Clean Your Storage Spaces Ahead of Spring

Is your closet, basement or utility room crammed with extra stuff that you don’t need or want? Target these areas first as you begin your spring cleaning, says Reader’s Digest, and arrange a donation pickup — or multiple pickups — with so that the junk can’t stick around. By the time it’s time to swap out sweaters and scarves for shorts and swimwear, you’ll have tons of closet space for the items you really want to keep in your wardrobe for next year — and you’ll have cleared the path for a serious springtime scrubdown of your space.

Declutter and Sort Before You Spring-Clean

Decluttering is a hassle because clutter is such a burden, says The Humbled Homemaker, but it’s the first thing you should do when launching your spring cleaning. Use the “keep, donate, trash” system as you tackle each room of the home, and set aside boxes and bags of extra stuff you’d like to donate with a convenient pickup from and get rid of that clutter out of the house once and for all. Before you put the “keepers” back in their proper places, however, remember to wipe down that shelf or drawer, and you’ll have a good start on a general deep-cleaning.

The Declutterer’s Favorite Day

For those engaged in the war on clutter, today is the biggest holiday of the year. True, it may be better recognized across the pond, and there’s a good chance you won’t have the day off to celebrate. What’s more, the occasion’s original purpose isn’t even what many Americans think it is.

But the day after Christmas — Boxing Day — is truly a fantastic time to take inventory of all of the new stuff that came into your home during the holidays, begin taking down those festive decorations, and decide what you want to keep and store.

The likeliest explanation behind Boxing Day’s beginnings says that British nobles and merchants would reward workers for their year of service with boxes of food on the day after Christmas.

Today, however, the event is commonly assumed to be the day people should box up the special-occasion china, Christmas ornaments and gifts that accumulated under the tree, and clean the house for everyday use. And why not? Entertaining guests and exchanging gifts produces both trash and treasure.

Whether you can start your Boxing Day decluttering on Dec. 26 or not, start with the trash. Gather up the shredded wrapping paper, kinked ribbons, dog-eared greeting cards, cracked ornaments, chipped glassware and burned-out lights … and chuck ’em. You don’t want to be unpacking anything less-than-perfect 11 months from now.

Next, there are going to be things you got (or got out) for the holidays that you just don’t like enough to pack away for next year: holiday supplies, mismatched decorations, tired tchotchkes and other odds-and-ends. If they no longer fit your holiday scheme and are in decent shape, don’t hide them in a closet! Bag them up and set them aside.

Now, find a place for the new stuff you and your family received as gifts. Is any of it an upgraded version of something you already have? You really don’t need that old sweater, extra gadget or whatever it is — you have a brand-new one! Bag or box those duplicates.

Note: If you really want to do a complete post-Christmas cleanup, get rid of two things for every new thing you try to integrate into your home and life, says Zen Habits. That way, you’ll get to enjoy your new gifts in a more clutter-free environment.

Finally, take all of those bagged and boxed castoffs and contact to schedule a pickup. Within weeks, a truck will take those unwanted items off your hands, and they will be resold to support programs benefitting veterans.

And that will help make the New Year happier for you, your family and those who served. Here’s to a clutter-free 2018!

Decorations Need Decluttering, Too

Part of any holiday decluttering should be to get rid of the decorations you don’t want, can’t use or are saving for no good reason. Strings of lights that don’t work, for example, should be among the things you eliminate from your home immediately, Apartment Therapy says; admit to yourself that you probably aren’t going to fix them. Toss those greeting cards from Christmases past, too, and any specialty baking accessories — cookie cutters, colored sugars, etc. — you no longer use. Finally, donate surplus ornaments and holiday tchotchkes to, where they can find new homes while helping fund veterans’ programs.

Save Your Sale for After Labor Day

Every year on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Labor Day weekend, the Hwy. 61 Yard Sale offers flea-market finds along a more than 61-mile stretch of road from Festus to Jackson, Mo. But Labor Day is not necessarily the best time to have your own yard or garage sale, according to The Spruce, since so many families will be celebrating the last gasp of summer with a vacation or other plans. The good news? You’ll have more time to declutter and sort your stuff before you post those sale signs the weekend after!