In Search of a Clutter-Free Summer

Memorial Day — the unofficial start of summer— has come and gone. If you’re anything like us at The Organizing Blog, you probably used the long weekend to plant some flowers, take a bike ride, visit with friends and/or have a cookout. Fine pursuits!

But do you know what can make one’s enjoyment of those pursuits (and most others) even better? #Organization! A #clutter-free environment knows no season — and it can provide you with the #clarity you need to truly live in the moment.

Think about it: A cluttered space demands attention. Maybe you waste a lot of time looking for things among the stacks of papers, piles of laundry and dusty gewgaws. Or maybe wrangling all that #stuff leaves you with little down time.

Summer is a great time to get those things under control. With good weather and a few hours each week, you can conquer that #clutter — and enjoy all of the seasons to come.

Start with the #garage. Has that #space attracted a lot of stuff that doesn’t have a home elsewhere ? Go through it and ask yourself why you hide #junk there and if you’ll ever really need those things again. Weed out what you don’t have a use for and set it aside.

Along the way, fine-tune your storage of the things that do have a purpose — even if that purpose is occasional, such as holiday decorations. Sort “like” items into labeled bins and boxes that you can find and access easily without a lot of hunting. Shelve or stack them thoughtfully, and you’ll be creating new space!

Next, do the same for the basement. Organizing your below-ground space likely will have the added benefit of helping you keep cool while you work. Set aside the things for which you don’t have a purpose or can’t find a place, and put them in boxes and bags.

See that growing pile of #junk? Slap some price tags on those things and have a quick #garage or #yard #sale. Or click though to ClothingDonations.org to arrange a #free #donation #pickup. You’ll be #helping the nation’s #veterans and be ready to enjoy the rest of the summer #clutter-free!

Kickstart Spring Cleaning for an Early Spring

Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early #spring, and it looks like his prophecy will be accurate this year. Temperatures are breaking records across the Midwest and Northeast, and crocuses and daffodils popping up in gardens weeks ahead of schedule. With an early spring, why not get the jump on spring #cleaning? Good tasks to tackle early in the year include cleaning windows and entryways, washing and storing winter outerwear, and pressure-washing the patio and outdoor furniture, Premeditated Leftovers says. Start now, and you’ll be ready to enjoy the warm weather when it it’s here to stay. #SpringCleaning

Junk Hides in the Most Obvious Places

In a consumer society, household #junk tends to build up. You go out and buy the latest fashions, gadgets and gewgaws, and they either become a part of the daily routine or your personal style, or they don’t.

Lots of that #stuff is probably packed away in boxes or hidden in the backs of #closets, with only a dim memory of their purpose remaining. But still more stuff is likely hiding in plain sight — and making your home a #cluttered #mess.

Think about it: Do you have stacks of #clothing where they shouldn’t be — anywhere outside your closets and dressers? Are mail and paperwork piling up on your desk? Is the kitchen table or entryway littered with new purchases or decorative items?

You are not alone. Most homes have “dump” zones where new stuff or stuff that hasn’t been integrated into the everyday lands. The trouble is that sometimes this stuff doesn’t find a spot for months or even years, especially if you have a smaller space.

All of this piled-up #clutter can easily make you feel overwhelmed. “It usually isn’t until the walls are closing in or someone brings those things to our attention that we do something about it,” says California-based Organizing Concepts & Designs.

What can you do? Find ways to tame those piles and places for those things. Go room to room and make an honest assessment of what needs to be in sight and readily accessible, and what can be hidden in storage or dispensed with altogether.

You might find that you need more shelves to display your knickknacks, a filing cabinet for your office, an underbed box for your extra linens or a new #storage system for your #closet. Don’t hesitate to install them; cost-effective solutions are available.

As you take stock of your stuff, you will find things hiding in plain sight that you no longer want or need. #Donate them to ClothingDonations.org by scheduling a free #donation #pickup for your #purge. Keep at it, and soon you’ll enjoy a #clutter-free, #organized home.

Dog Days: Decluttering With Pets

If you have #pets, you know that they can contribute to the #clutter and #grime that your home attracts. And the “dog days” of summer are as good a time as any to discover a few strategies to keep your space #organized and #tidy — whether you have a #dog, #cat, or some other furry, scaly or feathered friend.

First, tackle #decluttering #KonMari-style. “When going through your dog or cat’s items, focus on which of them bring your pet the most joy or serve a true purpose,” FreshPet says. “They usually make it pretty clear what they like and don’t like. Keep only the items that make your #pet the happiest.”

Try not to get too sentimental about pet possessions. If there’s something that has particular significance such as your pup’s first collar, frame it. Most other items can be discarded; #donate lightly used items to a local animal shelter or ClothingDonations.org. If something holds memories but is of little use, take a picture of it before letting it go.

Life Storage suggests creating pet “stations” around the house, designating bins and baskets for grooming items, outdoor/exercise needs, toys, and food and treats. If you house your pet in a crate, cage or aquarium, keep any related supplies #organized nearby for convenient care and maintenance.

PopSugar offers a list of 10 pet #organization products “sure to make your life easier,” or you can DIY your own storage solutions. Get creative with #thrift-store finds, shop the container section of a local hardware store or build an organizer. Consider labeling all boxes, baskets and bins as an additional #streamlining strategy.

Once your pet #stuff is organized and in its proper places, you won’t be tripping over toys or wasting time wondering where the leash went. And your home will be easier to #clean, too! Pets shed, track in dirt and leave other messes in their wake. But that’s a topic that The Organizing Blog will revisit another day. Enjoy the dog days!

Start Storing Those Seasonal Items

Make some of your #spring #cleaning chores seasonal, The Spruce says, in order to get ready for warmer weather. Clean the grill, patio and garden furniture as soon as daytime temperatures warm up; also wash the windows to take advantage of sunnier days. You can also start sorting your heaviest sweaters, coats, flannel sheets and woolen blankets into #storage bins for next winter; you won’t need them in just a few weeks. If you find anything you just don’t want, donate it to ClothingDonations.org.