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After you’ve opened up your home by purging clutter, start cleaning.
Organization Basics
Spring into Cleaning
The keys to getting it all done are organization, and not biting off too much

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be difficult. Key mistakes many homeowners commonly make include not being equipped with the right tools to eliminate clutter (the cousin of dirt and grime), and trying to get too much done in one go. If you address these two stumbling blocks, you can ensure better results this spring—and easier spring-cleaning in the years to come.

First, get rid of the clutter in your home. Boxes of old clothes, seldom-used gadgets and other junk prevent us from cleaning the backs of our closets, whole sections of basements, attics and even spare bedrooms and laundry rooms. And it’s behind those piles and stacks that allergy-triggering dust (and even germ-spreading rodents) can hide.

Consider installing an outdoor storage shed if you don’t already have one. A Large Vertical Storage Shed for instance, offers 52 cubic feet of outdoor storage space, while Big Max® offers 147 cubic feet of outdoor storage. That’s a lot of space to open up inside your house.

Use outdoor storage space, wisely. Don’t fill an outdoor storage unit with things you don’t need. Donate or have a yard sale to unload anything you haven’t used in the past 18 months (or better yet, 12 months).

Don’t forget to label. Organize your keepers in labeled bins. Rubbermaid storage containers labeled with DYMO label-maker labels are ideal.

Set up proper waste control bins before you start cleaning. Wild animals are becoming more active this time of year, so a good spring-cleaning plan includes setting up Rubbermaid’s Animal Stopper trash can, which can fend off invaders year-round. (After all, you’ve got enough to clean without having to pick up the contents of tipped over garbage cans.)

Alissa Kubera, Product Manager with Rubbermaid’s home waste department, says that the Animal Stopper’s patented design makes it nearly impossible for raccoons, dogs, skunks and other animals to open the lid. “Two latches lift up and lock over the lid, and while it’s very easy to use for homeowners, raccoons have difficulty. Raccoons have great manual dexterity, but not enough arm strength,”

“We’ve also reinforced the base of the lid so it’s too stiff for raccoons to pry apart, even if they’ve tipped the can onto its side,” says Kubera.

After you’ve opened up your home by purging clutter, start cleaning. Try to regard spring-cleaning in a new light: as the start of an ongoing process, not one marathon cleaning weekend. Prioritize what needs to be done over what you wish you could get done if there were 48 hours in a day. Good ways to prioritize include:

  • Using your sense of sight: If something is visibly dirty, it’s worth cleaning. You’ll see an instant improvement
  • Using your sense of smell: If the hall closet carries the whiff of stale winter sports gear, you know it needs to be attended to asap
  • Finding single tasks in high-traffic areas: Cleaning the dining room chandelier or scouring the oven after a winter of casseroles offer results you’ll appreciate every day
  • Simple, no fuss actions: A super-fast fix-it like throwing out long-forgotten, freezer-burned inventory in your chest freezer takes only minutes

Make a list of second and third priority cleaning tasks, and strike them off over the next several weekends, so you don’t overwork yourself.