the big, bad house decluttering series. part four.

We made it! Four weeks of decluttering and deep cleaning–part one, part two, part three and now part four–in the books! I saved the best (or maybe the worst?) for last.

Closets. They’re probably my least favorite area to organize–but in my opinion–they’re the most rewarding once they’re done.

We’re going to take it one day at a time this week–so hang in there with me. And I’m saving¬†the bedroom closets for the weekend–because if yours are anything like mine–they’ll take a little longer to organize.

Mark Waldhoff‚ÄďLicensed Realtor with Waldhoff Gard & Associates is back to coach us through week¬†four with more¬†expert tips. Mark is¬†a licensed broker with Keller Williams Realty in Champaign.¬†He and his family have been decluttering and deep cleaning right along with us.¬†I had a lot of¬†fun¬†organizing¬†Mark’s daughter’s closet this weekend–so keep reading¬†and¬†check¬†out the pics down below.

There’s still¬†time to¬†call Mark for a free home market analysis. He‚Äôs happy to meet with you, answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home¬†AND provide you with details about your current¬†home‚Äôs value‚Äďwhich is obviously sky-rocketing as you wrap-up this blog series. Boom.

Let’s get after it.

Week Four–Cleaning Out Your Closets

Monday–Mudroom/Coat Closet

  • Start in your mudroom, if you have one. Remove every item from the hooks, cabinets and drawers–and wipe¬†each¬†of those areas¬†with a damp cloth.
  • Look at¬†every single¬†item you just pulled out of your¬†mudroom¬†and ask yourself the following questions: Have I¬†worn/used¬†this item¬†in the past year? Will I wear/use this item¬†in the coming year? Does this item still fit me? Is there a better place to store this item?
  • Separate¬†(or combine)¬†everything accordingly‚Äďinto¬†three piles‚Äďkeep/donate/toss.
  • Group like-items together and try to group items by each member of your family. Place the items back into your mudroom cabinets and drawers and onto your¬†hooks.¬†It’s easy to¬†find inexpensive storage containers or baskets¬†to help keep items like hats, gloves and scarves organized. Dollar Store for the win, again.
  • Repeat these steps in your coat closet. You can ask your hubby, wife or¬†kids to help you with their coats. Or‚Äďwho¬†are¬†we kidding‚Äďjust do it without their help‚Äďsometimes that‚Äôs easier.
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Still need a good place to store my vacuums?! The coat closet isn’t ideal, but it’s convenient.

Mark says, “Mudrooms are a key feature for potential home buyers. When you prep this area for a showing keep in mind: No more than one coat per hook, leaving a few hooks empty. Minimize the number of shoes laying around before a showing. If you don’t have a mudroom, but you have a coat closet consider taking the closet doors off and converting it to a mini-mudroom. It’s a relatively easy project (a good DIY tutorial here) and adds lots of character and value to a home.”

Tuesday–Linen Closet

  • Remove every item from your linen closet-‚Äďand wipe¬†each shelf with a damp cloth.
  • Look at¬†every single¬†item you just pulled out of your linen closet and ask yourself the following questions: Have I¬†used¬†this item¬†in the past year? Will I use this item¬†in the coming year? Is this item stained or damaged (like¬†those old,¬†gross flowered sheets you got for your bridal shower? Time to buy a new set!)? Is there a better place to store this item?
  • Separate¬†(or combine)¬†everything accordingly‚Äďinto¬†three piles‚Äďkeep/donate/toss.
  • Group like-items together. And place items back onto your shelves. Here’s Martha Stewart’s tutorial on how to fold a fitted sheet. And she also suggests folding the fitted sheet, flat sheet and extra pillow cases for each set of sheets into one of the set’s pillow cases. I LOVE that idea. I watched her tutorial over and over and over again. I tried to fold my fitted sheet for a good thirty minutes and couldn’t do it?! So I¬†just gave up.¬†My linen closet is still a mess. Someone, anyone–please come show me what I’m doing wrong!
  • Repeat these steps in every linen closet you have. And maybe change the sheets on each of the beds in your house too–because there’s nothing better than clean, crisp sheets. I also washed the boys’ pillows. Just threw them in the washing machine on warm¬†and then let them tumble dry on low.
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Martha Stewart? Are you out there? Someone, anyone? Please come help me fold my fitted sheets.

Wednesday–Play Area/All the Toys

 

  • Start with some coffee. And crank some tunes. This may be¬†one of the¬†tougher areas to declutter.
  • Remove every item from your kids play area‚Äď-off shelves, out of drawers out of containers–and wipe¬†each¬†area with a damp cloth.¬†Go ahead and vacuum underneath everything too.
  • Look at¬†every single¬†item you just pulled out of your playroom and ask your kids (or yourself if they’re still little)¬†the following questions: Have you/they played with this item¬†in the past year? Will¬†you/they play with this¬†item¬†in the coming year?¬†Is this item age-appropriate? Does this item have sentimental value? Is this item stained or damaged or does it need new batteries (then replace the batteries!)? Is there a better place to store this item?
  • Separate¬†(or combine)¬†everything accordingly‚Äďinto¬†three piles‚Äďkeep/donate/toss.
  • Group like-items together. And place items back onto shelves or into drawers and containers. I’m a big fan of big bin¬†containers¬†for my kids’ toys. We just throw like-toys into each bin to clean up–and it makes it easy to transport their toys¬†to another room too. I think I found our bins¬†at Meijer, but I’ve also seen some really cute, colorful cubes, bins,¬†baskets and totes from Thirty One¬†(shout out to my girlfriend Angie Kerr who rocks the thirty-one game around Chambana).
  • Repeat these steps in every play area in your house or any area that hold toys (your kids’ rooms, toy chests, toy boxes, stuffed animal collections, etc).
  • Toy organization doesn’t have to be perfect. Our playroom is usually always a mess, but it’s functional–and I’m ok with that. My kids are playing in it¬†every day–so it should be a little messy. But¬†our kids¬†should be able to find their toys, so try to keep things organized and¬†accessible. And¬†the playroom¬†should be easy to clean-up when you need it to be.
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Mark says, “Child play areas are a great spot to show off the “warmth” of your home. Whether it’s a little corner in the basement or a true playroom take the opportunity to make it look fun, usable and orderly. Potential homebuyers get emotionally attached to a home just¬†thinking about how their kids would play in¬†that home. The same staging rules apply here too–for showings keep surface tops as empty as possible with the exception of purposefully placed games or books.”

Thursday–Arts and Crafts/Pet Area

  • Remove every item from your arts and crafts area‚Äď-off shelves, out of drawers and out of containers–and wipe¬†each¬†area with a damp cloth.¬†Go ahead and vacuum underneath everything too.
  • Look at¬†every single¬†item you just pulled out of your¬†arts and crafts area¬†and ask your kids (or yourself if they’re still little)¬†the following questions: Have you/they¬†worked with this item¬†in the past year? Will¬†you/they¬†work with this¬†item¬†in the coming year?¬†Is this item age-appropriate? Is this item old, over-used and/or damaged? Is there a better place to store this item?
  • Separate¬†(or combine)¬†everything accordingly‚Äďinto¬†three piles‚Äďkeep/donate/toss.
  • Get rid of the broken crayons. Get rid of the old, hard Playdough. Group like-items together. And place items back onto shelves or into drawers and containers.
  • Tackle your pet area now too. Combine old food. Throw out old pet¬†toys or tattered leashes. We don’t have pets, so I don’t really know what all may¬†be¬†in this area–just get rid of the old stuff and organize the stuff your keeping.

Mark says, “Not everyone loves pets and it can be a major turn-off for some potential home buyers. Whenever possible, hide all traces of your pets for showings–food, toys, beds and litter boxes.”

Friday–Library, Entertainment Center

  • Start with your library, then move to your kids’ library. Remove every¬†book from¬†each shelf-‚Äďand wipe¬†each shelf with a damp cloth.
  • Look at¬†every single¬†book you just pulled off each shelf and ask yourself the following questions: Have I¬†read¬†this¬†book¬†in the past year? Will I¬†read this¬†book¬†in the coming year? Does this¬†book have sentimental value? Is this¬†book stained, damaged or missing pages?
  • Separate¬†(or combine)¬†everything accordingly‚Äďinto¬†three piles‚Äďkeep/donate/toss.
  • Group like-books together. And place¬†books back onto your shelves. I like to keep a few books on our nightstands, and rotate them every so often.¬†So rotate those now,¬†if need be.
  • Repeat these steps in your kids’ libraries too.
  • Do the same for your entertainment center. DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, whatever. Do you really need any of them? If so, it’s time to dust them off¬†and organize them. If not, it’s time to donate them.

 

Saturday and Sunday–Bedroom Closets

  • Start in your own¬†bedroom. Remove every item from your closet‚Äďand dust any surfaces. Also vacuum the floor while it’s empty.
  • Look at¬†every single¬†item you just pulled out of your¬†closet¬†and ask yourself the following questions: Have I¬†worn/used¬†this item¬†in the past year? Will I wear/use this item¬†in the coming year? Does this item still fit me? Does this item have sentimental value? Is this item stained or damaged? Is there¬†a better place to store this item?
  • Separate¬†(or combine)¬†everything accordingly‚Äďinto¬†three piles‚Äďkeep/donate/toss.
  • Get rid of any old, extra¬†hangers. Group like-items together. And place items back into your closet. I’m a big fan of organizing by season and by color. Try it–and see if it works for you too. Here are 10 easy closet organization ideas too., if you’re really feeling it.
  • Repeat these steps on every closet in your home.¬†Ask your hubby, wife or¬†kids to help you with their closets. Or‚Äďwho¬†are¬†we kidding‚Äďjust do it without their help‚Äďsometimes that‚Äôs easier.
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Mark (getting caffeinated) and Tessa Waldhoff before we started organizing.

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Tessa, very proud of her ^^BEFORE^^ closet!

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Kacy and Tessa looking at each and every item. Keep? Donate? Toss?

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Mark Waldhoff “helping” by finding an empty storage container.

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^^AFTER^^

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Lauren Rae and all her new clothes (hand-me-downs from a stylish sister are the best!) Thumbs up!

. . .

That’s it. You made it. Your house is decluttered and deep cleaned! Doesn’t it feel good to greet spring with an already spring-cleaned-house? Yesssss.

I know there’s always more¬†to do–the dreaded garage, the dreaded car (or minivan) clean-out–but those are posts for another day. I think we’re sitting pretty right now.

If you didn‚Äôt finish organizing and deep cleaning all the areas in the series this month–just catch-up next month. Work at your own pace–even if it’s just one area a week. It’s going to take me all of March to clean out under my bed, yikes. And feel free to refer back to this series each year–as Mark’s tips are pretty timeless–I’ll¬†even give the big, bad house decluttering series its own category on the blog for easy access.

Thanks for hanging in there with me this month. Please let me know how things¬†went¬†in the comments below. And special thanks to Mark Waldhoff for all the good tips–we really learned a lot.

Happy Spring (cleaning is done!), Chambana!! XOXO.

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