14 Spring Cleaning Dos & Don’ts — According To Experts

Our apartments are shining and spotless, all of our belongings are systematically color-coded, and not an inch of precious space is overcrowded or wasted…In our dreams. In reality, most of us weren’t born home organization superstars; our apartments actually look more like a Miss Havisham wedding chamber nightmare than the above fantasy. But since the ice has melted and buds are beginning to bloom, we can’t hide underneath layers of dust any longer — it’s time to do the damn spring cleaning thing.

Since attempting to tackle this formidable task is overwhelming, to say the least, we decided to humbly consult experts for help. Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of the trendy, Nashville-based home organization service and blog, The Home Edit, blessed us with their best advice on what to do (and what to avoid) when freshening up our spaces, post winter hibernation. Start small with a drawer and other miscellaneous spaces, go big and tackle your pantry, or tackle one project at a time until your surroundings are at the peak of organization. No, matter where you begin, we’ve paired their tips with the shoppable product solutions that will take you 14 steps closer to your spotless (and color-coordinated) dream space.

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Miscellaneous Spaces

Don’t: Feel like you need to tackle an entire room to feel accomplished.
Do: Start with a small project, like that junk drawer you’ve been avoiding or your beauty product stash. The faster you see your progress, and how life-changing it is, the more motivated you’ll be to tackle the next project on your list.

Don’t: Leave dust and dirt behind in an empty space.
Do: Take the chance to wipe down all cabinets and drawers before placing items back in their designated home. It feels good to start fresh!

Don’t: Skip the edit process.
Do: Remove EVERYTHING from the space (it should be completely empty when you’re done, no exceptions!) and lay the items in front of you, grouped into categories. By doing this, it makes it visually easier to decide what to keep, toss, or repurpose, especially if you have any duplicates. Once you’re done editing, you can decide what items will have a designated “home” together. If you skip these steps, it’s easier to revert back to cluttered habits.

Puracy Organic Home Care Set (5-Pack), $39.99, available at Amazon

MadeSmart Junk Drawer Organizer, $7.49, available at The Container Store

MadeSmart Medium Stacking Vanity Bin White, $29.97, available at The Container Store

STORi Clear Plastic Drawer Organizers (6-Piece Set), $14.99, available at AmazonPhoto: Courtesy of The Home Edit.

Linens & Laundry

Don’t: Clutter up your laundry cabinets with various types of bulky detergents and supplies.
Do: Purchase glass canisters that can fit the liquids, pods, or dryer sheets in bulk, so you aren’t having to run to the store to buy them as often. Plus, it doubles as a unique decor accent when stored on a countertop.

Don’t: Stack items like towels, t-shirts, and linens.
Do: Maximize space by rolling them neatly. If you don’t have access to shelving, these items can be rolled and stacked in a bin or basket.

Don’t: Concentrate JUST on the aesthetic.
Do: Create a space where function and form are equals. Think about it: You can buy all the brightly color-coded containers in the world, but if items are shoved haphazardly inside, it’s not helping anyone. Plus, by creating a beautiful AND well-maintained system, you’ll be motivated to keep it that way.

Wayfair Woven Hyacinth Storage Basket Set, $22.99, available at Wayfair

Cost Plus World Market Small Glass Canister (Set of 2), $9.98, available at Cost Plus World Market

Highland Dunes Woven 3 Piece Fabric Basket Set, $28.99, available at Wayfair

STORi Premium Plastic Apothecary Jars (Set of 3), $26.99, available at AmazonPhoto: Courtesy of The Home Edit.

The Closet

Don’t: Use mismatched or old hangers in your closet.
Do: Purchase sets of space-saving slimline or huggable hangers. It’s the easiest way to transform your closet! You won’t have to worry about your clothing slipping onto the floor, plus the space will instantly look more refined and polished.

Don’t: Take up valuable space with clothing you aren’t wearing at the moment.
Do: Create seasonal bins for summer and winter. Place one on a high shelf, and one within reach, and rotate them as the weather changes.

Utopia Home Premium Non Slip Velvet Hangers (50-Pack), $23.99, available at Amazon

Dilwe Stackable Plastic Storage Boxes (5-Pack), $22.98, available at Walmart

Closet Complete 3-Piece Completely Clear Storage Set, Rose Gold, $29.99, available at Houzz

Koobay Rose-Gold Wire Top Hangers (30), $64.98, available at AmazonPhoto: Courtesy of The Home Edit.

The Pantry

Don’t: Walk blindly into the store when shopping for organization supplies.
Do: Measure the cabinets and shelving you are planning to use, and decide what items (baskets, dividers, jars, turntables) will help you maximize the space you have to create a system that works for you. When in doubt, we suggest buying extra items that you can return at a later date. You never want to be in the “ugh, I just needed two more!” situation.

Don’t: Keep your pantry items hidden.
Do: Use labeled clear jars, canisters, and divided turntables in your pantry for visible and easy access. For other bulk packaged items, embrace open bins that are easy to manage with general categories like: Breakfast, Dinner, Snacks, Sweet Snacks, Baking, and Cooking. Both will help you see what needs to be restocked so you won’t have to run back to the store when you forget the sugar, etc.

mDesign Lazy Susan Spinning Food Storage, $22.99, available at Amazon

Made By Design Plastic Food Storage Container Collection (Set of 5), $36, available at Target

mDesign Stackable Plastic Storage Bins (4-Pack), $34.99, available at Amazon

Mint Pantry Trillium 3 Piece Storage Jar Set, $46.99, available at WayfairPhoto: Courtesy of The Home Edit.

The Kitchen

Don’t: Store loose fridge items without a container.
Do: Designate categorized zones with labeled bins. For items like condiments, utilize a divided turntable for easy-to-spot access. Also, don’t forget to leave a space for leftovers!

Don’t: Ignore the “hidden” storage areas, like under your sink.
Do: Create a functional space by adding divided turntables to store your cleaning supplies or other items you use often, but don’t want shown. It makes it easier to find what you need, rather than having to dig through a dark abyss. Stackable open bins are another helpful option.

mDesign Lazy Susan Turntable With 5 Sections, $17.98, available at Amazon

Sorbus Fridge Bins and Freezer Organizer, $30.99, available at Amazon

The Container Store Under The Sink Starter Kit, $44.64, available at The Container Store

Urban Outfitters Glass Storage Bowl (Set Of 3), $40, available at Urban OutfittersPhoto: Courtesy of The Home Edit.

Storage Spaces

Don’t: Keep items hidden in closed containers.
D0: Utilize storage such as clear bins, open baskets, and divided turntables to provide easy access to items that you need within your immediate reach. Also, we believe in the power of labeling, which keeps your categories visible, and doubles as a guilt mechanism when you are about to shove an item where it doesn’t belong.

Don’t: Declutter your space ONCE and then leave it.
Do: Make it a priority to carve out 5-10 minutes weekly to maintain your newly organized space. It becomes a huge time and money saver! When you can find where everything is, you won’t need to waste time searching for a certain item or waste money buying double. It all comes down to putting things away where you found them — simple enough.

Magicfly Cloth Storage Bins with Label Holders (6-Pack), $23.99, available at Amazon

Urban Outfitters Looker Storage Box, $14, available at Urban Outfitters

Mainstays Clear Storage Boxes, 7 Gallon (4-Pack), $28.43, available at Walmart

Kitchen Supreme Chalkboard Labels & Erasable Chalk Marker (73-Pack), $13.97, available at AmazonPhoto: Courtesy of The Home Edit.

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