Spring is officially here, and already the household castoffs from your neighbor’s cleaning efforts are piling up on the sidewalk.
Now you feel the need to start on your spring cleaning project. But what is the best way to get your house organized? And how do you get rid of those large, unwanted items such as washers and recliners?
The first step to jettisoning junk is simple.
“Decide that today is the day, and get to it,” said Lindsay Cleveland, owner of Life.Organized and a National Association of Professional Organizers member.
A thorough but proven approach is to remove everything from the room that you plan to spiff up. This sure-fire solution can also put many people under a lot of pressure.
“They spend all of their energy emptying the space out and then have nothing left in the tank to purge or organize it all,” she said.
If that is the case, then just empty one small section at a time.
“Ask yourself the tough questions,” Cleveland said. “Do I need this item? Does this belong in my home? Why am I keeping it?”
Keep reminding yourself why you started in the first place.
“Were you already overwhelmed by the amount of clutter? Did you have a new vision or dream for the space?” she asked. “Then tackle the room one section at a time.”
For example, if you are cleaning the clutter out of your master closet, start with the items that were in just one drawer. Once you have completed that one drawer, move on to the next small area.
“Take a break when you need to, but then keep at it,” Cleveland said. “Just remember the most important thing is that you no longer need it, so give yourself about two weeks to either sell or donate your items, and then call a junk hauler to come get it from you. It does you no good to move the clutter from one space to another. Make a plan to get rid of it, and stick to the plan.”
Your home should feel like a sanctuary from the rest of your busy life.
“It should be your place of rest,” she said. “When you walk in your door and feel even more overwhelmed by the clutter inside than the clutter of life outside, then there is no place in your life for calm.”
Room to move — physically, mentally and visually — is essential to good quality of life.
“We all need white space in our lives, in our schedules and in our homes,” she said. “If your counters are clean and your rooms are organized, then you have a place to rest. Every client I have ever worked with says that they feel lighter and calmer once their homes are organized. It is life-changing for most people.”
A professional organizer is a great tool for those who tend to get in over their head when cleaning out their home.
“We have done it before, and we know the most efficient way to do it,” Cleveland said. “Having a separate pair of eyes to look at your room is essential in getting it done quickly and correctly.”
The latest tool for spring cleaning is found on your phone with apps.
“There are a ton of apps out there that can be used to sell or barter items,” she said. “There are Facebook groups devoted to buying, selling and trading items in individual neighborhoods. Look in your area to see if you have one. Just listing an item on your Facebook page and asking if anyone wants it can also get rid of items quickly.”
After garage sales and Craigslist ads failed to move her must-go items before heading out-of-state, Michele Cusac turned to Facebook Marketplace to sell her larger items, including a hutch, barbecue grill and dining room set.
“If I got a request, I’d either sell it that day or the next,” she said. “The longer the items were on, the less interest I got, which is pretty usual. Refreshing the listings on Facebook was kind of a pain, but keeping (items) toward the top of the category is pretty vital.”
A good photo and reasonable price will get the unwanted item out of your life and cash in your hand in a hurry.
“Have wiggle room in mind, and (be) very specific on whether or not (you) are willing to deliver,” she said. “Take the time to list multiple items individually. It seems like a total pain, but it’s easier to delete one item than go through and edit multiples.”
Apps have proven to be a quick and relatively painless way to turn spare stuff into extra cash, said Angela Cangemi, a local occupational therapist. She’s used Facebook Marketplace, but she found potential buyers preferred to haggle. Instead, she turned to OfferUp.
“My item sold that same day for full price,” she said. “My kitchen table went fast, but the bed set and chairs that I was selling I ended up keeping because people wouldn’t negotiate a fair price. I also had people back out the very last second before I was moving and ended up keeping or donating the items.”
If you plan to use an app such as List5, Carousell, Boxes or SellSimple, give yourself time.
“I would recommend selling things months before a move,” she said. “OfferUp is great but you have to keep relisting your item to get it to pop up on someone’s feed first.”
Use precautions as you would with any financial interaction with a stranger.
“I always had someone with me when selling items from my house,” she said. “I always let people know the address I was headed to if I was picking something up and tried to do it during daylight hours.”
She has sold smaller items on the Poshmark app.
“The downside is they take about 20 percent of your profit, but the shipping is free for the seller,” Cangemi said. “I recommend listing your items for more, because people always offer less to compensate for the shipping.
“I have sold hair extensions, shoes, clothes, yoga accessories and handbags. I made the most money from this app. It is very female dominated, but it is one of the most popular. Most of my items sold very quickly.”
If you can’t move an item, local charities are hungry for your organizing effort’s leftovers.
“Spring cleaning is a big time for donations for us,” said Kathy Topp, a spokesperson for Goodwill of Southern Nevada. “It’s a good time for people to start thinking about what they need or haven’t used in awhile.”
The longtime local charity funds its business through donations.
“Goodwill is a nonprofit that serves this community, so anything you donate helps people directly in our community,” she said. “We help people get jobs. By clearing out your clutter and donating it to Goodwill, you have a direct impact on the community, and you get a tax-deductible receipt.”
There are more than 40 donation sites around the city.
“Donate today, it’s five minutes away, and that’s the truth,” Topp said. “Just keep your eye out when you are driving around, and chances are you will see one of our donation (places) on your daily commute.”
Goodwill also will come and pick up your unwanted items. It usually takes about one week to arrange a pickup. However, drivers are constantly picking up all over town.
Goodwill will take such items as mobile phones, computers, dishes, furniture and small appliances. However, it doesn’t take children’s car seats, mattresses, washers and dryers. For those larger items that most charities don’t take, a professional disposal company will come and haul the pieces away for a nominal fee.
“People can find a list of dos and don’ts of things we can take updated online,” Topp said.
Or they can call the organization at 702-214-2000.