Are you getting ready for a refreshing spring declutter? The ideal way to do that is to tidy up everything at once, top to bottom. But if you don’t have the empty days or ambition for that…if there’s a closet or cupboard or great big drawer that has been nagging at you to empty and organize, here’s an easy-to-follow system we like to use…

To clean out a closet or drawer in the most efficient manner, have a large, sturdy plastic trash bag and three large boxes (or shoe boxes, if you’re clearing out a smaller drawer) at your side. Now you’re ready to dig in.

  • Put anything you want to throw away in the trash bag.
  • Place anything you want to store elsewhere into the first box.
  • Place anything worth giving to charity in the second box.
  • Save any candidates for a garage sale in the third box.

Now organize everything left in your closet or drawer in easy-to-grab locations. Oh, and if you have a few items that fall under the “I-don’t-know” category, we find the following phrase quite helpful: When in doubt, throw it out! Plan your trips to the dump, the storage facility and your favorite donation center. And start designing your yard sale signs for later in spring or early summer. This might inspire you to declutter those intimidating big spaces: attic, basement, garage….

More motivation to declutter: Think of cleaning out drawers or closets as going shopping. How often have you found something while cleaning out a storage space and happily said, “So that’s where I put that!”

Thanks to Baking Soda, Banana Peels, Baby Oil…and Beyond for help with this tip.