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3191 Miles Apart | 21 March 10 • SCB

21 March 10 • SCB

This week I thought I’d share my spring-cleaning checklist. It’s really just a little pep-talk I developed for myself, but I thought it might be helpful to those of you who are equally overwhelmed by the task. Here’s to sparkle and order and calm.

tackle the unintentional clutter.
Take a look at every open surface and find a proper home for all the things left unintentionally behind. The jar of candy canes, the kickstand that doesn’t fit your bike, the terrarium that withered back in September, the half-finished art projects, the glove hoping to find it’s mate, the outdated paperwork and catalogs. File it, store it, recycle it, donate it, and as a last resort, trash it. Don’t forget your bathroom. Nothing is more depressing than a bath full of unused lotions and potions. If you don’t use them weekly, dump them or offer them to a friend. You’ll be so glad you did.

tackle the intentional clutter.
Once you’ve tackled the unintentional clutter take a look at the intentional clutter—the knick-knacks and objects you have displayed. Does that object bring you great happiness? Does it hold a memory or significant sentiment? If not, let it go or maybe just store it out of site for a while. Be ruthless and honest with yourself. Just because something is considered highly collectible, valuable or fashionable by others does not mean it belongs in your home. Pass these things on to others who might enjoy them more than you.

top-to-bottom.
Now that you’ve decluttered, it’s much easier to actually start cleaning. I always work top to bottom which in my house means starting with all the high picture rails and mouldings. I dust these with a wool duster or sometimes a vacuum attachment. I work my way down dusting and removing things from shelves and open surfaces. I end with the floors, moving all the furniture to clean underneath.

let the light in.
I know that cleaning the windows inside and out will go a long way to making things feel brighter, but somehow I dread this job. I am going to think up a nice reward for myself for getting this done.

stay focused.
I can get easily overwhelmed by all the projects that I’d like to accomplish in every room in my home. This can quickly lead to improvement-paralysis. During my spring-cleaning jaunt this year, I plan on choosing just *one* neglected project in each room to tackle and leave the rest of the to-do list for another time. In my house, I’ll be patching holes in my ceiling and painting some trim, but, if you’re lucky, you’ll just be replacing a dented lampshade or hanging a mirror.  Spring cleaning isn’t about making everything house-tour perfect, it’s about refreshing your surroundings. Fix something. Feel good about it. Move on to the next room.

spruce it up.
After everything is clean, take some time to bring new life and a reflection of the season into each room. Arrange new vignettes (with all your favorite objects!). Reposition furniture to take advantage of a pretty view. Bring out an unused bright and cheery tablecloth. Hang artwork. Display some fresh flowers or blossoming branches.

Time to put my apron on and get to work. Wish me luck!