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Rites of Spring Cleaning

Where Do I Start?


Saturday, March 30, 2013

With the change of the seasons, many feel the need (and rightfully so) to engage in some sort of spring cleaning, and it’s a good idea after the hibernation of winter months. This is a great time to assess what you have used over the course of the past year, and what sat around gathering dust and taking up valuable space that could be used for something more useful.

Here are three of the tougher areas to clean and clear — but not as tough as they look:

Juli Shulem

Garage: Garages are wonderful spaces not everyone gets to own, so if you have one, make it worthy of the money you pay for it. Ironically, many use this to hold onto a lot of junk that should be tossed or donated. If you fall into this category, here are some options for you:

Look up! Overhead garage storage racks are wonderful. They bolt to the ceiling studs in your garage so that you can levitate your less-used stuff. Things that go there well: Large boxes (flattened while out of use); recreational equipment such as skis, boogie boards, camping gear; holiday items – you get the idea. The great part is that they are really out of the way, yet accessible.

Against the Walls Installing utility shelves or cabinets will allow you to store items without their getting beaten up. Better yet, first put items in crates with snap-on lids and label them so you can access contents quickly and easily. There are many companies that build storage units for a garage. Or, you can create your own. Consult your local home-improvement center.

Attic: If you have one, how are you using it? If it has become a dumping area for things like Aunt Edna’s old luggage then perhaps a reassessment of this space is in order. I recently went through my entire attic and found tons of stuff that I didn’t even know was up there and didn’t need to keep, including some valuable items that I sold.

The money paid for a dozen new tote containers in several colors so that I could reorganize the entire attic. I got green for Christmas décor, orange for Halloween décor, pink for my daughter’s personal items, brown for my son’s, etc. Everything got properly packed and labeled, and now it stores perfectly in the attic, and I know what is really up there. It took the better part of an afternoon; however, it’s done forever, and when I need something, it takes a couple of minutes to get it down. So worth the time!

Yard: How does all that dirty, messy stuff end up along the fence, near the trash area, or piled up around the yard? Perhaps a combination of neglect, procrastination, and lack of motivation are the reasons, so here is a solution. Plan to deal with this on a nice day and enlist others to help. Some items may be too large or heavy to handle alone. Contact either a service (1-800-got-junk) or plan to make a run to the city dump with items you can neither use nor put in your regular trash cans.

Start by putting things away where they belong. If you don’t already have good places in which to store stuff, then get them. Utility sheds come in a wide range of sizes and materials, and investing in one may be a good option. Some items might be better off in the garage. Some may be better off leaving your property for good. Set your goal for the area, and make a list of what needs to happen in order to achieve your intention. Doing this now will allow for a more enjoyable summer in your yard and around your home.

Happy spring!

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Ask a question for the column and I will address it at the appropriate time. Email questions to Coach Juli at jshulem@gmail.com and put “question for column” in the subject line and they will be answered right here.

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