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How to Clean as You Organize, and Organize as You Clean

If you know you want a clean and organized home, why not lighten the load by doing them at the same time? The fact is, it's easier to clean an organized space, and it's more pleasant and motivating to organize a clean space. So, doing the two jobs in tandem can have a fabulous and inspirational result. In combination, it’s a 1-2 punch!

Clean as You Organize When you start moving things around to organize and tidy your home, you will undoubtably uncover things that need to be cleaned. Relocating a piece of furniture could reveal a thick hidden layer of dust on the floor or even the wall. You could find crumbs in your kitchen drawers while getting your silverware in order. You might even discover a water leak or mold while rearranging things in your basement. If you are organizing, you are bound to uncover dust, crumbs, cobwebs, and more.

  • Closets: Don't just empty the closet and organize it. Take time to spray and wipe the shelves, throw away any broken hangers, vacuum or sweep the floor, and get all those cobwebs out of the corners.

  • Bins and Drawers: When you empty a bin or drawer, wipe it out with cleaner and a cloth before loading it back up.

  • Random Smudge: If your kids have drawn on floors, walls, doors or furniture with crayons, markers, sticky hands, or other more creative art mediums, it’s the perfect time to make it disappear. Use a magic eraser for the really tough ones. As a mom to a budding graffiti artist, I end up doing this a lot!

  • Garage: When you organize the garage, sweep out the leaves and dust that accumulate, throw away trash and recycling, and discard any broken items you don’t truly plan to repair. When it's clean and organized, your garage will feel more like a car showroom!

Bottom line, when you’ve already moved things out of the way to organize them, cleaning is a lot simpler. You don’t have to clean around anything. You can just get right in there, and you’ll rest better knowing that nothing “gross” could be hiding underneath your stuff.

Organize as You Clean Cleaning gives you a close-up view of the items that inhabit your home. You can’t avoid that pile of treasures inhabiting the end of your dining room table because they are preventing you from cleaning the surface. You think about how many knick-knacks you have every time you dust them. And, you probably consider how your cups, plates, and bowls fit into the cabinets every time you wash and put them away. Whether you are doing spring cleaning or just regular cleaning, it's a great opportunity to do some light decluttering and organizing while you are at it.

  • Décor: As you dust knick-knacks and decor, think about if you really want those items. Do they serve a purpose beyond aesthetics? Do you really like them? Think about all the times you have dusted them and will continue to dust them. Is this item worth all that to you? If yes, great! Dust it and put it back on display. If not, put it in your “donate bag” while you are thinking about it.

  • Clothing: As you put away laundry or swap your seasonal wardrobes, take a good critical eye to each item. Does it still fit? Is it in wearable condition? Does it need mending? Do you still like it? Do the same process for your kids' clothes. What have they outgrown or over-worn? You’d be surprised at how much closet space you can gain by doing this regularly…and how much easier it will be to dress and get out the door on time!

  • Bathroom: It’s hard NOT to organize as you clean the bathroom. If there are multiple people in the house, you probably have plenty of beauty products on shelves, around the sink and in the shower. Determine what is being used, discard empty or unwanted containers, and make sure each item has an appropriate place to live.

  • Repairs: Often when we clean, we find things that need to be repaired. Maybe a cabinet knob is loose, or the edge of the tub could use new caulk. While maybe not technically organizing, making these small repairs keeps things functional in your home just like organizing. So, they are worth the effort.

You will find plenty of opportunities to organize as you clean, and the result will be so much more satisfying if you don’t just clean around the clutter. But, if the idea of cleaning and organizing at the same time sounds entirely too exhausting, consider breaking it up over a couple of days instead of making it a marathon. The goal is to reduce your stress and increase the payoff, so be mindful of what works best for you.

Taking the time to clean and organize your home or office shows respect for your belongings as well as respect for yourself. You may or may not love the process, but you will definitely love the result. And remember, we're here to help!

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