Whether you're quarantined, self-isolating, or choosing social distancing, you're likely wondering what to do with all your time at home these days. Instead of Netflix bingeing, scrolling mindlessly through social media, and letting the news stir up anxiety, why not take this time to spruce up and refresh your home? Think of it as a head start on spring cleaning. Let's come out on the other side of this mayhem a little calmer and with our sanity intact. You can choose to tackle one item on this list per day, or if you're feeling energetic, pick a couple to do in one day. And remember, progress is better than perfection!
1. Order organizing supplies.
You can get supplies for organizing almost anywhere, but some great places to order quality supplies are The Container Store, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and Amazon. Brands like iDesign and OXO offer solutions for the entire home that are both beautiful and functional. A rule professional organizers follow: buy extra and return what you don't end up using.
2. Purge the pantry.
The first step is to take it all out and trash anything that's expired! Check the expiration dates on spices, canned goods, and that pancake mix you haven't used in two years. Toss any stale crackers or cereal too! Keep things fresh and tidy by using airtight pantry canisters for dry goods.
3. Clear and clean the fridge.
Same with the pantry, you'll want to check the expiration dates as well as get rid of any leftovers that have been in the fridge for a week. Take the opportunity to wipe down all the shelves and drawers while you have everything pulled out. A clear lazy Susan is perfect for condiments that don't fit on the door.
4. Clear out the freezer.
The place where mysterious foods wrapped in foil get pushed to the back behind the Ben & Jerry's and frozen berries? Yep, the freezer needs some love too. Anything unidentifiable or that's been in the freezer longer than a year should definitely go.
5. Tackle the junk drawer.
We all have at least one drawer where the random stuff ends up. Take stock: do you really need 50 pens? Where did all these safety pins come from? A spare key to the car you don't even own anymore?! There are many drawer organizers that can help you wrangle the inevitable "stuff" once you've culled the clutter in there.
6. Organize those food storage containers.
The Tupperware cabinet is usually the nightmare of anyone's kitchen! Whether you use actual Tupperware, Pyrex, Rubbermaid, or another brand, it's important to keep it all neat so you don't lose your mind. Toss any containers without a matching lid and any lids without a container. Are there certain sizes that came in your set that you never use? Put them aside in a box to donate later. (Scroll to the end for some ideas for recycling items you no longer use.) Order a lid organizer if you think you need it.
7. Clean your oven.
How often do any of us really use the self-clean option on our ovens? When you're stuck at home is a great time to do it. Make sure to scrub down the inside AND outside, preferably with a natural cleaner that won't irritate your lungs.
8. Clean your dishwasher.
Since your dishwasher has hot water and soap running through it when it's washing dishes, you'd think it would be clean, right? Wrong! You'll need to give it a good cleaning, especially if you're seeing spots and film on your glassware and dishes. All you need is some white vinegar and an old toothbrush. Get the details here.
9. Clean your small appliances.
Coffeemakers, blenders, mixers, toasters, coffee grinders... somehow they all end up with crumbs, gunk, water spots, and more. Use your favorite all-purpose cleaner (or just some diluted vinegar) and paper towels or an old cloth and wipe them clean. Use Q-Tips and toothpicks to get the hard-to-reach spots too!
10. Purge the bathroom drawers and medicine cabinets.
Now is the time to get rid of that dried-up nail polish, old bottle of Tums, and antibiotic you never finished from your sinus infection two years ago. Check expiration dates on all medicines. If you have old prescriptions, check here for a take back location near you. Note that the 2020 Drug Take Back Day has been cancelled. Invest in clear bins, a lazy Susan, or drawer organizers depending on your space.
11. Go through your closet.
You don't have to do a complete closet overhaul if you're not up for the task, but commit to pulling out at least 5 pieces you haven't worn in the past year. Found a sock with a hole? Toss it. If there are pieces you're not ready to let go of just yet, try this trick: Turn your hangers around until you wear an item. At the end of next season, anything that's on a backwards-facing hanger gets culled.
12. Refresh the linen closet.
Do you have old bedding that you probably won't ever use again? Is it time for new bath towels? If so, out with the old and in with the new. Check with your local animal shelter to see if they could use linens and donate them instead of sending them to a landfill.
13. Purge toys from the kids' rooms (if applicable).
Kids' rooms and playrooms can accumulate so much stuff--the gifts we buy them for holidays and birthdays, the tiny prizes they get in treat bags at birthday parties, and projects they make at school--it all adds up. Take stock (and involve them if possible) and decide what you definitely want to keep and what you might want to pass on to a child in need.
14. Tidy up the yard.
We're probably done getting piles of snow here in New England, so it's safe to get out and start working in the yard. Rake or blow any leaves left on the lawn from the fall, clear branches that fell during the winter, and pick up trash along your property lines that may have blown in or got pushed in by plows. Make way for the green grass to sprout up soon!
While you're refreshing your house, you'll come across perfectly good items you no longer want or need. Instead of putting it in the trash, check out these options for recycling!
- Check Facebook for a local Freecycle group. You never know, someone in your town could be looking for exactly what you're giving away!
- Donate unopened, unexpired non-perishable food or toiletries to your local food pantry.
- Animal shelters often are in need of linens.
- Homeless shelters, transitional housing, women's shelters are always looking for various goods.
- Jeans can be recycled through Levi's, Madewell, and American Eagle.
- Donate shoes in good condition to It's From the Sole.
- Donate gently used bras to Free the Girls and those that are too worn out can be recycled through Harper Wilde after ordering from them.
- Salvation Army and Goodwill take household donations of all kinds that are tax-deductible, while Habitat for Humanity ReStore takes furniture, appliances, home goods, and building materials.
Now that your house is tidy and revitalized, are you ready to put your home on the market? If so, let's chat. Fill out the form to the right and we'll plan a strategy to sell your home your way!