Spring cleaning is more than just packing up the doldrums of the Seattle winter. It is about a fresh, clean start and a bright future. Instead of just storing winter items and pulling out the summer ones, try organizing the entire living space. It is easy and extremely rewarding in the end. Below are five areas to focus on organizing for the optimal spring clean.
The kitchen is a daunting space to organize, and most people don’t use the space in the kitchen efficiently. With these tricks and techniques, achieving and maintaining organization is a snap.
- Group like items together in the cabinets. Put baking items on one shelf and cereal on another. This prevents the unnecessary searching for that elusive jar of peanut butter.
- Buy a free-standing shelf to place on an existing shelf. This way, small plates and large plates can be stacked in one spot providing easy access to both sets.
- Tupperware is always an organizational hazard. Take two of the largest pieces of Tupperware and use one to stack the other containers in and the other to file all the lids. This keeps things neat and tidy.
- Do not forget about open space. Hooks are a great use of all open spaces. Hang hooks on the bottom of shelves and under cabinets. Hang mugs, potholders, strainers and readily used cooking utensils for easy access and no wasted space.
- Install pull-out shelves. These allow easy access to every can and box, including the ones way in the back.
Visit McLendon Hardware, located in six convenient locations across Washington for many useful organizing aids.
440 Rainier Ave. South
Renton, WA 98057
Hours: Mon to Sat – 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sun – 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The easiest way to hide out-of-season clothing and accessories is to shove them in the closet and slam the door. However, this probably isn’t the best solution in terms of organization. Try one of these options:
- Use all available space in the bedroom, including under the bed. Buy storage bins that easily slide under the bed and place sweaters, boots, scarves and gloves inside. They are easy to access and easy to change out with each season.
- Remember to think up. Use the shelves in the closet. Buy bins for smaller items and group like-items together. Be sure to clearly label each bin for easy access. Place the most used items on the lower shelves and the occasionally used items higher up.
- The back of the closet door should not be forgotten. Many shoe racks, tie racks, bars for belts and even bars for jewelry exist. Take advantage of this free space in the closet.
- Get creative. Go to an antique store such as the Pike Place Market and pick up some little tea cups and saucers. Place these in a jewelry drawer or on top of a dresser and organize rings, watches and earrings. It is cute, functional and a great way to organize smaller items.
Pike Place Market
85 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101
Hours: Pike Place and 1st Ave level: Mon to Sat – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Down Under stores: Mon to Sun – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A clean work space is essential for a home. Paying bills, filtering mail and keeping important information in easy-to-find locations are all necessary for an ideally organized office. Here’s how to do it:
- Sort and Group. Get little cans or containers and place all pens, pencils, scissors and rulers in their own place. Throw out any pens that don’t write. Get little dishes for paper clips and other small items used regularly.
- Use the wall. Find hanging baskets that hold mail instead of throwing it on the desk.
- Organize the files by placing files used on a regular basis in plain sight with proper labels. Place archived files in storage bins in a filing cabinet or in the closet.
- Reduce the paper trail. Use computers and phones instead of paper calendars to organize family schedules. Check out Cozi.com, a Seattle-based company, for an online family communications system complete with synced calendars and to get other family organizing tips.
A garage is a one place that gets neglected on a regular basis. It is cold, not very inviting and easy to look past, but that doesn’t mean it should be neglected. Try these tips for a quick clean up:
- Sort. Decide which items are used regularly (a lawn mower, rakes, etc.) and keep those in easy-to-reach locations. Place other items under the work bench and out of the way.
- Use the wall. Get some hooks and start hanging. Hang gardening tools, branch cutter, weed whackers and other small to medium sized items in their own space.
- Place small items such as screws, nails and hooks in small bins. Consider a tool chest to house the screwdrivers and hammers all in one neat compartment.
- Discard any used paints, cleaners and other hazardous material in the proper fashion. There is no need to keep paint from 10 years ago.
- Use the rafters of the garage for storage. Consider hanging bikes or placing large bins full of holiday decorations up, off the floor.
5. Very short-timed projects around the house
Even if life is hectic, in as little as 30 minutes one organizational project can be accomplished this spring. Try one of these activities any night when you find yourself with some free time:
- Media storage is always an ongoing process. Gather a basket or bin and store all the DVDs/Blue Ray Discs in one space. If you really want to get organized, try arranging them alphabetically or by artist. Do the same with games in a separate bin. Place all controllers and accessories for gaming systems together so they are neat and tidy.
- Gather all the cleaning supplies in one location–around the washer and dryer is a great spot. This prevents hunting around the whole house.
- Get the toys under control. Sure, kids make a mess with their toys, but make cleaning up the toys part of the fun. Find fun drawers and toy chests to store everything and make it a habit to put the items away every day.
- Get the bookcase in tip-top shape. Group similar books, such as cookbooks, in one place on the shelves. Recycle any old magazines and organize the “yet to read” material for easy access. Make a shelf just for the kids with their favorite stories within reach.
With five stores across the Pacific Northwest, Storables offers some great storage ideas to help you get organized.
2692 NE 49th St.
Seattle, WA 98105
Hours: Mon to Sat – 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If you find yourself losing motivation, remember that organizing a house is easy as 1-2-3.
- Throw out any unused, expired or broken items.
- Do one thing at a time as to not overwhelm anyone.
- Remember to have fun. Once the task is complete, life is much more enjoyable.
Denise LaCaille is a freelance writer living in Seattle. She graduated from the University of Washington and is passionate about the local food scene. Every weekend youll find her at farmers markets scouring for the freshest ingredients to create healthy dishes for her food blog she writes with her twin sister. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.