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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Decluttering for Spring

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Spring is the time of year when most of us think about getting our homes in order and getting rid of the excess.  Doing a seasonal inventory will help you make better use of the things you want to keep.

In addition to donating items, there other great options for getting rid of the things you no longer need.   Tag sales, online auctions, and consignment shops are perfect ways to recycle your goods and chances are there's someone who's looking for what you have to unload.  I also love the idea of holding an office or neighborhood swap.   It's a fun idea and great way to get together with friends.

I hope these ideas and tips help you with your spring declutter...

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Clutter accumulates quickly so staying on top of it regularly is a top priority for me both at home and at work.

1 Clutter accumulates quickly so staying on top of it regularly is a top priority for me both at home and at work.

Take an inventory of what you have and sort out items you no longer need.  Set up bins and label them to sort belongings.  Make it a project for the entire family.

2 Take an inventory of what you have and sort out items you no longer need. Set up bins and label them to sort belongings. Make it a project for the entire family.

If you're short on space, designate a tote bag or basket and keep it in a closet so that unwanted items can go right inside.

3 If you're short on space, designate a tote bag or basket and keep it in a closet so that unwanted items can go right inside.

If you have the space in the basement or garage, set up a system for sorting items year round.  Once a bin is full, donate it.

4 If you have the space in the basement or garage, set up a system for sorting items year round. Once a bin is full, donate it.

It's helpful for donation centers if you separate clothing from other household goods.

5 It's helpful for donation centers if you separate clothing from other household goods.

Make donations regularly.  A good rule is when something new comes in, some old goes out.

6 Make donations regularly. A good rule is when something new comes in, some old goes out.

Organizing a tag sale takes a little planning, but it's another great way to declutter.

7 Organizing a tag sale takes a little planning, but it's another great way to declutter.

Online auctions are a fun way to purge.

8 Online auctions are a fun way to purge.

After the  auction, pack up your goods and ship them out to the highest bidder.

9 After the auction, pack up your goods and ship them out to the highest bidder.

Consignment shops are another alternative for getting rid of your unwanted stuff.  Check before you haul though since they often specialize in a narrow range of merchandise.

10 Consignment shops are another alternative for getting rid of your unwanted stuff. Check before you haul though since they often specialize in a narrow range of merchandise.

The entry is one of the areas that can get out of control quickly.  These rolling bins tucked under a bench keep belongings looking neat.

11 The entry is one of the areas that can get out of control quickly. These rolling bins tucked under a bench keep belongings looking neat.

Hooks are another must in an entry.  Great for jackets, keys and pet leashes.  Hang a few baskets on them too for sorting mail.

12 Hooks are another must in an entry. Great for jackets, keys and pet leashes. Hang a few baskets on them too for sorting mail.

A message board in an entry or mudroom keeps everyone organized and in the loop.

13 A message board in an entry or mudroom keeps everyone organized and in the loop.

A roller shade installed above makes a perfect cover.

14 A roller shade installed above makes a perfect cover.

A  tray in an entryway keeps boots and shoes neat and contained.  In the spring, add some river rocks to help the water drain off and evaporate.

15 A tray in an entryway keeps boots and shoes neat and contained. In the spring, add some river rocks to help the water drain off and evaporate.

An entry should always include a landing place for keys, mail and other everyday essentials.  A low console gives a modern look.

16 An entry should always include a landing place for keys, mail and other everyday essentials. A low console gives a modern look.

A marble shelf with carved brackets is the perfect fit for this formal entry.

17 A marble shelf with carved brackets is the perfect fit for this formal entry.

As you change out clothes for the season, be sure to edit out clothing you haven't worn or anything that doesn't fit.

18 As you change out clothes for the season, be sure to edit out clothing you haven't worn or anything that doesn't fit.

Changing out the hangers in your closet to one kind will make it look more orderly.

19 Changing out the hangers in your closet to one kind will make it look more orderly.

Desks are other places that accumulate clutter easily.  A small picture ledge hung above is perfect for keeping accessories in reach and off your work surface.

20 Desks are other places that accumulate clutter easily. A small picture ledge hung above is perfect for keeping accessories in reach and off your work surface.

Replace a desk blotter calendar with a more graphic wall calendar made with chalkboard paint.

21 Replace a desk blotter calendar with a more graphic wall calendar made with chalkboard paint.

Flip front kitchen cabinets work well in a home office to conceal supplies.

22 Flip front kitchen cabinets work well in a home office to conceal supplies.

Accordion folders keep papers ordered and organized so that they can be found easily.  No file cabinet needed.

23 Accordion folders keep papers ordered and organized so that they can be found easily. No file cabinet needed.

The cubbies in this drop-down desk keep small items organized.

24 The cubbies in this drop-down desk keep small items organized.

To keep small papers and notes from getting lost, use a cafe curtain rod and clips to hold them.

25 To keep small papers and notes from getting lost, use a cafe curtain rod and clips to hold them.

A curtain is a great way to close off an office space in from another space in a multipurpose room.

26 A curtain is a great way to close off an office space in from another space in a multipurpose room.

The desk in my bedroom has plenty of drawer space to keep supplies.

27 The desk in my bedroom has plenty of drawer space to keep supplies.

I use caviar tins that I've collected over the years to contain push pins, paper clips, rubber bands, etc.

28 I use caviar tins that I've collected over the years to contain push pins, paper clips, rubber bands, etc.

Martha's office supply drawer in her kitchen stays organized with metal drawer dividers.  Don't even think about removing the label maker.

29 Martha's office supply drawer in her kitchen stays organized with metal drawer dividers. Don't even think about removing the label maker.

These chunky, stacked shelves hold toiletries as an alternative to a medicine cabinet.

30 These chunky, stacked shelves hold toiletries as an alternative to a medicine cabinet.

To maximize space in a traditional medicine cabinet, line the inside back of the cabinet and door with sheet metal, then use magnetic containers and hooks to hold supplies.

31 To maximize space in a traditional medicine cabinet, line the inside back of the cabinet and door with sheet metal, then use magnetic containers and hooks to hold supplies.

I keep my bathroom supplies on a silver tray on a shelf below my sink.

32 I keep my bathroom supplies on a silver tray on a shelf below my sink.

Built-in nooks around tubs and showers are made for holding soaps, shampoo and conditioner.  I like them much better that shower caddies.

33 Built-in nooks around tubs and showers are made for holding soaps, shampoo and conditioner. I like them much better that shower caddies.

Martha's kitchen in Bedford is always the picture of organization.

34 Martha's kitchen in Bedford is always the picture of organization.

Pin-up boards installed in this family's kitchen organize kids' art work and school papers.

35 Pin-up boards installed in this family's kitchen organize kids' art work and school papers.

Wall mounted bins labeled with family members' names keep things from getting misplaced.

36 Wall mounted bins labeled with family members' names keep things from getting misplaced.

Cleaning up as you cook instead of allowing pots and dishes to pile up makes clean-up after a meal much easier.

37 Cleaning up as you cook instead of allowing pots and dishes to pile up makes clean-up after a meal much easier.

Opaque glass in cabinet doors gives the kitchen a light feeling while still concealing cabinet contents.

38 Opaque glass in cabinet doors gives the kitchen a light feeling while still concealing cabinet contents.

The risers in my cabinets keep my dishes and glassware in perfect order.

39 The risers in my cabinets keep my dishes and glassware in perfect order.

A simple cake stand on a kitchen counter can keep everyday essentials neat and within easy reach.

40 A simple cake stand on a kitchen counter can keep everyday essentials neat and within easy reach.

A junk drawer doesn't need to look junky.  Wood organizers separate items to help you find what you need.

41 A junk drawer doesn't need to look junky. Wood organizers separate items to help you find what you need.

Get in the habit of sorting the mail as soon as you bring it inside.  Doing it each day will only take a few minutes.

42 Get in the habit of sorting the mail as soon as you bring it inside. Doing it each day will only take a few minutes.

A made bed makes the entire bedroom seem more orderly.

43 A made bed makes the entire bedroom seem more orderly.

Making your bed everyday will make you less likely to let other things pile up around it.

44 Making your bed everyday will make you less likely to let other things pile up around it.

Sharkey loves to take naps on freshly made beds.

45 Sharkey loves to take naps on freshly made beds.

The slip-on cover for my bed makes it easy for me to make my bed up in no time every morning.

46 The slip-on cover for my bed makes it easy for me to make my bed up in no time every morning.

Wiping up spills while they're fresh makes them easier to remove.

47 Wiping up spills while they're fresh makes them easier to remove.

Bar mop cloths are better than paper towels.  More absorbent and reusable.

48 Bar mop cloths are better than paper towels. More absorbent and reusable.

Sweeping the kitchen floor after dinner each night will keep dirt and grime from building up and make weekly mopping much easier.

49 Sweeping the kitchen floor after dinner each night will keep dirt and grime from building up and make weekly mopping much easier.

Now that you've decluttered and cleaned up your home for spring, open the windows and sit back and enjoy it's sweet smells.

50 Now that you've decluttered and cleaned up your home for spring, open the windows and sit back and enjoy it's sweet smells.

De-cluttering is an ongoing process and there are definitely hot spots where clutter tends to settle in quite easily.  These areas tend to be the ones in the home that get the most use, the entryway, closets, desk, the bathroom and kitchen.

Once you have these areas under control, try getting in the habit of doing these six tasks every day to help keep chaos at bay.

*Make the bed

*Return things to where they belong

*Sort the mail

*Clean up as you cook

*Wipe up spills while they're fresh

*Sweep the kitchen floor


Martha Stewart Clean Giveaway

kevin_sharkey_declutter_ms_clean_giveaway

To help with your spring-cleaning chores and show off  the new product packaging (we redesigned our labels) on our Martha Stewart Clean products,  I'm giving away a set of our cleaning basics (dish and hand soap, all-purpose cleaner, and glass and mirror cleaner) to five readers who submit their biggest decluttering challenge for the spring.

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. (Read the Official Rules for this giveaway)

I can't wait to read them. Good luck!

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Comments (29)

  • My biggest challenge is going to be my spare bedroom. I tend to put things in this room, under the bed, in the closet, in the dresser drawers and then close the door. Everything forgotten, right? Wrong! I am going to be having a lot of visitors this summer and my number one goal is to tackle this bedroom by cleaning out, cleaning up and keeping it that way.

  • Great list, Kevin. Another thing that helps a room look less cluttered is closing closet doors, cabinets and drawers.

  • here in the south (atlanta), spring arrives early so i did my physical cleaning last month. my real spring cleaning task is de-cluttering my mind of all the negatives of "i can't" so i can learn to paint and work more freely and creatively! so far so good, 2 small paintings completed and i am feeling like the cobwebs are blowing away.

    thanks kevin for your inspirational work with color and texture and beauty. i start every morning with your blog and a good cup of coffee.

  • Sorting through clothing I want to part with.

  • I am a married mom of three. My husband gave me a room for myself ~ officially a "craft" room ~ that has earned the name "THE PIG PEN". Anything and everything gets thrown in there ... 100 year old family photos, kids artwork, markers, fabric, books, magazines, art supplies, Goodwill donations, ... I could go on and on. I have made it my goal to go through everything and find a place for it, or get rid of it. It's taken me 8 years to get it this messy. I hope I can accomplish my clean up in less time!

  • My biggest decluterring challenge is our clothing!! Its difficult during this transition between winter and spring, because I can't put all the winter stuff away yet and some days its warm enough for short sleeves. Our closets are bursting at the seams! I love Chicago weather ;)

  • I love listening to you on XM, this week is a great show with all of the ideas for spring cleaning. Today I'm tackling my bathroom and throwing away, YES...throwing away old makeups, lotions and products that I didn't like. My cabinets are full to the max and it's ridiculous! Making room for the products I do love and Martha's cleaning products are definately on that list...

  • My biggest clutter diaster is my workshop in my basement.I am an artist and sold my work for years. I have since retired and my studio is the same as it was the day I quit doing my shows. I have so much paint, wood, product etc. I just do not know where to start. This will be my challenge for 2011. It is very depressing to look at all the clutter but I know I must start somewhere.I really need a basement remodel!
    Maude Ciardi

  • My two biggest decluttering challenges which I will tackle as soon as I can are my art and craft supplies, which increased dramatically very recently, and my basement, which has a ton of things in it which my husband kept when he left the military last year. We have no use for them now of course and have been meaning to sell them.

  • Great list! I especially like the sorting mail. It can really pile up! I have finally disciplined myself to take all of the incoming mail directly to the office where I can sort everything into the appropriate areas.

  • I have a huge decluttering job ahead of me! I need to sort through basement boxes (we moved a year and a half ago and I still don't know what's left) and organize them so we can finish our walk-out basement. It'll be worth it though, because I'll finally get my craft room!! :)

  • My biggest decluttering challenge is the basement! I just moved into my boyfriend's grandparents house. We are so excited to have a space to create for ourselves - after we weed out all the old furniture, knick knacks, and excess kitchen supplies! We are having to sort 3 households into 1! I just found your blog - I can't wait to use your tips!

  • My on-going decluttering challenge is my husband who is a pack rat. I am slowly making headway in sorting, donating and throwing away items he has kept forever. And once that is done, then my biggest challenge will be in keeping our home neat and organized.

  • Hi Kevin! Having Spring cleaning around the house, Thank you for the great ideas and great tips.
    Good luck to the winner, so lucky to have Martha Stewart Clean products.

  • The biggest decluttering challenge in my house is to fight the kid's playroom mess. There are so many little things and when I sort/put them away, the kids don't play with them anymore. I'm thinking of putting photos on the containers/shelves to let them know what is in the bin ... but what a big project that will be!

  • I cannot believe there is anyone out there that doesn't do those 6 daily things... I have never gone a day without doing them! I guess a little OCD is a good thing!

  • As always, such an enjoyable blog! Our biggest cleaning project is our garage. We are currently in the process of having shelving built and the walls and floor painted. We then are working on getting rid of things and the organization of putting it all back. I am really trying to make the garage an attractive part of the house to look at. I am not dreading it as a spring cleaning chore, but more looking forward to having a perfect garage!

  • My biggest challenge for this spring is to declutter my closets and the basement. We moved into our new home last year the master closet was never organized by items, season, etc. The hangers are all mix matched and need to be all standardize. In addition, I need to give away and toss some other styles. As for the basement, it has been the renovation epicenter, and need to be cleaned and install wire shelves. I have purchased dozens of plastic bins at Home Depot. They are patiently waiting to be filled with electrical, plumbing and painting supplies.

  • I have traded my craft room for a dressing room. The functional transition is not complete and now I'm into the seasonal clothing change-over. What a mess. It will be great to have everything clean, sparkling and orderly.

  • Hi Kevin, I love listening to you on Sirius! My biggest challenge is my garage...after a long Minnesota winter it needs a complete overhaul! Between the salt and sand from winter, my husband's junk, and my outdoor furniture I desperately need to overhaul the entire space with a thorough cleaning and haul away. P.S. This Kline inspired paintings in your home are to die for!

  • My biggest decluttering project is definitely the home office my husband and I share. It is like a paper bomb has gone off. I am scared about what might have been forgotten in there. It is right off the front foyer too so we really need to clean it up. I also need to work out how to make it look smart when we are renting and the desks are built in builder's grade oak (with vertical blinds on the window - *shriek with hands on side of face*). Anyone want to help with that???

  • My biggest challenge is organizing and freshening up mu four childrens rooms.

  • My biggest challenge is organizing and freshening up my four childrens rooms.

  • Part of the de-cluttering is also making room for something new. And that's one of the things I try to remember when I hit some of those yard and tag sales. What am I willing to part with to have this new treasure. Good ideas here, Kevin, especially your six habits (is that of organized people?!)

    Thanks,

    -Kat

  • What a helpful guide, Kevin. I really enjoyed the slideshow and all of the tips. My biggest challenge this spring is the influx of new items in my home, on account of my upcoming wedding. I'm a minimalist by nature, but have found it hard to pare down! I'll definitely be following the "one in, one out" rule.

  • Decluttering? Where to start... One husband, two boys, and two dogs (also males). I'm completely outnumbered. We desparately need to clear out the garage so we can get to everything easily - this will make biking, roller blading, or skateboarding so much less of a chore when everything is in reach. But the biggest challenge is getting it organized is that most of the stuff isn't mine (are you listening hubby?)...

  • Thanks for the tips Kevin. I have an office that is an eye sore. I had an at-home business. Now I am left with valuable product inventory and piles and piles of paper. I guess I just have to start and do something each day! The room is loaded with windows that I cannot even reach to clean. It's time to begin. Thanks for the motivation; I needed it.

  • Major thanks for the blog post.Thanks Again. Will read on...

  • Great article- yes, decluttering can be a hassle, but I've found that if you put it all into a single weekend, it can be worth the work.

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