Start with your purse and/or diaper bag. We all know this gets filled with receipts, empty wrappers, 10 pounds of spare change, and all kinds of other goodies. It’s an easy enough place to start but it’ll leave you with an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment.
Wipe down all the baseboards. Mix up a bucket of warm, soapy water and wipe away the grime and muck. Wipe dry with a dry towel. Wipe down with a dryer sheet to repel future dirt and grime.
Dust off all ceiling fans using a pillow case to catch the falling dirt.
Clean indoor vent covers. Vacuum loose dust and dirt off vent covers. Wipe down with warm, soapy water. Replace all filters.
Coat closet or entry way. Chances are, if you’re anything like us, you’ve accumulated more than enough hats and gloves and scarfs to keep you going through a few winters. Find out what still fits, what’s been outgrown, or what just isn’t worn. Consign or donate the things you can part with. Then go to coats. Somehow our kids have ended up with 3 or 4 coats for every season. This just isn’t necessary and coats aren’t tiny, they take up a good hunk of space. Not to mention the shoes, pare down to what’s needed. Put away out of season shoes. Then there is all the miscellaneous junk that gets thrown in these areas, take care of the clutter once and for all.
Deep clean your washer. Start by clearing it off. Give the exterior a good wipe down with a half water half vinegar mixture. Using the same water-vinegar mixture, wipe down the detergent tray. Next up is the rubber seal, ours was filled with mold so I soaked a rag in half bleach half water and laid it into the gasket to soak for 30 minutes. After soaking, I wiped it down to remove all the nasty mold build up. Throw all the dirty rags into the washer and run on hot cycle. Next up is the filter (which I just learned existed at all). Refer to your owner’s manual on how to clean this out.
Next up is the dryer. Clear it off and wipe down the exterior as above. Pull it out and (find all the lost socks then) vacuum all the loose lint underneath. Pull out the lint trap and clean it by placing it in a bucket of hot soapy water and scrub clean with a toothbrush. Unscrew the lint trap cover and wipe out all the collected dirt and lint. Remove the vent off the back of the dryer and use a vacuum to get all the old lint out of your dryer exhaust tube to prevent fires and boost efficiency. Wipe down the inside of the dryer and the rubber seal with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water.
Biggest pet peeve: Junk Drawer. I clean out our junk drawer at least 3 times per year. Mainly, because my husband dumps all kinds of stuff in there and when I ask him what it is, he doesn’t know. So it gets thrown out. I recently organized our batteries in a little tackle box too to help with the chaos that is the junk drawer.
Thoroughly clean kitchen cabinets. Pull everything out of your cabinets and drawers, one at a time. Wipe down the insides with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Allow to air dry while you assess all the items you pulled out, throw away expired foods, set aside unused dishes/tools/etc. and make a list of food items that need used up in recipes. Put everything back in an orderly fashion. Wipe down the outside of the cabinet with the 50/50 mixture. Repeat. When done, decide if the extra dishes, tools, or small appliances are worth selling or donating. Find some recipes to make using up the list of food items (great examples of this are canned beans, cream of anything soups, etc.).
Pull out the fridge and oven. Clean the walls and floor behind and underneath them. Take the front grill cover off the bottom of your fridge and vacuum all the dust that has accumulated. If the coils are not underneath the fridge, they are most likely behind the fridge behind a panel with a just a few screws. Unplug and vacuum. This will also save on your energy bill!
Living Room/Play Room:
Toys, toys, toys. I feel like this is the best time of year to start getting rid of the old toys since all the new ones are now getting all the attention. In our case, I save the best for our 3rd child that hasn’t arrived yet and consign the rest. Same goes for books, especially since we’ve been going to the library more and more.
Magazine stacks. I have tons of magazines and they just get overwhelming, they’re slippery so they slide off of each other and onto the floor. I’ve started a binder system where I save articles for recipes, parenting, or fun ideas for the website. I tear out the article, punch 3 holes into it and put it into my binder. Then recycle the rest of the magazine, half of it is ads or stuff that doesn’t pertain to me anyways.
Medicine cabinet overhaul. Throw out all expired meds, research areas to drop off if this is a concern to you. Wipe down the inside of the cabinet with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Allow to air dry then put back in an orderly fashion.
Under the sink chaos. I swear under our sinks end up being one of the most crowded areas of our house. I don’t know if it’s because every time target has a deal on method brand cleaning supplies I stock up, or if it’s the Costco supply of sponges but it gets messy. I try to go through and combine same items into one bottle, reassess what I have so I don’t buy anymore of what I don’t need, and get rid of the stuff that’s trash.
Pare down in your linen closet. Pull everything out of your linen closet and decide what to keep. Keep old towels that have seen better days to cut up for rags. Save a few old sheets to use as drop cloths if you like to do a lot of DIY home projects. Donate anything worth donating. Wipe down the shelves with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Allow to dry before putting everything back.
Make over your make-up area. Go through all old skincare and make-up, throw out expired or unused items. Wipe down area with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Wash make-up brushes in warm, soapy water, and allow to air dry.
Clear out under the bed storage. Pull everything out from under the beds. Put miscellaneous things where they belong. Move bed to vacuum (we just got a new bed and were shocked at the amount of dust that had accumulated in less than a year). I store old clothes in space saver bags under the kids’ beds until we have our third child (we have one of each already and plan to wear hand-me-downs on the third). I also store all of my maternity clothes there for the same purpose.
Closets and drawers. Start this chore with 3 boxes, laundry baskets, or garbage bags labeled with ‘donate’, ‘sell’, and ‘save’. For the kids’ closets I pull out what they’ve outgrown and decide if it is something worth saving or selling and put it in that box. My clothes are even easier, I just see what I haven’t worn and put in a box to take to the consignment store. Whatever doesn’t sell in 2 months there gets donated automatically. Stuff that isn’t in-season for the consignment store goes into a box until it is. Things that aren’t worth consigning, go to the donate box.
Handbags and shoes. I’m not big on handbags, I usually just carry a wristlet and even I’ve accumulated 5 or more purses that are just taking up space. I tossed them all into the consignment bag. Shoes are about the same, I’m not huge on shoes, I hardly ever dress up or wear heels, so I have the basics. Anything extra toss into the consignment or donate bins.
Jewelry box make-over. Again this area doesn’t really pertain to me, I’m kind of a minimalist here. I do receive some jewelry as gifts now and then. I like to go through my stash once a year and get rid of what wasn’t worn in a year’s time. The exception is my wedding jewelry, I had a great vintage cuff bracelet and a pair of cheap-o earrings but I’ll probably hold onto them forever.
What areas of your house are in dire need of de-cluttering?