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Front Page » March 6, 2008 » Home and Garden Focus » Spring cleaning tips
Published 2,770 days ago

Spring cleaning tips

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There is something about the spring air that motivates even the worst procrastinators to dust off the cleaning supplies and begin organizing their home or office space. However, once the yearly ritual begins, many people can describe how they feel in one word, "Overwhelmed!"

"That's because they think being 'organized' means being rigid, sterile or perfect," explains Organizing Guru Rosemary Chieppo, author of the handbook Clutter, Chaos & the Cure. Chieppo, who says her style "is more Rachael Ray than Martha Stewart," defines organized as being able to find what you need, when you need it.

"It ain't rocket science," Chieppo defiantly proclaims. "Organizing just means having a place for everything and making sure everything is in its place."

Chieppo's unconventional approach stresses that clearing physical clutter clears the clutter in the mind.

"Spring is all about renewal, so there's no better time to reorganize your home and reinvigorate yourself." Although her new handbook ranges from guidelines for knowing when to throw out important papers to maximizing kitchen space, Chieppo offers the following five general tips for simplifying spring organizing when the "must-do-mood" hits.

•Start with small tasks so you can indulge in the victory of completion.

"Most people feel defeated before they start, so this mindset is going to keep you motivated."

•Give your things a home at the point of their use.

"Think toothbrush. You never misplace it because its home is where you use it. The same concept should be applied to just about everything else in your space."

• Group like things together.

"It allows you to keep inventory of what you do have so you don't end up with 17 black turtlenecks or 67 AA batteries!"

•Don't put tall things in front of short things and don't put big things on top of little things.

"Most people are visual; if they don't see something, it may as well not exist."

•Remember, organizing is an ongoing process.

"Once you've done the initial work of creating a place for everything, don't sabotage your progress by falling back into old habits. Try to return each item to its designated spot as soon as you can."

Before attempting to implement the tips, most clients of Chieppo's business, Born to Organize, commonly present her with the same two roadblocks.

The first is concern about the amount of time it will take to complete the organizing project; to which she replies, "You think you don't have time to get organized, but you must get organized in order to have time."

The other hurdle involves mustering up the courage to say "goodbye" to things accumulated over a number of years.

"I never saw a hearse pulling a U-Haul," Chieppo jokingly points out. The longtime member of the National Association of Professional Organizers states that many people tend to think of organizing only in terms of physical space like closets, pantries and papers, but adds it also has an emotional and mental side. "They don't own their stuff. Their stuff owns them. Bringing themselves to donate or discard an item of sentimental value takes a certain amount of self-reflection."

Once a person is armed with knowledge of how to organize and begins the process, Chieppo teaches that the easier the system, the more likely they are to incorporate organizing into their daily routine. And that, she contends, is where the real payoff comes into play,

"Keep your life organized, she says, and you'll find more energy and clarity in every day. More importantly, next year, you can spend your time enjoying all spring has to offer instead of cleaning!"

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March 6, 2008
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