Friday, December 15, 2017
Home and Garden

A checklist for cleaning and getting organized

Now is a good time to do a few quick projects that will give you the satisfaction of keeping things on track and still leave plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors.

Clean out your car: Clear out the trunk and glove compartment and don't forget to look under the seats. Bring anything inside that shouldn't be in the car, including toys, newspapers, extra phone cords, books and travel mugs. And if you don't have a first aid kit, jumper cables and other safety products in your car, this is a good time to get them.

Take a home inventory: Smartphones make this task easier than ever, and it's something we all should do at least once a year. Walk around your house and take a photographic inventory of your belongings. Take pictures of furniture, art, rugs and light fixtures. This photo archive will be invaluable in the event your house is damaged or burglarized. After you've completed your photo tour, back up the photos to an external hard drive or the cloud. Your insurance agent might thank you later.

Clean your closet floor: Take everything off the floor of your closet and clean it. Do a thorough cleaning of the floor and baseboards. You'll notice the difference.

Clear the retail clutter: Do a little cleaning in your in-box by unsubscribing from at least five retail email lists that you receive regularly but never read. And to curb the constant in-flow of catalogs, unsubscribe to at least five, either by using catalogchoice.org or by calling the retailer's customer service number.

Tidy up the cabinet under your kitchen sink: This space gets a lot of use, so it's important to do a thorough cleaning once in a while. Take everything out and recycle almost-empty and old cleaning products. Consolidate all plastic shopping bags and put them in your car so you can recycle them at the grocery store. Neatly combine reusable shopping bags, and discard any that are past their prime. If you use plastic bags to clean up after your dog or for other purposes, you can pick up a container just for storing plastic shopping bags. Wipe out the bottom of the cabinet before putting everything away.

Update your electronic address book: Do you have people in your address book that you haven't spoken with in years? Or did your new smartphone import your existing contacts in triplicate? Take 20 minutes to review at least part of your contact list. Doing so will make it so much easier to find the correct information when you need it.

Organize your jewelry: Spend 20 minutes sorting and organizing jewelry. Untangle necklaces and find the matches for earrings. This will help you find what you need quickly and also serve as a reminder about those pieces you've forgotten. If your jewelry storage isn't working for you, do a little research on options that will better meet your needs. There are lots of artistic solutions for storing jewelry so it doesn't get tangled and remains in good condition.

Complete one or two items on your to-do list: The time spent completing the task will be minimal compared with the time you've spent worrying about not having done it.

Clean out your pantry: Take 10 minutes to review the expiration dates of your pantry staples and consolidate any open bags of flour. If products have expired, throw them out. Then make a list to refresh your pantry so you're ready to entertain this summer. With the end of the school year, it's a good time to assess your storage containers. Those that are damaged or no longer have lids should be discarded.

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