Declutter, disinfect and organize your home, room by room, during the COVID-19 stay at home.

As more people in the US practice social distancing by staying at home and avoiding large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic, some people are finding themselves with some extra downtime around the house.

More time spent at home might be the perfect opportunity to clean out closets, pantries, and other cluttered spaces. Taking back control of your home through decluttering will lighten up your mood and give you a positive mindset.

While there’s no pressure to do this if you don’t feel up to it, you might find it helps you to feel better – given your mind will have something to focus on and your body will be keeping active.

Here is a quick guide on how to organize and declutter your space while you practice social distancing.

The Bathroom.

It’s best to take spring cleaning one room at a time, starting in the bathroom because it’s often the smallest room in the home. Once that space is finished, you’ll have the confidence to take on larger spaces.

Get rid of and replace old toilet brushes, shower curtain liners, trashcans, toothbrush and soap holders, as these items cannot always be adequately cleaned. Wash the shower curtain.

Sort through the medicine cabinet and vanity, tossing those nearly empty bottles as well as cosmetics, personal care products and medications that have expired. Then, take inventory of what’s left and put immediately back into the cabinet, storing the items you use most often at eye level.

Next, move onto any cabinet drawers. Remove everything, do a quick evaluation of what you’re keeping and what you’re tossing. Now, do the same routine with your shower/tub.

Finally, pull everything out from below your bathroom sink and give it a soap wash. Remember, bathrooms are breeding grounds for germs, so don’t forget to disinfect doorknobs, handles, and other hardware.

At the end, replace used towels with clean towels for a fresh feel.

The Bedroom

First, make your bed. It’s hard to feel any progress decluttering a bedroom while an unmade bed stares you in the face.

Start with your nightstands and remove anything on them that doesn’t belong there.

This may include books you’ve already finished reading, broken eyeglasses, pens and paper, and mail. Throw out or recycle anything that you no longer use, such as empty tissue boxes, pens that have gone dry, or chargers that no longer work.

Fold and store everything you’re keeping to their proper places. Resist the urge to shove things back into drawers. If you’re now eyeing your closet, don’t worry—we’ll tackle that next!

Closets

A rule of thumb is to get rid of clothing that hasn’t been worn in a year. Another option is to take a Marie Kondo-style approach. If an object sparks joy, keep it. If not, let it go.

Even if donating old clothing isn’t possible right now, that isn’t an excuse to avoid cleaning out your closet. Consider repurposing old textiles and turning them into homemade masks. The New York Times recently reported that due to N95 mask shortages, some hospitals are accepting donations of homemade ones.

Put bulky winter sweaters and ski gear into storage and bring back spring and summer items such as swimwear and shorts. It’s therapeutic and it sparks excitement for spring and summer days ahead.

Put any dirty laundry into the hamper or bring it to the laundry room. Anything that needs to be repaired should go to the tailor or dry cleaner.

Finish the look with storage baskets and bins for items like scarfs, socks, and accessories.

Cosmetics

Next, your cosmetic drawer (or cabinet, or closet) – is a space that can easily become cluttered and filled up with old, expired products. These products may be less effective, or even dangerous, to use. When tidying cosmetics, be strict about selecting what to keep, say goodbye to any expired products or ones that no longer suit your taste.

The Kitchen

Keeping your kitchen clutter-free can be a challenge because there are so many zones. You can choose to declutter your kitchen by focusing one category of item at a time (cutting boards, glassware, utensils, or bakeware, for example) or going by zone through each part of the kitchen.

Start with your storage spaces first, such as the pantry and upper cabinets. Then move onto the lower cabinets, drawers, the space under the kitchen sink.

The first step is to completely empty each space, take everything out and sort it by category, assess each item – throw or keep, and put everything out of place back to where it belongs.

Finally, concentrate on your countertops. Move as many items as possible off of the countertops and into storage spaces. Keep only what you use every single day on the countertops.

Pantry and Fridge

Many people stocked up on food before self-quarantining, so there’s a good chance that your pantry is full and cluttered.

Approach the pantry in a similar way. Get rid of anything old, expired or unused. Sort through dishes and serveware, throwing out any cracked or chipped pieces, damaged food containers, etc.

Go through your supply of water bottles. Lastly, clean your refrigerator and freezer shelves, giving the shelves a good scrub down.

Organizing the fridge and pantry will help you know exactly what you need when you do run out to the grocery store.

The Entryways and Foyer

You may not have a traditional mudroom or foyer, but you definitely have an entryway. No matter how big it is, the best way to make an entryway most functional is to declutter it regularly.

Start with any desk, console, or side tables you have in your entry. Go through each drawer, removing the contents, and make a quick decision to toss or keep each item. Go over the tops of each desk or console as well.

Do you have a space for your keys and other important items? Make sure everything is accessible and not too crowded. This will make it easier to leave the house with what you need each morning.

The entry is another area that picks up a lot of clutter from other rooms. Spend time putting away things from other rooms that have made its way to the entry.

The Living Room

Living rooms tend to become incredibly messy, especially in family homes. It is one of the hardest rooms in your home to keep neat on a daily basis. That’s because it gets a lot of use.

Start to clean by removing objects from the living room that don’t belong there. Fold blankets, straighten pillows to keep the overall neat appearance.

Put books away, action your mail, return remote controls to their proper places.

Move onto electronics, remove everything that is not connected to your television or home theater system. Are you using it? Does it work? Store items like chargers, gadgets, and gaming equipment where you use them.

Finally, tackle the toys. Assess every toy for wear and tear. Does it still function? Do your kids still play with it? Recycle or store each toy.

If you have a lot of meaningful objects and things are starting to look un-styled or cluttered, it’s best to switch up favorites seasonally. This also gives the space a minor refresh at no cost.

Clean and Disinfect

While a major element of spring cleaning is organizing, it’s particularly important to physically clean and disinfect surfaces during the pandemic.

Check for dust, dead bugs, and burnt out light bulbs.

Then we suggest wiping down the inside and outside of all the windows, including the windowsills, and cleaning all the ceiling light fixtures in your home. It helps to open the window and vacuum out any dirt and dust that has accumulated over the past year. Also, make sure to use the right kind of paper towel or cloth to not leave dust or streaks.

Then wash or dry-clean linens. Run items that received a lot of love over the winter months through the wash such as throw pillows, blankets, and rugs, especially high traffic rugs and outdoor rugs.

While disinfecting surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, handles, etc, can help prevent germs from spreading, remember many disinfectant products aren’t safe for all types of furniture and flooring, especially wood because they can damage the finish. If that is the case, choose safe, less toxic products (especially if you have young children).

While putting up new light bulbs, if possible, have them match. Mood lighting gives your home the ‘homey’ vibe we all aspire to achieve.

Remember, you don’t need to spring clean the entire house in a weekend. Instead, consider taking on one room per day. The result will give you a much-needed feeling of peace during this period of chaos.

And, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do, we’re here to help! Wait until the lockdown is over and hire one of our fabulous organizers to whip your house into shape and declutter your life from top-to-bottom.

Check out our Home Organization services here.

References

Belle
gold@riveterconsulting.com
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