After a long, dark winter, there’s a good chance your home is ready for spring cleaning. An annual tradition for many, spring cleaning involves decluttering and deep cleaning your house so you can welcome the warm weather with a clear mind and an organized, tidy living space.
To breathe some new life into your space this spring, try these spring cleaning and organization tips for home, then don’t forget to spruce up your storage space as well with our storage spring cleaning tips.
Part 1: Focus on Decluttering Your Home First
Before you break out the mop and bucket, take some steps to declutter and organize your belongings. In many cases, you’ll find it’s much easier to deep clean areas like the garage, attic or basement when the extra stuff is out of the way. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to start fresh.
How to Purge Your House of Junk
We recommend using the four category method for decluttering. Start by gathering four large plastic containers or cardboard boxes. Each box should be assigned a category: discard, donate, keep or store.
Here’s how it works:
Discard – This should include anything that no longer works as intended that also can’t be donated, like broken electronics, expired food, overly tattered clothing or linens, old magazines and piles of junk mail. Many of these items can be recycled or simply thrown in your curbside trash receptacle.
Donate – Remember one person’s trash could be another person’s treasure! Clothing, linens, appliances, furniture, electronics, kitchenware and media that are still in good, working condition can be donated to a charity organization or sold to a consignment store.
Keep – This category can be tricky, but do your best to only keep things that you know for certain you will use in the near future, then purge the rest. In general, if it’s been more than a year since you used an item – or you forgot you even owned that item – it can be donated or discarded.
Store – Self-storage is ideal for items that you don’t use often but you will use again in the future. For example, seasonal clothing, holiday decorations, garage items, collectibles and memorabilia are often stored in storage units. Climate controlled storage is available for added protection.
We recommend going room-by-room over the course of several days, taking your time to clean and organize areas and items one by one. Try to create a schedule listing every room or area you want to declutter, then make a spring cleaning checklist that corresponds with each room so you don’t miss anything. Go through as many drawers, closets and dressers as you need to reach your goals.
Make a Plan for Your Clutter
Now that you have everything split into categories, you can begin making plans to get rid of your clutter in an appropriate way. While most “discard” items can be thrown in your curbside recycling or garbage, furniture or appliances may require renting a dumpster or a trip to the local landfill. Remember that hazardous waste like batteries, paint and motor oil may need to be discarded separately.
You have several options for donating items. Electronics and appliances can be sold in a yard sale or online to bring in some extra cash. Donation centers are great for clothing and other general household items.
For your “store” items, U-Haul has thousands of self-storage facilities across North America with a variety of features available. Find out more about how self-storage works here.
Part 2: Spring Cleaning at Your Storage Unit
Packing up your seldom-used belongings and moving them into storage is a great way to clear space at home. But it’s not enough to pile things into your storage space and call it a day. Doing some spring cleaning at your storage unit will allow you to maximize your space and ensure your belongings are in the best possible condition. Here is how to clean out and organize your storage unit.
Remove Dust and Dirt
The best way to clean dust in a storage unit is to use microfiber towels on plastic storage boxes, furniture and electronics. Use a broom and dust pan for dust and dirt on the ground and vacuums for cleaning the walls and ceilings if necessary.
Purge Unused Items
Just as you did in your home, go through your storage unit one box at a time and find little-used items to discard. You can even use the same method as you did at home and sort your items into either keep, discard or donate categories. Anything that you plan to keep can stay in the unit.
Create an Inventory
As you go through and sort your belongings, you should be creating an inventory of everything that you are keeping. That way the next time you decide to do some storage unit organization, you know exactly what’s inside your storage space and where. Not to mention, the next time you have to grab something, you know exactly where it is stored.
Rotate Certain Items
When “flimsy” items sit in one position for too long, they can develop creases and flat spots. As you sort your belongings, look for these types of items. Make sure they are rotated or shifted so they don’t lose their shape. Tires, rugs, linens and clothing are examples of items that may need shifting.
Check on Your Belongings
Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to open up your boxes and bags and make sure your items are being stored properly. If you notice any damage occurring, consider finding a better way to store that item either by moving it to a sturdier container or adding covers.