by Maria Gracia

In celebration of the new season–the season of renewal– here are a few choice tips to get you organized, energized and your home in order. Have you heard the birds singing? Hooray, spring is here!

1. Springtime Maintenance Items.

As we transition from winter to spring there are maintenance items around the house that we need to take care of. Start by replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Inspect your home’s exterior for needed repairs like paint touchups, cracks in the foundation, wood splintering or decaying, insect damage, etc. Inspect window insulation and remove storm windows. Wash the outside of your windows and install screens. Clean the gutters and downspouts. Inspect your roof for warping and cracking. Inspect and replace filters as necessary on your AC unit, furnace, pool, etc.

2. Stumbling over clutter everywhere you turn?

Start by taking one step every day to reduce the clutter in your home. Your first step could be as simple as walking through a room with a basket. Pick up items that belong elsewhere. When the basket is full, or has at least a dozen items in it, put those items where they belong. If you do this every day in each room of your home, before you know it, you’ll be clutter free. Remember, elsewhere also includes trash and recycling!

3. Do you avoid putting things away because you don’t know where to put them?

Think about where you use the item. Do you have similar items around the house? Gather them together and store them where it makes sense for you, near where you use them. Remember, the storage doesn’t have to be conventional, it just has to work for you. So get creative in your storage. As long as it works for you, you will use it and it will be an effective means of containing and reducing clutter.

4. Do you have trouble getting started on a task or a project?

Many times that is the hardest part of a task or project. Try using the Rule of 5. Tell yourself that you only have to work at a task for 5 minutes. Generally you will find that once you get started, one of two things will happen. You’ll either complete the task within the 5 minutes, or you will continue beyond the 5 minutes.

5. Do you need extra help in getting your spring cleaning started?

If you do, don’t hesitate to hire a cleaning service to give you that extra boost. Our lives are so busy. So give yourself a break and hire someone to come in and help you.

6. Don’t want to do a full spring cleaning?

Here are a few things you can do to clear out the cobwebs from winter. Clean the tops of your ceiling fan blades and inside ceiling lamp globes. Dust windowsills and baseboards. Clean your oven and the top of your stove. Just these few items will help control the dust bunnies.

7. Has your pantry gotten out of control?

Take time to inventory your pantry, throwing away outdated foods and donating those you know you won’t eat. Compile your pantry inventory in a spreadsheet you can print out and post on the inside of the pantry door. You will know at a glance what you have on hand, and by marking something off as you use it, you’ll also know at a glance what you need to restock.

8. Springtime is a great time to `lighten up’!

During the winter we have our homes dressed for the weather. Just like we change out our clothing each season, we should do the same for our home’s clothing. Swap out heavy winter drapes for lighter window treatments. Change out heavy bedding for lighter coverlets. Swap out dark colored throws and pillows for light and bright colors.

9. It’s springtime…do you know where your summer gear is?

Now is the time to check out shorts, capris, swimwear, camping gear and our summer ‘things’ for repairs and fit. Those that can be repaired should be, those that need to be replaced should also be. For clothing, try things on for fit, especially with children–they grow so fast! Make plans to start now to shop sales and begin replacing items for summer a few at a time as necessary. By the time summer arrives, you’ll be set and ready to go!

10. Taxes!

Are you tired of the headaches that come with taxes each year? Now is the time to change that. Whether you receive a refund or owe more money, you can benefit from being more organized and detailed with your record keeping. Set up an accordion file for your taxes with general categories such as receipts for deductions, income statements. tax records and so on. Throughout the rest of the year, be meticulous about filing these items in the folder. When tax time rolls around again next year–and we know it will without fail– everything you need will be in this file, whether you do your own taxes or take them to an accountant. You will have reduced your stress level tremendously!

From Sarah:  If you want to get organized, Maria Garcia’s got the advice you need, so check her out!

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