Sunday marked the official first day of spring, so it is now officially time to talk about a home improvement project everyone can do: spring cleaning.

Spring Cleaning

Start your spring cleaning by getting rid of clutter. Throw out anything that is broken or can’t be donated. As for donations, be generous.

No matter how well-designed a home is, clutter can destroy the whole atmosphere in a house. Removing the clutter and organizing possessions will make a huge difference as you move toward a more functional home.

Whether you are a sentimental clutter bug or a closet hoarder, everyone can use the category method of conquering cluttering.

Find four boxes and label them:


give away/sell,


put away

Trash is anything you don’t want or need but can’t be donated. Damaged or broken items should be included in the trash if they are not worth repairing.

Give away/sell: Be generous. If it has been years since you have used something, then it may be time to let someone else have it. It isn’t doing any good buried in your closet. Plus, consider the financial benefits of selling your “stuff” at a garage sale or through online classifieds.

Storage: This category includes items that you want but do not need on a regular basis. Make an inventory of the items as you box them. Group similar items together. Remember one good way to clean out closets is to store out of season clothing.

Put away: This box should be the smallest category. These are items that you will use on a regular basis. Monitor yourself by determining if you have a place for each item. If the items in this box will not fit into your home without cluttering an area, try to reassess if you really need them.

If you do need these “essentials,” try to come up with a storage solution that fits into your home or consider eliminating something else to make room.

When you are organizing the items in the two “keep” categories, separate them again into new subcategories.

something you use every day

something you use weekly

something you use monthly

something you use seasonally or once or twice a year.

Items that are used every day should find their “home” with the easiest access.

For example, you probably wouldn’t want to store your potato peeler in a top drawer in the kitchen because the potato peeler is probably not an item you use every day. Make sure that things you don’t use every day are not cluttering up your most accessible areas.

Similarly, monthly items should be placed somewhere like the top shelf of a pantry or cupboard where they are accessible but not in the way of reaching more frequently used items.

Organizing your house with this simple method will make it more functional. As you move from room to room making your home a better place to live, remember these last few tidbits of advice:

Items are not equivalent to the memories of the person who gave them to you.

Pruning these types of items can be the very difficult. Determine if you really need the item to have the memory or emotional attachment. If you are not sure, consider storing the items on a trial basis, or giving them to a family member for safe keeping. If you can’t fight the need to keep these types of items, then incorporate them into your décor. Sometimes displaying items can be a beautiful way to remember.

Get rid of the old clothing, even if it is in the size you hope to fit into soon!

It’s tempting to keep them for when you reach your goal, but in the mean time they are just clutter. Think instead about rewarding yourself with new clothes when you get to the new you.

Holding on to items just in case you may need them someday may make sense to you, but this is not a good reason to clog your closets

If you really can’t part with something, at least realize that there is a better place to store it. Remind yourself that what you really need in your life is space and organization.

So, visualize this: Your trash is gone.Your storage is packed away. Every item you’ve decided to keep is stored in its proper place. You’ve given away or sold everything else.

Take a moment to look around your house. You’ve just taken a major step to organizing your life and freeing up both time and space. What a way to welcome spring!

Architects Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the founders of Renovation Design Group, a local design firm specializing in home remodels

Renovation Solutions: Welcome change in seasons with some spring cleaning