home & garden
By Dorothy Breininger
AS A PROFESSIONAL organizing expert,
one of my busiest times of year is spring.
Folks want to clean and get organized, and
are often perplexed about where to start.
Here are six tips to whip your home into
shape for spring.
TIP 1: Less is better
Before you pick up a broom or start any
cleaning project, take time to de-clutter. The
less stuff you have in a room, the less time it
takes to clean it—and the fewer cleaning supplies and products you’ll need to get the job
done. So rather than clean, clean, clean, I say
delete, delete, delete.
It’s easier than you think. Just walk from
room to room, scanning the space from left to
right and top to bottom. Eliminate at least 10
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items from each room and immediately take
that collection to your favorite charity (or call
for a pickup). This momentum will provide
you the energy and enthusiasm to get your
home cleaned and organized.
TIP 2: Divide and conquer
Start with the most important or most
difficult room and set a timer for the number of minutes you will spend cleaning it.
Prioritizing your rooms ensures you get the
most meaningful rooms done first, and
doing the most difficult room first creates a
feeling of “easy street” for the remaining
rooms—with no worries or dread looming
overhead. The timer gives you a mindset of
“beat the clock,” and keeps you on a mission
to complete the job.
TIP 3: The method to
As you conduct your spring-cleaning, follow that same “left-to-right” method used for
de-cluttering. Stand in the doorframe of each
room and begin to organize and clean. As you
make your way around each room, remember
everything behind you is now considered a
clean, clutter-free zone and everything ahead
MARCH 2015 The Costco Connection 45
of you still requires attention. Using this
method allows you to measure what you’ve
done and what’s left to do.
TIP 4: Rock out
Select music that will make you move
quickly. Slow classical music creates slower
movements, while up-tempo music literally
changes your physiology and pace. When you
are “up” and dancing and smiling, you automatically move faster!
TIP 5: Focus, focus, focus
Minimize distractions. One way is to
keep a notepad next to you as you make your
way around the house; that way you can jot
down to-do’s, ideas and reminders that come
to you, and you don’t have to stop and go to
another room to write.
Another way to curb distractions is to
keep a basket with you as you clean. When you
find items that don’t belong in the room you
are cleaning, toss them in the basket and keep
cleaning. You lose time when you walk each
individual item back to its proper location.
TIP 6: Call out the vinegar
Plain white vinegar is one of nature’s
miracle cleaners and can be used to remove
odors from a room, remove stains and spills
from carpets and fabric, and clean windows.
Here are just a few of my favorite uses of this
■ To clean your toilet, pour a cup of vinegar in the bowl before going to bed and then,
in the morning, just brush and flush.
■ To make linoleum and tile floors sparkle, mop with a mixture of 1 gallon of warm
water and 1 cup of vinegar.
■ Make a glass cleaner that’s 50 percent
water and 50 percent vinegar; apply it directly
with a squirt bottle or a clean cloth and then
wipe with a dry cloth.
■ Remove stains from coffee mugs and
teacups by scrubbing them gently with a solution of 50 percent vinegar and
50 percent baking soda. C
Dorothy “The Organizer”
organizer.com) is featured
on the Emmy-nominated
TV show Hoarders.