April is typically exam time at university and college so they may not have a lot of spare time to help right now. Set aside only one day each weekend so you still have one day to schedule some time for yourself and the family.
Part of your pre-planning process should include determining where your items can be donated or disposed of. Check out the website of the charitable organization you have chosen to ensure you know exactly WHAT can be donated and what NOT to include. What are the hours for dropping off items and are there are any special COVID restrictions currently in place. In Caledon you might consider Evolve Clothing affiliated with Caledon Community Exchange and in Orangeville, As We Grow and Finders Keepers both help support Family Transition Place. If your closet clean out also resulted in broken hangers, an unusable suitcase, broken toys or other non-donations, you may want to consider a trip to the Community Recycling Centre closest to you.
As for what takes priority in your house that’s an individual thing. On the days when the sun IS shining, it might be windows that need cleaning. Typically, that’s a once or twice a year task and after all the snow, ice, hail and rain – spring is a great time to clean them. Alternatively, an indoor declutter is also a good idea this time of year and a great rainy day activity. Our suggestion, as I hinted at earlier, is to start with closets and pantries.
Closets can benefit from storing your clean, winter sweaters, jackets and pants while you sort out your spring and summer wardrobe.
Before you start, designate a box or laundry basket to the task for collecting items to donate.
My rule of thumb is no rips, tears, stains or missing buttons. Make sure the item is still in good condition and if it’s not – consider tearing it into strips for rags for cleaning purposes!
Consider a small investment in the kind of clear, plastic bags you can vacuum seal. They save space and help keep clothes clean too. This is the time to get ruthless. If you didn’t wear it once this past winter – chances are it’s time to donate it. If it’s a size too small or too big get rid of it.
Use this time to reorganize your cupboard too. Hang like with like for simplicity sake. (Pants with pants, suit jackets with suit jackets and separate out coloured and white shirts or blouses, sleeveless tops and tanks etc.) It will make life a whole lot easier in the morning when you’re getting dressed.
Employing this same method in your kid’s bedrooms will make it easier for them to select their own clothing too. It’s easier to select what you can clearly see.
As for pantries – the other project we referenced as perfect for a rainy day – the task is a little simpler! You are looking for anything that got pushed to the back of the cupboard and chances are it’s going in the trash!
Stale dated items; spices that have been in the rack far too long, (or never used) as well as some baking items (yes, even flour has a “shelf life”) should all be tossed out.
My general rule of thumb for this task is “if in doubt, throw it out!”
If you are feeling particularly ambitious, you might consider investing in storage containers for frequently used items such as flour and sugar and cereal as they often take up less space, are easy for even young children to reseal, and they help to prevent spills and crumbs in cupboards.
Make sure items are clearly labelled and that containers are big enough otherwise you might end up with both a half empty box of cereal AND a container full of cereal too! Take this opportunity to reorganize your pantry as well placing items used most often within easy reach and storing the pan used once a year for the holiday turkey higher up and out of the way.
Like your closets, store “like with like” items (think – baking ingredients, bakeware and cupcake sleeves all in the same place) for ease of access to all.
That’s all for now! I’m estimating there are two weekends between now and our next blog and chances are, one of them at least will be a rainy one. You’ve got two big projects head of you – your closets and your pantry – but with a little preplanning, some help and some elbow grease
I know you can do it! If you can’t or simply don’t want to, consider giving thE Concierge a call, organization and helping people find balance is in our nature!